Many of our elderly students have doubts whether they should keep on learning a foreign language even though their progress is very slow and therefore quite frustrating.
I’ve just read an article about a 90-year-old woman from Kenya who started going to elementary school together with her grandchildren. She hopes to inspire the young and make them aware of the importance of education.
My elderly students also tell me about their grandchildren’s awe when they realise that granny too has some homework to do! I think this might be a motivational clue for a large number of elderly students. For many, passing on experience and teaching by example is utterly satisfying; not to mention all the basic words of a foreign language that you might never learn if it hadn’t been for your grandchildren!
In the following video, learning a foreign language is mentioned among other activities you might want to take up later in life. The bottom line is that experience might impede us, as well as help us to master a new skill.In the case of a foreign language, the interference of your mother tongue is the most difficult to overcome.Most elderly students can’t help translating every word into their own language , which slows them down and basically makes learning and teaching more tedious.
And finally a Ted talk on the topic: