Differences between teaching English to adults and teaching English to young learners
The process of teaching English as a second language (ESL) will probably be more or less the same, whether youre teaching a child in an elementary school or a 30 years old person. However there are two main differences: youre going to need different materials and a different approach. Children are interested in different things than adults and its more difficult to keep them focused. Adults will lose interest and feel awkward if theyre handed materials meant for children. Thats why ESL worksheets have to be prepared with adults in mind.
What materials to use during English lesson for adults?
The first and the most important thing to include in your lesson plan is to choose material that is appropriate to both the students level of knowledge AND their age. This may seem a little difficult while teaching absolute beginners, because a lot of materials used to teach basic vocabulary and grammar are nursery rhymes and stories from childrens books. You obviously cant use them to teach adults.
ESL Lesson plan has to include materials aimed at adults. Even those meant for teenagers may not be suitable – adults bring a lot more life experience and stronger opinions into class. This may come in handy as you may take advantage of it by provoking discussions in the classroom. Students exchanging their experience will make the lesson interesting. That kind of discussions will also allow them to use and practice everyday English, which at the end of the day is what theyve came for.
While working with adults, it may be a good idea to bring authentic materials. This may include newspapers, books, films, brochures, tv shows or even songs. They are usually more interesting and engaging than coursebooks, but bear in mind that they also must be at the right language level.
Of course there are conventional methods and coursebooks for adults and its still a good idea to use them. However, teaching adults opens up a variety of other materials you may choose from, that would not have worked in children classes. Including non-conventional methods during English lessons for adult will certainly make them more interesting and may translate into better overall results.