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ESL forum > Techniques and methods in Language Teaching > lessons with a 74 year old man    

lessons with a 74 year old man


lessons with a 74 year old man
Dear Teachers,

I am starting classes with a 74 year old professor, whose brain is well working, has some knowledge of English from the past - some 40 years ago - but I still don �t know how it is now. As I am a bit worried what to do, how to start.... thus my call for your help/suggestions... ah, he needs only conversations....

Thanks a lot,


12 Sep 2011      


Hi Alex

There is a very nice and useful book named " new person to person" by Jack C. Richard. I t is designed for conversations in three levels.

It is very helpful for adults who want to practice conversation.

I hope it meets your needs and your student needs.

Good LuckWink

12 Sep 2011     

maryse pey�

Ciao Alex,
I would like to write in Italian but as I am on the forum I will write in English.
Let me tell you something I have never forgotten : when I was younger I had a man who was 63 and who had decided to study English just to stay young. Once he asked me something about a sentence he had read. I had to open 13 books before finding the good clue... He had read OLD English ! And when I told him what I had to do he actually behaved as a young student happy to have taught something to his teacher ! How wonderful and vivid this image is in my memory ! �I have stuck the teacher ! I have stuck the teacher ! � as we say in French... and he is still singing and dancing in front of my eyes...
Well, try to find what he is interested in, then look for some books about these topics once you have determined his actual level with a general test.
I guess he wants to learn just for pleasure, doesn �t he ? So you can make him read the book little by little before or after you (as he prefers or as you feel it better) then speak with him on the grammar points he would not have understood or would like to have details with the extract just read as the work basis (don �t mind if you are to speak about several grammar points, this is not the most important. He won �t sit for an exam.) Then make him ask questions about the same extract and correct him when necessary. Then answer him the right answer or a wrong one to make him correct what was wrong. That way you could check that the grammar rule is ok in his mind. Then you can widen the topic on another way, linked with what is written, before coming back to another extract.
Generally (lo so per essere italiana anch �io !) the Italians love humor. Put some humor in your comments. And never never never forget to compliment his improvement !
You are to live a very very interesting experience... Believe me ! You will feel richer very soon, in shared knowledge and new wisdom !
In bocca al lupo ! Hope this could reassure and help you.
Maryse (English). Marisa (Italian).

12 Sep 2011     


At present I am teaching a group of 18 retired people ranging in age from 55 to about 76.  The reason they are taking English is for travel.  They are a lively group and we have a good time in class. As Maryse said put humour in your comments.  They love it.
Depending on what your student recalls in English, you can do a number of things for conversation. 
There are a lot of conversastion cards on the site pertaining to various levels and perhaps you can also do some role play activities. 
At the first class I would just have a general conversation regarding his activities, likes, dislikes, previous occupation,  etc. and have him ask you similar questions so that he can get to know you as well.
Believe me, at 74 his brain is probably still working in full force.  A lot of my elderly students are livelier than some of the younger ones so don �t worry about ability or inability.

12 Sep 2011     

United States

Alex, get some music handy, as seniors are prone to fell asleep, so not to wake them up verbally, you can just push the button of Haydn symphony "Surprise", 2nd movement as a background. I think conversation is a lovely activity with seniors. They love chatting. Will talk you to death... ;)

12 Sep 2011     


Have a crash cart ready just in case... Big smile

13 Sep 2011     


Thank you for all your answers ;-)

3 Apr 2012