Children learning a foreign language

Jun 22nd, 2015
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What is different about teaching adults or adolescents? Some differences are immediately obvious: children are often more enthusiastic and lively as learners. They want to please the teacher rather than their peer group. They will have a go at an activity even when they don’t quite understand why or how.

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1. Children learning a foreign language1.1 Taking a learning-centred perspectiveWhat is different about teaching adults or adolescents? Some differences are immediately obvious: children are often more enthusiastic and lively as learners. They want to please the teacher rather than their peer group. They will have a go at an activity even when they dont quite understand why or how. However, they also lose interest more quickly and are less able to keep themselves motivated on task they find difficult. Children do not find it as easy to use language to talk about language; in other words, they do not have the same access as older learners to meta language that teachers can use to explain about grammar or discourse. Children often seem less embarrassed than adult as talking in a new language and their lack of inhibition seems to help them get a more native-like accent. But these are generalizations which hide them detail of different children, and of the skills involved in teaching them. We need to unpack the generalizations to find out what lies underneath as characteristic of children as language learners. We will find that important differences do arise from the linguistic, physiological and social development of the learners, and that, as a result, we need to adjust the way we think about the language we teach and the classroom activities we use. Although conventional language teaching terms like grammar and listening are use in connection with the youn

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