I continue talking about my experience concerning teaching English to Older Learners.
According to a research made by Socrates Grundtvig Education and Culture Center, there is not a specified methodology and pedagogic for 50+. Consequently, there is not a specific approach in language training that can ensure the learning in the most efficient way (see p. 15 retrieved from http://www.senior-language.com/uploads/ ... rt_doc.pdf
). On the other hand, there are some particularities of teaching older learners. My colleagues and I discover these particularities step by step while our ESL program for older learners is going on. One of the difficulties is the encoding of special information.
The matter in question here is that elderly people with or without memory deficits have some problems concerning special relations, for example, the route learning performance (Caffo et al., 2012). So, if there is a need to teach our old learners how to explain the route, we, ESL teachers have to understand that our older learners might show difficulties in special orientation and in way-finding. Such difficulties have to be overcome in order to obtain positive results of our learning. And, it is up to us to figure out possible teaching strategies how to do.
At our language center we are trying the following: teach our older learners to explain the route, first of all, in teams. Both teams can see a picture of a part of a city on the wall (a 2D-plan). There are two captains, one for each team. These captains should point the way on the map (with the help of a pointer) while the members of each group in turn are giving directions and telling their captains where to go. They do it orally and also they show plaques with such words as ‘turn right’, ‘turn left’, ‘walk as far as the crossroads’, etc. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmrFJCc8 ... JiXm9fbVew
Then, the group ‘constructs a city on the floor’: they put pictures named as ‘the pharmacy’, or ‘the florist’s’, or others on the floor, name the streets, add road signs. Students explain the route in turn moving around the constructed city.
Next step is to go outdoors and try to do it in a real city. We are going to do it soon.
Our hypothesis is that such training in class using a 2D-plan will help our older learners not only to perform an orientation task but also to overcome a difficulty of the encoding of special information that is a typical problem for elderly people.
Caffo, A., De Caro, M. F., Picucci, L., Notarnicola, A., Settanni, A., Livrea, P., Lanciona G. E., & Bosco, A. (2012). Reorientation deficits are associated with amnestic mild cognitive impairment. Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen, 27(5), 321-330. doi: 10.1177/1533317512452035