The Classifications of Age Levels Are Still Arguable

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  The classifications of age levels are still arguable. Here, teenagers we refer to are those who are between twelve and eighteen or so Teenagers are an age of transition; between childhood and adult (Nunan, 1995: 92). Therefore, some assumptions about teaching children and teaching adult, to some extent, may work for this group. The teaching of abstract concepts such as grammatical concepts and meanings can be introduced for teenagers. Children may need only the concrete examples or contexts whereas teenagers may demand to know the rules and the meanings of the language learned. GTM can be used for this group. Logical thinking can be used to help for a complex problem in language learning. But, it is important to note that introducing the grammatical rules does not mean the goal of the language learning. Language competence or skills of language still should be the goals of the target language learning. Grammar mastery should be the basis for the language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Teenagers, unlike children, have more increasing capacities for abstract concepts as a result of their intellectual maturation. Teenagers are more ready to learn the target language with the absence of physical objects, since they are already ready for handling abstract rules and concepts. But, teenagers may feel uncomfortable and shy to follow instructions in a language class since they may already bring their egos into the classroom and the fragility of egos when doing physical responses. This may be critical for older students. Older students may think that their language teacher treats them like children when s/he gives commands to them to be followed by physical movement, for example. Community language learning may also be used for this group. The psychological counseling techniques seem to be needed in teaching teenagers since they are in a transition from childhood to adulthood. Other methods such as the Natural Method and Communicative Method can also be applied. In short, teachers, need to consider the characteristics of this group to choosing the right method and techniques for teaching. Materials should be designed at the students’ level, with topics that they can react to. Teenagers must be encouraged to respond to texts and situations with their own thoughts and experiences, rather than just by answering questions and doing abstract learning activities. Teachers must give them tasks which they are able to do, rather than risk humiliating them.  Teachers should be able to provoke intellectual activity by helping them to be aware of contrasting ideas and concepts which they can resolve by themselves  –   though still with teachers’ guidance. Children vs. Teenagers Children learn through concrete examples; teenagers learn through abstract concept. Teenagers are developing the intellectual ability to understand rules. Children are more imaginative than teenagers Materials for children should be fun and natural; for teenagers, the materials should enable them to use their intellectual ability and experiences to problem analysis and problem solving Children are more self-centered; teenagers are more interdependent. Children vs. Teenagers (can’t) Teaching children should start from what they already know; teenagers can start from a really novel thing.  
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