Classroom Management is a complex issue. All students should not be faced with the same teaching methods and techniques. There are marked differences concerning not only age and level but also abilities, learning styles, knowledge and preferences.
Age is a factor that affects the learning process. Students are generally described as young learners between the ages of about 5 to 9, and very young learners are usually between 2 and 5.
It is not absolute clear at what age we should call students adolescents since the beginning of adolescence is bound up with physical and emotional changes rather than chronological ages. This term tends to refer to students from the ages of about 12 to 17, whereas young adults are generally thought to be between 16 to 20.
However, we should not generalize and we should always have in mind that there is an individual variation in the way people grow up and develop that can also affect the learning process.
Children have the capacity to learn quickly. Compared to adults, children have more nerve cells that can actively create new connections. This is why they can learn new languages, learn to play an instrument, or pick up a new sport more easily than adults can. We all know that children’s experiences in their early years lay the foundation for their learning years. Children don’t only focus on what they are taught, but also they learn all sort of other things that happen around them. Their senses are highly developed; seeing, hearing, touching are just as important for understanding as their teacher’s explanation.
Children cannot respond easily to rules since the abstract meaning is less effective the younger the students are. They are difficult to concentrate on one activity for long and they are pleased to receive teacher approval.
The basic difference between young learners and adolescents is that the latter are better with abstract meanings and thoughts. They have a greater capacity for learning and they are motivated to learn and also have a passionate commitment to things which interest them. Finally, at this age level, they are not eager for their teacher ’s approval as for their position within their peer group.
Older learners have a wider range of life experience than younger students. They are more disciplined than adolescents and they are able to adapt to the task even if it is not interesting.
They have clear goals and motivation and since their lifestyle is busy they can be easily focused on their goal. However, adult learners come with previous learning experience which may prevent their progress. Students who have negative learning experiences or a past failure may be negatively affected and prepared consciously or subconsciously for more failure. They also have many years to study and therefore, they need more time to get used to the learning process. Finally, they have rigid views about teaching methods from their past, which should be taken into account by teachers.
As teachers, we have to consider age differentiation in the way we teach. All in all, for young learners we should include a great variety of songs, games and activities so that they do not get easily bored. As for adolescents, we should consider their interests and we should be particularly concerned with the corrections and the remarks we make so that they are not insulted within their peer group. Finally, adults can be disruptive and exhausting, late or absent at classes and hard to memorize since they have a lot of responsibilities coming into their minds.
To conclude, teaching involves creating an environment and engaging with others. It is not an one way process that is why students’ differences should be seriously taken into account before we entering our class.
- Harmer.J.(2007), How to teach English, London, Pearson Education Limited
- Bush,T. and J.Burnham, (1994), The principle of Educational Management, London, Longman Ltd.
- Dunham, J.(1995), Developing Effective School Management, London, Routledge Ltd.
Director of Studies & School Owner
BA in English Culture and Language Studies
MA in Organisation Planning and Management In Education