Nowadays, at least before the Covid-19 pandemic, we could not imagine our life without going abroad for holidays, work, family visits. Today, as never before, it is also pertinent for each person to keep up with rapidly evolving technologies to catch up with the modern lifestyle. There is no surprise that more and more seniors are trying to learn the English language. What are the main factors that can facilitate and encourage to learn of the English language for the elderly?
Firstly, senior language learners might have hearing and vision difficulties or mobility impairments. Consequently, they need a cosy and friendly atmosphere. The language course teacher must adapt the environment and equipment to the elderly language learner needs. The chairs, tables must stand close to the board. The senior students should sit as close as possible to the board, preferably in one row, so they do not block each other. All education material should be prepared or written in a larger font. It is crucial to have bright lighting in the classroom, especially in the part of the room where a board is. The coordinator should also pay attention to coffee or tea breaks during classes. During the break, you need to encourage pleasant feelings, rejoice, help strengthen new friendships, reduce the feeling of loneliness.
Secondly, slower pace and unhurriedness are some of the strategies that serve best when working with seniors. More time needs to be devoted to completing tasks rather than organising tests within a set time frame. It is worth asking which topics are the most relevant for the group and continue focusing on them. Learning educational materials must be adapted, i.e. presented in parts. It is simply better to use only words or grammatical constructions learned in the classroom and put them in context.
Science has proven that maintaining active brain activity during adulthood is especially important. Learning a new language is a great way to do it. It can help enjoy not only a "sharper" mind but also a better memory. Learning increases the brain's resistance to age-related changes by increasing its ability to functionally compensate for biological damage associated with Alzheimer disease-induced atrophy or impaired brain metabolism. So English language courses are beneficial not only to improve knowledge but also to strengthen your health.
This article based on Lithuania national report for the MEANING project
The international project “Creating a new meaning in language education for senior learners“
The project aims to improve the existing conditions for seniors to learn English. During the implementation of the project, the peculiarities of seniors' learning will be delved into; methodological guidelines on how to effectively train this target group will be prepared. Methodological English language learning tables and e-mails will be created a platform that will make it easier for English teachers and seniors to communicate.
More information: https://www.projectmeaning.eu/