5-element Posted August 4, 2013 Share Posted August 4, 2013 [quote user="Chris"]Interesting point. For those that teach French: is it a given that older people have a harder time learning a language/retaining it?[/quote]I couldn't tell about other languages, but my experience of trying to teach French to older people (which has only been English-speaking older people in France, and that is the first proviso) is that yes, it seems they have a harder time learning it and retaining it . But this might be skewed, since my point of comparison would be with younger people in England, learning French for a job; an exam, etc. I have never taught "older people" in England.So, those older English speakers I have taught in France have been expats, or longstay American tourists. Overall, the students who seemed to have learnt or retained the least, taught either in group or one-to-one, are British expats. I found that "the French class" has been for many, little more than another social occasion, with the illusion that "just going to the class" would be sufficient to imbibe the language - as if by osmosis. I must emphasize that it is not true of everyone. I have also had some rather diligent students, and those tended to be the the ones who also joined associations where they would mix with French people exclusively. Most older people complain about their memory: (who was that actor, and what was the film again?). I am sure that declining neurones can't make it any easier to learn another language, and I do feel for those who end up in old people's homes where the spoken language is not their native language, but that is another issue.Older people are so much more stuck in their ways, not as adaptable or flexible, probably more closed off to new experiences, and that must be a factor too. With many of the older people who at first seemed very determined to learn the language or improve their use of it, I found that the initial motivation seldom lasts. After a while, when they have discovered that they can, actually, get by, their brain seems to shut down, and they'd much rather get together with their other expat friends around a daily apéro - barring the odd interaction with madame next door, or with the plumber.Cynical, moi??? No. I still believe that if you really, really want to learn, you can - but it might be a bit like giving up smoking: nobody can do it for you: Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Create an account or sign in to comment
You need to be a member in order to leave a comment
Create an account
Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!Register a new account
Already have an account? Sign in here.Sign In Now