Old Fashioned Way Of Saying I Am Here For Tou Adapting Lesson Plans To Student Ages

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Adapting Lesson Plans To Student Ages

One of the main problems with most lesson planning materials is adapting it to the needs of a particular class. Over the course of several articles, we will list typical problems with activities not being used for a particular teacher’s class, and how to address the problem by adapting the way the activity is presented. We will introduce principles for adapting activities to be used in almost any lesson plan, regardless of your student’s profile.

Part II. The problem of the age of students.

Here are solutions and principles of adaptation of activities for different problems of the student’s age:

1) Young groups of students and young people of mixed ages.

The problem here is that older children get the task faster and feel uncomfortable if they are paired with a younger student.

Solution: Bring the younger students together to do the activity, while the older, more skilled students work individually. This reduces the impact of younger students on slowing down the activity, and increases their ability to perform, because two heads are better than one. It also increases the safety of the younger student and can actually increase individual student productivity as they both ask the questions and answer the answers. This is especially true for information exchange activities, such as surveys, role plays and problem solving.

Ruler: Empower younger students by grouping them together and increasing their networking abilities.

2) The material is in the target language but not appropriate for the age group.

Imagine you are teaching proverbs to adults, but you have a picture of a bedroom with toys strewn everywhere and several children playing. It’s presented in a baby style – not what adults usually warm to for class material!

Solution: Present the material so that it is relevant to the adult world. In this case, tell them that they are the parents of the children in the picture. This automatically accepts the material, because it is a real adult situation.

Ruler: Make the material relevant to students and give them an age-appropriate perspective on it.

3) Young learners who are easily distracted and cannot focus on an activity.

‘I can’t get them to sit for more than five minutes’ is a statement I’ve heard from many teachers I’ve trained, and they usually refer to students as young as 10 years old. This is especially problematic if an activity requires students to be in a designated classroom area for 10 to 20 minutes! An example of this would be an information gap exercise (where both students or teams of students are separated and have to ask questions to get information from each other).

Solution: I have found that I can get children under 5 to stay in one place if I use a ‘sound’ of tables and chairs. You don’t even need an excuse as to why you are setting up the classroom this way. They will happily stay in their area, and do the job with respect that ‘they’ are there, and ‘we’ are here!

Ruler: Use unconventional classroom management techniques to make the physical environment stimulating enough to make students want to stay where they are.

4) An activity is too complicated to explain to students because they are too young.

I had a group of 10 year old students who needed to practice their likes, dislikes and simple everyday activities in a ‘free stage’ environment (with minimal teacher intervention). I found some adult material that required them to share information from their role playing cards, then use some sort of preference scale to find their ideal romantic partner. It was time-consuming and complicated to explain, and the group was multilingual, so there was no chance of native language penetration. So how to explain?

Solution: Don’t do it! They say that a simple picture can save a thousand words, so don’t get bogged down in descriptions. First I asked them how old they were, and then told them to imagine they were actually 20 years older. They liked it. It allows them to get to know their role playing cards. Then I worked as a student. I took 2 students to the front of the class as an example, asked them questions and then compared them on the blackboard with my preference scale. I chose my favorite one of the two and said I will be her boyfriend. A little fell.

Ruler: Do not explain complex activities to young students. Treat them like you are the student, and let the student ‘see’ what you expect from them.

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