is the major factor in deciding what to teach and how to teach it different ages have different needs, competences and cognitive skills (for e.g.. Children have facility in pronunciation) it is admitted that teenagers are often more effective learners (age of 12)
Jean Piaget suggested that children have different stages in developing, such as: Sensor-motor stage Intuitive stage Concrete operational stage Formal operational stage -Leo Vygotski pointed out the so called ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development) -Erik Erikson and Abraham Maslow saw development as being the child’s confidence and self esteem -Reuven Feuerstein admitted that children’s cognitive structure can be altered with a modifier
Especially 9 and 10 year old children learn differently in the following ways: They respond to meaning even if they do not understand some words They often learn more indirectly than directly Their understanding comes in several ways: what they see and what they hear They find abstract concepts and grammar rules difficult
Learning and curiosity Need for individual attention and approval from the teacher Keen to talk about themselves and respond well to learning about topics such as their home They have a limited attention span, they can be bored if the activity is not interesting enough
are often seen as problematic students search for identity and self-esteem Herbert Puchta and Michael Schratz see problems from teenagers as result of teachers failure to build bridges between what they want and have to teach and their students worlds of thoughts and experience
we must give them tasks which they are able to do we are able to discuss abstract issues our aim is to provoke intellectual activity by helping them to be aware of contrasting ideas , concepts
Adult language learners have a great number of special characteristics : They can engage with abstract thought They posses a whole life experience They have expectations about the learning process More disciplined than other age groups They have a clear understanding of why they are learning and what they want to get out of it Able to sustain a high level of motivation
On the other hand they have difficulties too: They can be critical with some teaching methods They may have negative experience in learning a language They might worry that their intellectual powers may be diminishing with age
Linguistic aptitude tests (appeared in 1950s and 1960s) – predict a student’s future progress. Disadvantages: -they measure the general intellectual ability more than the linguistic talents; -they were especially suited to people who were analytic-type learner; -they may discriminate between the most and the least “intelligent” students and they are less effective distinguishing between the majority of students who fall between these two extremes; -teachers tend to treat differently those students with high scores from those with low scores.
ADVICE! Both teacher and students should be optimistic about all of the people in the class, although the results of thelinguistic aptitude tests are good or not.
ˆ Neil Maimann & his colleagues a good learner has: a tolerance of ambiguity; positive task orientation; high aspirations; goal orientations; perseverance.
2. Joan Rubin & Irene Thompson listed 14 learner characteristics such as: learning to live with uncertainty; students who can find their own way (no being guided by the teacher through learning tasks); students who are creative; students who make intelligent guesses; students who make their own opportunity for practice; students who make errors work for them not against them ; students who use contextual clues.
3. Patsy Lightbown & Nina Spada identify several categories, such as: motivation; intellectual abilities; learning preferences; personality characteristics ( e.g. “willing to make mistakes”)
ADVICE!A. All the teachers should: appreciate self-reliant students & promote learner autonomy as a main goal; encourage students to read texts for general understanding without stopping to look up all the words they don’t know; ask students to speak communicatively even though they have difficulty because of the words they don’t know or can’t pronounce; involve students in creative writing.
ADVICE!B. Our students can be successful even if they donot have all the characteristics we considerimportant for a good learner. Just believe in themand help them to be good language learners!
I. Tony Wright- 4 different styles of learners in a group: 1. The ‘enthusiast’-looks at the teacher as a point of reference and is concerned with the goals of the learning group;2. The ‘oracular’ –also focuses on the teacher, but is more oriented towards the satisfaction of personal goals;3. The ‘participator’ –tends to concentrate on group goals and group solidarity;4. The ‘rebel’ –is mainly concentrated with the satisfaction of his or her own goals.
II. Keith Willing suggested 4 learner categories: Convergers - solitary students who prefer to avoid groups;- independent and confident in their own abilities;- analytic students who can impose their own structures of learning;- tend to be cool and pragmatic.2. Conformists -students who prefer to emphasise learning ‘about language’ over learning to use it;- tend to be dependent on those in authority;- happy to work in non-communicative classrooms, doing what they are told;- prefer to see well-organized teachers.
3. Concrete learners-enjoy social aspects of learning; -like to learn from direct experience;-interested in language use and language as communication rather in language as a system. 4. Communicative learners-language use oriented;-much more interested in social interaction with other speakers of the language;-happy to operate without the guidance of a teacher.
There are also many other categorizations and it is very difficult to find the best one, so we should do as much as we can in order to understand the individual differences within a group because every group is different and has its own needs.
There are two models which have tried to explain the individual variations and which can be useful for teacher in order to use them for the benefit of their learners: Neuro- Linguistic Programming (NLP) Multiple Intelligences Theory (MI Theory)
According to its practitioners, we use a number of ‘primary representational systems’ to experience the world, described as VAKOG: Visual- we look & see; Auditory- we hear & listen; Kinaesthetic-we feel externally, internally or through movements; Olfactory- we smell; Gustatory- we taste things.
People use all these systems but every person has a ‘preferred primary system’- some are stimulated by music (their preferred primary system is Auditory), others, whose primary preferred system is Visual respond most powerfully to images. Things become more complicated when a person ‘sees’ the music or has a strong sense of different colours for different sounds.
-teacher can offer students activities which suit their primary preferred systems;-teacher and students can see things from other people’s points of view so they can be more effective communicators and they can understand each other better.
MI stands for Multiple Intelligences , a concept introduced by Harvard Psychologist HOWARD GARDNER .in his book , Frames of Mind, he suggested that we do not possess a single intelligence , but a range of intelligences such as :*Musical/rhythmical *Visual/spatial*Verbal/linguistic*Bodily*Logical/mathematical* Intrapersonal*Interpersonal
-every person has all of these intelligences, but one of them is more pronounced- if we accept this , we also have to accept the fact that same learning task may not be appropriate for ALL of our students
We can simply observe them or, more effectively, we can establish from the beginning WHO the different students are and HOW are they different, using some formal devices such as tests or questionnaires.
*When studying for a project, you feel more comfortable and secure whena. you work aloneb. you work in groupsc. you work with another student This kind of questionnaires helps us to build a picture of the best kind of activity for the mix of individuals in a particular class. (the feedback enables us, over time, to respond to our students with an appropriate blend of tasks and exercises; but it doesn’t mean that we can make everyone happy , at least not all the time)
Students are generally described in three levels: Beginner Intermediate Advanced•these are further qualified by talking about real and fals beginners•between beginner and intermediate we class student as elementary•intermediate level is sub- divided into lower and upper even mid-intermediate
The Council of Europe and the Association of Language Testers in Europe (ALTE) heve been working to define language competency levels for learners of a number of different languages.•ALTE standards are just one way to measure proficiency•the level students have reached has often effect on their motivation•sometimes students who arrive at, say an intermediate level tend tosuffer from the so-called ”plateau effect” so teachers need to besensitive by taking special measures to counteract it.•such efforts may include setting achievement goals or other variationsin level dependent teacher behaviorist important in methodology andin kind of language.
•some techniques and activities are suitable for some levels, we should take our student’s level into consideration while choosing techniques and activities•we will give student’s more support when they are at beginners or intermediate levels, than we need to do when they are more advanced
•students acquire language partly as a result of the comprehensible input they receive especially from teachers•teachers should adjust their language according to their student’s level
•at the most basic level ,motivation is some kind of internal drive which pushes someone to do things in order to achieve something.Motivation can be:•extrinsic: caused by some outside factors(passing an exam, having financial reward)•intrinsec: comes from within the individual(enjoyment of the learning process itself, desire to make yourself better)•researchers and methodologists came to the view that intrinsic motivation produces better results than extrinsic
•The goal: one of the strongest outside sources of motivation, which students perceive themselves to be learning for.•The society we live in: the attitudes to language learning and the English language in particular•The people around us: the influence of people who are close to students(family member ,friends)•Curiosity: initial motivation, such as interest to see what it is likeThe motivation angel: needs to be built in the solid base of the extrinsic motivation which the students bring with them to class.We need to build our own “motivation angel” to keep students engaged and involved as lesson succeeds lesson, as week succeeds week
Affect:•Concerned with student’s feelings, when teachers are caring and helpful•Student’s stay motivated and self-esteem is likely to be nurturedAchievement:•student’s real sense of achievement.Teachers job’s are to set an appropriate level of challenge for student’s and guide them toward success, by setting tests that are not too difficult or too easy. and involving students in learning task they can succeed in.
AttitudeStudents need to be confident in the teacher’s abilities. No matter how nice teachers are students are not willing to follow them without this confidence.Our appearance, the way we walk and the way we stand are also important for the student to be comfortable with usStudents need to know that we know about the subject we teachThey need to feel that we are prepared to teach English and that we are prepared to teach a lesson in particular
ActivitiesThe motivation of the students is more likely to remain healthy if they receive tasks they enjoy doing or if they see a reason behind an activity that is asked of themWe have to adapt our activity types to all of our students: some like game-like communication and interactive tasks, to write songs and poems while others would be more motivated by concentrated language study and reading texts
Agency – term borrowed from social sciences*here it has a close meaning to that of an agent of a passive sentence; the person or thing ‘that does’ sometimes students are passive recipients to things that are handed down (‘done to them’) by us , but we should be equally interested in things that they do When students have agency they are somewhat responsible for what they learn, because they take part in the decision making process For example JJ Wilson thought that students should be allowed to make decisions, give them ownership of class materials, write on the board while Lesley Painter was allowing students to choose their own homework
Real agency occurs when students take responsibility for their own learning we can help them by teaching them to use dictionaries effectively, do researchWe should not let the students have complete control over the lesson, but the more we empower them, the more they will remain motivated.
motivation may not be the same for all students in all countriesresearch shows that in Chinese student are more motivated by memorization and how much information students can remember for an exam while in Taiwan students promoted the ‘memorize a dictionary’ strategy (some students even get new idioms sent to their mobile phones)