Published 3rd March 2017
Teaching Beginner learners is challenging in many ways, but it’s actually easier than other levels in a number of different ways too. A Beginner learner has so much to learn and even though the road ahead may seem long, at least the journey towards learning is visible. A Beginner learner can look back and see quite clearly the progress they have made and look forward and see how much more they have to learn.
Not so with Advanced learners.
Advanced learners have a long road behind them, but the way forward is not very clear. Because they can already communicate well, it can be difficult for Advanced learners to realise what and how much they are still learning. Often, though they may learn new structures in class they may not make use of them in their language because they can quite easily get by without the more advanced language.
This can become a problem when it comes to motivation levels. It is very easy for Advanced learners to lose their motivation to come to class and learn every day, especially for those who are not naturally interested in learning languages.
Motivation is an important factor for any learner, though, so here are a few techniques to keep your Advanced learners motivated:
Give them goals
If you notice your learners are not using the shiny new language you are teaching them, turn it into a challenge to push them to do so. By this stage learners realise that sometimes activities in the classroom are not going to be complete replicas of the real world and they are able to stretch their definition of “real-life” learning for the purpose of practising language.
So if you have just taught them a range of binomials and are following the language focus with a speaking activity, incorporate an element of competition into the activity. During the activity, the learners assign points to whoever is speaking whenever they use one of the language items. The aim of the game is to get the most points. This will hopefully encourage them to use the language provided rather than the language they already know.
Use the learners
Take advantage of the knowledge the learners bring to the classroom. Because they are all successful learners (otherwise they wouldn’t be where they are), let them take charge and take on the teacher role. This can be in the form of language structures or knowledge.
In other words, let the learners choose an appropriate topic and prepare a presentation and a related activity for the class to perform. Putting the pressure on them in this way will ensure they put a lot of effort into the task. Taking them out of their comfort zone will also motivate them to perform well.
While teaching Advanced learners brings with it its own set of problems or difficulties, there are things you can incorporate into your teaching to help maintain their motivation levels. When Advanced students are motivated, they will approach their lessons with energy and enthusiasm and will accomplish more than they thought possible.