3 differences between teaching teenagers and young learners
There are many factors which affect how you learn and what kind of a learner you are: motivation, educational background and cognitive capabilities, to name a few. Another really important factor to consider when thinking about your learners, their learning styles and their learning preferences, is age. Age affects your interests, capabilities and experience, so it will affect how you approach learning and your attitude towards learning.
The differences between the learners of different ages can very easily be seen when we compare teenagers and young learners.
Firstly, young learners are naturally more motivated than teenagers. Young learners enjoy being stimulated and so enjoy the classroom because there is always something happening to keep their attention. Teenagers, on the other hand, may need a bit more convincing. They prefer to entertain themselves and may find classroom activities the teacher has planned boring and uninteresting.
At the same time, young learners need much more assistance in the classroom. They are not capable of accomplishing many tasks on their own so they need a lot of help, while teenagers thrive with more responsibility. So while teaching young learners means holding their hands and progressing together, step-by-step, teaching teenagers means taking a step back and allowing them to figure things out on their own.
As a result of the age difference, children and teenagers learn differently too. Young learners need to work with their different senses to learn and they need to be constantly stimulated. Teenagers, on the other hand, have the capacity to engage with content on a deeper level and work independently when needed. In other words, young learners need a range of activities to keep their attention while teens can be stimulated while working on one task.
It should come as no surprise that there are a number of differences between teaching young learners and adults. As people they are at very different stages of their lives and this will affect their learning styles and capabilities. This does not, of course, mean that one age can learn better than another, but rather that teachers need to be conscious of the age of their learners in order to be able to teach them effectively.