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August 29, 2007

Q and A- Different Age Groups and Levels

Hello readers,

This month, we have a question about teaching different levels and age groups. Thanks, Alex, for sending in the question!


I don't have any teaching experience and was wondering what type of position you think is best for someone to start out with? I mean should I seek a position teaching beginner, intermediate, or advanced level? I do like children but...

...don't know if that would be a good or bad choice to start teaching also.

Thank you so much again and any suggestions or advice will be very much appreciated.

Regards, Alex

Hi Alex,

Each age group and language level has their pros and cons, so it might be a matter of trial and error for you.

While teaching children can be advantageous in that they tend to be more open to learning and trying out new activities, they also tend to require a lot of discipline. Adults on the other hand, will require more knowledge about the language and the language learning process but on the other hand could be more interesting to teach in the sense that you can cover a greater deal of topics in an adult class than you can with a young learners' class.

When it comes to deciding which level to teach, I think the personality of the teacher can really be an important factor. For example, patience might be more of an important characteristic for teaching beginners than for teaching advanced level students. At the same time, while it might be more difficult to explain different vocabulary or grammar points to beginners, advanced learners tend to ask more questions and expect a greater background in language and language learning.

At many schools, you will be asked to teach all different levels, from beginner students to advanced students. Therefore, the only decision you are likely to have to make is whether you want to teach young learners or adults.

For more information about teaching ESL to young learners, go to: http://tesl-ej.org/ej39/f1.html

For more information about teaching ESL to adults, go to: http://www.teaching-esl-to-adults.com/teaching-esl-to-adults-blog.html

For tips on teaching beginners, go to: http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Andrews-Beginners.html

For more information about the needs of advanced level students, go to: http://www.jstor.org/view/00398322/ap060056/06a00090/0

What are some other differences in teaching different ages and levels? Which age group or level do you prefer? Why? Feel free to add your comments below.

Until next time...

Carol Rueckert
Writer, ESL Lesson Plan
E-mail: crueckert@eslemployment.com
Blog: www.esl-lesson-plan.com

"I hear, and I forget. I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand." - Chinese Proverb

*To read more ESL Questions and Answers, please click HERE!

About the author of this entry:
Carol, a native English-speaker who hails from the small town of St. Joseph in Minnesota, USA, worked in China for more than 7 years. During that time, she worked with students of all ages and levels. She worked at universities, private language schools, grade schools, international schools, and did private tutoring as well. Besides teaching, she also worked as a head teacher, an education manager, and a material development manager. In addition to working on this newsletter, she also writes a monthly column for Time Out Beijing. Carol is also currently working on her MA in TESOL at Oxford Brookes University in England. Look for her posts on the ESL-Jobs-Forum discussion boards!

Posted by crueckert at August 29, 2007 04:56 AM

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Start at the intermidate level for you will be most comfortable when first
begining to teach esl. False Beginner classes are a lot of hard work for the
students grasp of english is at is lowest however the the students learning
curve is the highest of the three levels. Advanced can be good but not
having taught before the students at this level may have a better grasp of
english than you do. The students will quickly catch you in situations where
you are unable to answer or the students no the answer but you do not. Other
esl teachers have also told me that the intermediate level is the one where
new ESL Teachers should begin for all the above reasons.

Posted by: Anon at August 30, 2007 12:04 PM

Teaching different age groups
Hmmm I am teaching in Korea. I was told it would be conversational English. I see very little of that. I am teaching in 9 schools. I signed a contract stating that I would be teaching at more than one school. I am. Different ages different abilities etc. I love it. I would not have willingly gone into it had I known before hand. the people are great. The kids are great. They are kids...I will come away at the end of the year with a number of experiences and a lot better idea of how to teach. I would advise studyihng a phrase book in detail. Rake all the meds you think you will need for 2 years and vitamins too. What ever you seek out to teach ..you will probably find yourself teaching it all. It will be okay...Look into ways to rest your throat at night.


Posted by: penny at November 3, 2007 02:31 AM

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