English for Adult Learners

Adult learners language purposes differ from school learners. Students learn English to understand foreign language structures, grammar and their main task is to pass exams. Adult learners are more independent and their reasons to learn English vary. The majority of them learn in order to improve their skills and as a result, obtain benefits at work. Sometimes adults learn English to get promotion, find a better paid job or start working abroad. Therefore, adult ESL learners focus on skills.

Handy English

It is crucial for a course to be online, available 24/h and easy to access. In many cases, ESL adults already know English and wish to improve their skills and knowledge. Students work in groups as they study in a classroom. Adults often study on their own and decide to ask help of a professional tutor in order to learn during 1 to 1 meetings. Before moving forward, they might evaluate their present language proficiency by taking an English-level test. They know what specific language they need as well as they know their limitations making teachers work easier. All you need is to learn how to cooperate together.

Different levels, different expectations

Adult ESL lesson plans have to be flexible and topics must be as relatable as possible. While
clasroom students represent more or less similar level, adult learners levels always vary. As a
teacher, you may be asked to teach a C2 level proficient learner who needs a speaking
companion but then, your next lesson might be with someone who is only B1 and is only
getting started. Both of them need English at work. How to work with them?

Materials are essential

Never waste their time and neither should you waste your own. Use adult ESL lesson plans
to prepare for lessons with adults and decide what grammar is needed. Cover your students
needs by offering him or her useful, professional materials and a good warm – up. As a team
of two, you will learn more about each other and forming a relation, a teacher is able to
make even the most timid student speak. The easiest way to do it is by simple warm – up
games that even adults seem to generally like.

For example, you may try a game of the
things you both like or dislike. Talk about favorite food, learning experiences and
expectations. All these topics will not only create unique teacher – student bonds but also
will make you understand what your students level of proficiency is. Speaking activities are
essential for adult learners because they will mostly speak English and listen to spoken

Listening comprehensions

Why is learning by listening important? Podcasts are a very good way of learning English
and never be afraid of using them when you prepare lessons. Adult ESL lesson plans are
flexible – this is what we have already discussed. How to find a better way of teaching
English than listening to what interests your students? Find a lesson plan that might catch
their attention, print script to a podcast which is connected to this particular topic, underline
key words and grammar structures together. Discuss the topic and observe how your
student gains confidence. Listening to target language is a perfect way of providing new
words and grammar structures effortlessly.

There are adult learners who expect you to speak with them. Others will wish to practice
business English in written form because at work their write formal correspondence and
reports. As a teacher you should be ready to do both: be a speaking partner and a
professional personal tutor. The good thing about adult learners is that they know why they
are here and they are highly motivated to learn.

By Punit