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ELIZA KULESZA, 2019-03-15
Białystok

Język angielski, Artykuły

DIFFERENCES IN TEACHING PRONUNCIATION ADULTS AND CHILDREN

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The age of students is a major factor in our decision about how and what to teach. That is why we can distinguish and describe three age groups: young children, adolescents and adult learners.
Young children learn differently from other age groups. They respond to meaning even if they do not understand individual words. Their understanding comes more from what they see and hear rather than from explanations. The teacher should pay more individual attention to them as there is a great need of it. What is more, activities should be involving and there should be a variety of them as young children can easily get bored, distracted or lose interest. That is why pronunciation exercises should be fitted for them and take not a long amount of time. A good example of activities for such age groups are finding which word rhyme, simple sound maze or exercises connected with intonation and rhythm of English where students need to clap the rhythm or repeat some utterances, simple poems, nursery rhymes, or sing songs. Children also need to be involved in moving: jumping, walking, sitting down, standing up, etc.
If the adolescents are engaged in the lesson, they have a great capacity to learn, a great potential for creativity and a passionate involvement in things which interest them. The teacher can ask teenagers to address learning issues directly in a way that younger children might not appreciate. Adolescents are also able to discuss abstract matters. Not only this, but also the designed activities may differ. Teenagers are able to concentrate longer so the activities may be more complicated and connected with more complex issues. The teacher can introduce various exercises, however, they should be closely related to students’ needs and their personal preference. It is very difficult to conduct role-play exercises or pronunciation games, if the students feel they are treated as children. Sometimes it is more appropriate to teach them in other ways, yet it is not a rule and is based on the characteristic of the particular adolescent group.
Adults bring life experiences and a level of maturity into the classroom that children and adolescents fail to. Their expectations and motivations reflect this. They have anticipation about the learning process and may already have their own set patterns of learning which they often seem to introduce. Adults tend to be more disciplined than some teenagers, they are often prepared to struggle on despite boredom. Adults, unlike teenagers and young children, frequently possess a clear understanding of why they are learning and what they want to gain from it. On the other hand, adults are never problem-free learners. They make demanding foreign language learners, wanting their learning to be an almost stress-free activity which they can help plan. They would like to learn as much as possible in the classroom because they have difficulties reconciling home study with other duties. They do need some instructions and equivalents in their native language to feel very secure. What stresses them most are role plays and listening to native speakers talking fast.
Teaching adults means also introducing exercises that the teacher may not use when working with other age groups. It seems to be essential to teach adults phonetic symbols and to show the usefulness of phonetic transcription in English. This knowledge makes them feel more confident if they can analyse issues before practicing. Additionally, beginners tend to use their own transcription system to describe English sounds. It occurs useless when checking the pronunciation of a word in a dictionary. Hence, they need more universal system which is a phonetic alphabet.
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