Using Authentic Material for Adult Learners

Topics: Second language, Second language acquisition, Education Pages: 8 (2630 words) Published: May 17, 2013
Using Authentic Material for Adult Greek Learners



1. Adult education
Adult education, also known as continuing education, is a broad term for the practice of teaching and educating adults and holds a significant role in the lifelong learning process. Most of the advancements in adult education appeared in the nineteenth century, during the period of industrialization, mainly because of the acceleration of scientifical and technological progress that led workers to continue updating their skills and knowledge in order to fulfill their full potential. Adult education as an academic field emerged in the 1960s and since then it has experienced tremendous development in both practice and research. Plato was one of the innovators of adult education in the sense that he would teach anybody, including women. As a result he provided a model of the instruction of adults. 2. Learning English

Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) is a significant sector of adult education. Language acquisition by adults is language learning, a deliberate, diligent, intellectual process that rarely, if ever, results in the total fluency acquired so naturally by any small child, regardless of intellectual ability or personal motivation. Language acquisition by children and language learning by adults are strikingly different phenomena. The techniques and tools concerning adults are also highly differentiated than those utilized for children, reflecting the divergent abilities, motivation and needs of these students.

Chapter 1: The characteristics of the adult Greek learner

1. Who is the adult second language learner?
It has been observed that over the last decades an increased interest has been demonstrated from the part of adults either to learn English as a second language or to develop their pre-existing English knowledge. The reasons of this phenomenon do not usually include personal interest but rather stem from the practical need of the adults to function more successfully in a world where English has grown to be considered the lingua franca. Adult learners basically study foreign languages (FL) for use in a particular professional, scientific or academic field. The extended demands of the marketplace as far as the expertise of the employers in concerned has led the working people to believe that in order to survive and thrive in the new socioeconomic environment they must enhance their competence. Thus, on the grounds of pursuing job opportunities and careers, Greek employers were obliged to achieve a proficient level of the English language both for communicative and learning purposes, since the majority of the newly discovered global knowledge is accessible primarily through the Internet and in the English language. Moreover, there are cases of people who faced the necessity of learning jargon, the specialized language regarding their work field, in order to become acquainted with the novel developments. In addition, a large number of adult Greek learners concerns those who needed to learn English for studying purposes, considering the fact that knowing English was a critical issue in starting post- graduate studies, especially abroad. However, contrary to the above learning groups that knowing English constituted a practical necessity, there is also a significant number of Greek adults who decided to learn English purely for personal and social reasons, since people not knowing the language have grown to be considered uneducated in the Greek society.

2. What do adult learners bring to class?
It has been observed that the adult class is highly characterized by heterogeneity, taking into consideration the fact that adult learners have an already formed personality. At the same time, adults have specific intentions and expectations, carry background linguistic and educational knowledge and have formerly developed their own learning...
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