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Numer: 1063
Przesłano:
Dział: Języki obce

Teaching a foreign language to 14 - 15 year olds

Students’ age is a major factor in teachers’ decisions about how and what to teach. People of different ages have different needs, competences, and cognitive skills. So each age has some characteristic features that can be observed in individuals. These particular features influence the way people act, behave or perceive the world. The 14-15 year olds appear to be good language learners. Moreover, the methodologist Penny Ur points out that teenage students are in fact the best language learners.
Hanna Komorowska explains that at this age students’ logical memory begins to dominate over mechanic memory. What is more, she adds that teenagers’ thinking starts to change from concrete into abstract one. It means that a teacher can venture to introduce more complicated or sophisticated themes to learners and explain how the language system works.
Another typical feature for the group of 14-15 year olds is the feeling of safety. The students feel a great need to be accepted by the classmates and friends. A peer approval seems to be considerably more important for the student than the support and attention of parents or teachers which for younger children, are so crucial. David Fontana underlines that good teachers should try to understand teenagers’ problems and take their needs into consideration while working with this particular age-group.
Moreover, there are some factors that have to be ensured in order to provide teenagers with support. These features are specified by Hanna Komorowska as attention, multitude of various stimuli, and friendly atmosphere. She asserts that learners develop their personal abilities. These factors have a big effect on them because teenagers try to look for their own new identity, changing from children into youth. That is why they need to feel the interest to take an active part in any ventures, including lesson activities.
As for students’ memory, Hanna Komorowska affirms that it becomes more permanent and their concentration span becomes longer, so it is not as limited as young children’s. Thanks to it, a teacher may make particular language activities longer. It is of great importance for a teacher that teenagers develop the ability to work with a text and the use of productive skills. There is also possibility to make them responsible for the tasks and give them work that they have to accomplish individually as homework. At this age students can be expected to take responsibility for their own language process.
Waldemar Pfeiffer mentions the issue of motivating students. Students should be aware of the purpose of their actions. He stresses that it should be organised as conscious and active teaching. He states that it will support students’ conscious and active behaviour. In this way the students’ motivation will change from modestly specified needs into their reason for acting and achieving success.
All this information is of great significance to a teacher. It is necessary for every teacher to take into account students’ personalities, interests, needs, attitudes, etc. According to Hanna Komorowska there is nothing more offensive for teenagers than being treated as children. That is why teachers have to prepare their lessons very carefully in order to make the learning process appropriate for students.
Teenagers, if they are engaged, they have a great capacity to learn, a great potential for creativity, and a passionate commitment to things which interest them. Jeremy Harmer stresses, the importance of teachers’ job, which is to provoke student engagement with material that is relevant and involving.


Literatura:
FONTANA D. Psychologia dla Nauczycieli, Zysk i S-ka Wydawnictwo 1999
HARMER J. The Practice of English Language Teaching, Longman 2001
KOMOROWSKA H. Metodyka Nauczania Języków Obcych, Fraszka Edukacyjna 2004
PFEIFFER W. Nauka Języków Obcych: Od Praktyki do Praktyki, Wagos 2001
UR P. A Course in Language Teaching: Practice and Theory, CUP 1991

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