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ESL forum > Teaching material > AGED LEARNERS....... ??????    

AGED LEARNERS....... ??????


AGED LEARNERS....... ??????
Very .. aged students
I have started my first session teaching aged learners of 60 years old and up. This is the first time .
Please those who experienced that, I want to know what interests and motivates aged learners, what subjects they enjoy better...Smile

Thank you a lot.

20 Jan 2011      

United Kingdom

I find current events to be popular amongst older students...
but the best thing to do is to actually ask them as individuals what interests they have outside of studying. You can always get this information in the form of a questionnaire....

20 Jan 2011     


Fortunately I had a great experience while teaching senior people!
They were very curious , motivated and asked a lot of questions!
I agree with franknbea; try to match their intererests!I always give a questionnaire at the beginning of the course where I ask if they have previous English knowledge, what kind of resources do they prefer to learn(videos, worksheets, interactive board, books, songs)....
I also ask them to fill how they imagine the ideal teacher;what qualities he/she must possess...but remember at this age....a cheerful , relaxed atmosphere is very important...many seniors love to share their experiences of life...Why don �t you ask them to bring with them their photos(while travelling, family) and share with the class....
I hope my suggestions are useful!Good luck!Smile

20 Jan 2011     


My oldest learner is 81, I have one that had a stroke some years a go and has a partially paralyzed face, deaf on one ear, etc......

They want to be taken seriously, they want to progress slowly and systematically, they want to be social, they want to be challenged. No materials that are too colorful or make the class too dynamic, no moving around too much. I give them whatever they want ;o)

I had two authors from GB visit my class some weeks ago, they are working on a new book, turns out that publishers haven�t really cared about this age group too much.

I love my grannies!

20 Jan 2011     

Czech Republic

I can�t but agree with ALL of these answers. I�ve also had such experince. I�d like to underline "blunderbuster�s"  point: They want to be taken seriously, they want to progress slowly and systematically, they want to be social, they want to be challenged.
Yes, that�s absolutely true, and you have to find the most suitable material and the way of teaching which suits them best. They will willingly help you, I�m sure. But keep always in mind the above mentioned idea. And your effort will be rewarded. I have always enjoyed the lessons with such groups of elderly people since the time I realized those facts and started teaching in accord with them. Good luck! Thumbs Up 

21 Jan 2011     


I agree with the opinions above. What �s more, I �ve noticed elderly people want to have everything in order, they want to know every rule to have everything straightforward. They also need a lot of pronunciation practice and enjoy translation exercises a lot, especially those at the beginner level, as they love to see their progress and ablility to form more and more sentences ;)
I suppose any subject can get their interest, anything that helps them develop communicative skills :)

21 Jan 2011     


Dear franknbea,
I think it �s understandable that elder people prefer current events, because that is how memory works. Teenagers � minds work differently. My question is: are we to provide them (the elder, or the others) with what they can manage? or... with what really helps them ( BLunderbuster hit it, as usual: seriousness, system, calm, sociability, challenge, ...)?
There was one lucky year when I taught older students. I (me and myself) felt special every single day: simply by repeating the difference between "do" and " does". So rewarding... My question to you is, was I doing something?

21 Jan 2011     




I greatly appreciate your help. Your answers are so marvellous, so useful and important.

Now I can see things better.

21 Jan 2011     

United Kingdom

Dear Pilarman,
my comment about current events wasn �t inferring that we should only provide them with current events because that is all they can manage, but simply to use that as a starting with which to provide them with educational material. There is a wealth of potentially effective and helpful material that can be extracted from current events. I have taught  many �aged � learners who, if you start them off on the right material, in other words stuff they can respond to, have become the most dedicated students.
I would never dream of treating any of them with any thing other than the respect they deserve and have in fact been rewarded with wonderful stories related from the life experiences of these students that have in turn educated me and enriched my life �s own experiences. If I gave the impression that this age group should not be taken seriously I apologize as I actually meant the complete opposite.

Have a wonderful weekend

21 Jan 2011     


One good way for you to start would be to ask them about their lives-family-jobs and make them share experiences.So why not begin with past tenses and wishes/regrets.
They will know what they are talking about-and believe me you will learn so many things that you will be amazed!!!!
Good luck!!!!!!!!

21 Jan 2011