Third-Age Learners and Approaches to Language Teaching
2. Theoretical Background
3. Materials and Methods
- Only studies involving teaching methods used in learning a foreign language among the elderly were included;
- The search was not limited by any time period;
- Only empirical studies were considered.
- The exclusion criteria were as follows:
- The studies outside the scope of the research topic were excluded;
- The pure abstracts, descriptive studies, and review studies were not involved.
- Question 1: What are the most suitable pedagogical approaches, teaching methods and strategies for teaching foreign languages to third-age learners?
- Question 2: Is there any evidence in the literature that foreign language learning later in life is beneficial?
- Creating a friendly and pleasant learning environment;
- Adjusting teaching methods to older people’s individual needs, taking account their hearing and vision impairments, as well as the overall learning pace;
- Using a mixture of both receptive and productive teaching methods;
- Implementing familiar topics of their interest.
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|Study||Characteristics of Participants + Description of the Intervention||Teaching/Learning Methods/Strategies Used||Outcome Measures||Findings|
|Garcia  |
|25 older individuals at the age between 60 and 81 years; 23 females and 2 males; they were native Brazilians, studying basic English.||Asking for clarification or verification; paying attention;|
finding out about language learning; self-monitoring; self-evaluating; asking
for correction; reviewing well; setting goals and objectives; practicing/repeating;
taking risks wisely; and getting the idea quickly.
|A placement test|
and two questionnaires (one to gather personal thoughts about learning
English, and the second one focusing on language strategies); statistical analysis.
|The results show that the main learning strategies of the seniors are metacognitive and social strategies. The main motivation for these people is their interest in language studies, travelling and socializing.|
|Gruneberg and Pascoe  |
|40 female seniors at the age between 60 and 82 years, all UK natives, beginners in Spanish; they were divided into an experimental and control group; the experimental group was in addition to 20 Spanish-English word pairs given an image of the studied word.||Keyword method using a mediator to link an English word to its|
+ statistical processing.
|The keyword method|
considerably improves recall of the English word given its Spanish equivalent (receptive
learning), as well as the learning of Spanish equivalents of English words
(productive learning) using a “soft” criterion of correctness, compared to a control group
given no instruction on how to learn.
|Pfenninger and Polz  |
|12 German-speaking subjects, half of them German-Slovenian bilinguals,|
between 63 and 90 years of age attended a four-week intensive English course for beginners.
|A variety of teaching methods used, however, preferred|
methods were group discussions, reading
and playing games; writing
dialogues; in the bilingual group, those were mainly
group discussions, reading, watching
YouTube videos and teacher-centred instruction.
|Pre- and post- tests; the Stroop Task; a socio-affective questionnaire; statistical analysis.||The findings reveal that FLL brings seniors cognitive, linguistic and socio-affective benefits.|
|Savina  |
|30 participants at the age between 55 and 62 years, participating in a 72-h English course.||The main methods used: communicative method + talking about familiar topics, listening comprehension; facilitating senior’s learning.||A questionnaire survey.||The results indicate that the teacher should always meet the immediate learner needs.|
|Schiller et al.  |
|8 foreign language teachers (2 German and 6 English teachers); mean age: 47 years, teaching senior students (mean age: 65 years).||Communicative teaching; student-centred approach and autonomous learning (one-to-one counselling).||An interview.||The findings indicate that teachers should respond to seniors’ needs, promote learners’ autonomy and self-awareness.|
|Słowik-Krogulec  |
|40 older adult learners of English who attended the classes at the University of the Third Age in Wroclaw.||Student-centred approach, creating a pleasant learning environment, as well as adjusting teaching materials.||A questionnaire survey.||Older adult learners’ needs, abilities, and learning preferences should|
be taken into account while designing language courses.
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Kacetl, J.; Klímová, B. Third-Age Learners and Approaches to Language Teaching. Educ. Sci. 2021, 11, 310. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11070310
Kacetl J, Klímová B. Third-Age Learners and Approaches to Language Teaching. Education Sciences. 2021; 11(7):310. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11070310Chicago/Turabian Style
Kacetl, Jaroslav, and Blanka Klímová. 2021. "Third-Age Learners and Approaches to Language Teaching" Education Sciences 11, no. 7: 310. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11070310