Teaching English to adults, though problematic, owing to their inflexible mind, impatience and lack of time, can also be productive both for the guide and the adult student.
In order to facilitate this symbiotic growth the obstacles must be overcome. Technically, there are two broad problem areas and we will approach their solutions through these-
a. Grammar– This is the foundation of any language and we usually learn the grammar for our mother tongue effortlessly. The adult mind however asks millions of unreasonable questions and tries to fit everything into a structure they are already familiar with. The following pointers will help-
- Teach from primary school books. The more simplistic you make it; the better concepts will be grasped.
- Visual learning always helps no matter what the age. Make flowcharts of the different parts of speech, determiners, etc. the learners can be given handouts and expected to practice in free time.
- Tenses are a very crucial subject here and require much effort to grasp. Worksheets will help best in this respect. Creating online groups where they can share their notes would be even better.
- Keep learner presentations a part of your curriculum. Teaching is learning.
- Nothing works better than an actual physical task, so play word games, musical words (same as musical chair. Except here the ‘it’ guy has to explain say a part of speech or a determiner).
b. Pronunciations- Knowing English is never enough, it is the speech that will ultimately enhance the adult personality and help in procuring job opportunities. This is where pronunciations come in. most people confuse this with accent which one should be careful to avoid. A fake accent might impact your personality negatively.
- Speaking is the best method of learning language nuances. Gatherings of both learners and teachers will remove inhibition and ensure corrections.
- Many dictionary apps now come with a voice guide. This is probably the best method to correct pronunciations with an option to choose from a variety of accents as well.
- British sitcoms and shows preferably with subtitles also help to some extent.
- Teachers who make the English language programme for adults should try and club it with personality development classes as this will did proper pronunciation and vice-versa.
- Creating multiple charts, be it physical or virtual, of commonly mispronounced words is a recent trend and its popularity suggests positive results.
Grammar and pronunciation are two legs of a language and one is incomplete without the other. The adult learner must be taught as part of his training.
These steps will accelerate learning speed and help reduce the duration of the course much to the requirement of the learner. This will ensure that his prior work commitments do not get hampered.
With these steps a foundation can be built within four months with continuous revision and practice afterwards. Moreover, both language and teaching are dynamic areas that constantly arrive at and resolve problems.
Tutors can be contacted below:
Reju Kuruvilla can be contacted HERE.
Paul Gonsalves can be contacted HERE.
Vinita Shivdasani can be contacted HERE.