characteristics of the young language learner

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that occur in human beings between conceptions and death. Can be divided into a number of different aspects: Physical Personal Social Cognitive


develop at different ratesis orderly

Development Takes

place gradually




operational 2-7


operational 7-11



Ability to work with symbols

semiotic function Thought is subjective and egocentric Examples: pretending, miming From 200 to 2000 words Children speak to themselves- collective monologue Fantasy and reality are confused Have a short attention span


can have sudden temper tantrums are physically aggressive without a motive feel insecure and omnipotent do not know how to wait, which causes frustration start to be aware of their potential both their abilities and limitations play parallel to others are extremely keen to communicate are passionate and non systematic in the way they do things take other childrens toys as a way of affirming themselves interrupt activities to gain attention

Use concrete props and visuals: demonstrate, use props, use stick rods, colored chips. Visuals should be large Make instructions relatively short Avoid long lectures Be clear about the use of material Be tolerant to invented words Give children hands on practice Provide a wide range of experiences Monitor aggressive behaviour without over reacting Involve body movement Activities should be varied and should develop large motor movements (running, jumping) and hand eye coordination (cutting out, modelling)

Characteristics Longer attention span

Need Opportunities to engage in tasks that require focus and commitment

Knowledge of the world growing

Stimulation e.g. information from internet or crosscurricular Chances to be independent Teacher sensitive to their needs and moods

Taking learning more seriously Still children

More cooperative with peers

Variety of grouping in class i.e. work on own, in pairs, in group, as class

Intellectual, motor and social skills developing

Activities that challenge them

Developing own learning strategies

Chance to personalise their learning experience


coined the term concrete operational to describe hands on thinking for this stage. CHARACTERISTICS Recognition of the logical stability of the physical world. Realization that things can changed be changed or transformed and still conserve their characteristics. Understanding that changes can be reversed.




are able to classify and do seriation

Thinking Logic

is tied to the physical reality

is based on concrete situations that can

be: Organized Classified Manipulated

USE VISUALS SUCH AS: Timeline, three dimensional models Diagrams GIVE STUDENTS THE CHANCE TO MANIPULATE AND TEST OBJECTS: Have students bake bread, weave cloth, do crafts. MAKE SURE PRESENTATIONS AND READINGS ARE BRIEF AND WELL ORGANIZED: Assign stories or books with short, logical chapters. Break up the lesson, give students the chance to practice the first step before introducing the next. Use familiar examples to explain more complex ideas

GIVE STUDENTS THE OPPORTUNITY TO CLASSIFY AND GROUP OBJECTS AND IDEAS ON INCREASINGLY COMPLEX LEVELS Give students slips of papers with individual sentences written on each paper and ask students to group the students to group the sentences into paragraphs. Compare systems PRESENT PROBLEMS THAT REQUIRE LOGICAL THINKING Use mind twisters, brain teasers., riddles Discuss open ended-questions that stimulte thinking


child must deal with demands to learn news skills or risks a sense of inferiority, failure, and incompetence.

Erik Erikson industry vs. inferiority Important event:school

Make sure students have opportunities to set and work toward realistic goals. Begin with short assignments and, then move to longer ones. Teach students to set reasonable goals Give students a chance to show their independence and responsibility Tolerate honest mistakes Delegate tasks Provide support to students who seem discouraged


A. (1980) Educational Psychology.MA: Allyn and Bacon Brown,D. (1994) Principles of Language Learning and Teaching New Jersey : Prentice Hall


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