Robert McDougal of Orange County Targets Challenges Older ESL Learners Face

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Robert McDougal of Orange County specializes in ESL and recognizes adults require a unique approach when boosting English skills.

Learning a second language is never easy, but it can be more difficult as people age. Robert McDougal of Orange County says it isn’t an inability to learn. Instead, it can be a lack of intriguing, challenging material in the classroom.

His experience educating multiple age groups has taught Robert McDougal of Orange County that adult ESL learners need practical lessons and a direct approach to fully engage and develop skills.

ESL lessons for young people often focus on social chatter and trendy topics. Robert McDougal of Orange County says adults need more. Many adult students not only want to learn English but need to as a stepping stone to pursuing higher education or starting a new career.

Robert McDougal of Orange County recommends incorporating real-life assignments into lesson plans to provide students with the English skills they need and the ability to excel at other necessary tasks.

For example, writing can include expanding on information in a job application and common work-related terms while conversations in class may be staged as job interviews.

Traditional English lessons focused on life skills can also be more dynamic and adult centric, such as helping students learn all necessary language for utilizing public transit. By creating dynamic lessons, the adult class improves vocabulary and comprehension. They also learn how to navigate areas that can be tricky for even native speakers.

The focus also extends beyond introduction to better introductions according to Robert McDougal of Orange County. It elevates chatter beyond social chit-chat to more formal tones and word usage one would encounter in the workplace or in school.

There is also a critical thinking component to encourage problem-solving or thinking ahead from day one instead of drilling vocabulary alone said Robert McDougal of Orange County.

For example, a class focused on public safety may introduce fire prevention and safety terminology and then ask safety based questions, such as “How do you escape a smoke-filled room?” The student would provide an answer like “Crawl below the smoke,” in English. This can then be expanded on with student presentations on safety.

Robert McDougal of Orange County said having students explain topics in multiple formats creates additional confidence. Adding a presentation or lecture component for students helps them develop public speaking skills to enhance current and future job opportunities.

Instructors must also be prepared to introduce complex but interesting material to adult students. ESL learners ready to enter the workforce need to be able to process information and act on it, but this doesn’t mean starting students out with dull manuals for certificate programs according to Robert McDougal of Orange County.

Instead, choose an engaging short fictional story that increases vocabulary and comprehension while providing an opportunity to discuss the story itself and engage adult learners at a new level.