Why you’re never too old or too young to learn English online

Why you’re never too old or too young to learn English online

One of the mysteries about every lesson I teach at EF English Live is who will be in class. As soon as I see the number two pop up on my screen and know a student has arrived, I feel excited.

I smile with pleasure as I say, “Welcome to class. I am your teacher for today”. I always hope everyone will have a good class, but until people start chipping in, stay and contribute – you never know.

I have nothing but a voice and a name to go on, and sometimes I do not even know if the name I am using is the first or second name, or even a made-up one. I can normally recognise a Brazilian, Saudi or Russian accent, but not always. We have so many students from various parts of the Middle East, Eastern Europe and South America that I can’t make assumptions, so I feel very relieved and pleased when introductions are made and some information is given.

I have noticed that some of the more senior students reveal themselves fairly easily because none of the topics faze them. They have so much life experience they can talk about everything and anything. There is also none of the pressure of having to learn English for career reasons so the main motivation for participating seems to be just the joy of practicing, learning and knowing another language.

Equally relaxed and often bubbling with enthusiasm are the students at the other end of the age spectrum who sometimes come into class. The first time a student told me they were only 16 I was blown away with their English and their courage to join in, but in the last year I have had several real youngsters come into class aged 12, 10 even eight.

I love their energy and uninhibited contributions but I also sometimes wonder how it feels for older students, trying to get the confidence to join in, to realise that someone a quarter their age has no fear at all about speaking English. On the other hand, quite often, very young students do not even have the words in their own language to explain what they think, let alone in a foreign language.

Yet joining EF English Live classes is such a good way for school children to extend their speaking skills, and I am sure more and more younger students will be joining EF English Live and learn alongside the more regular mix of students.

But that is the great thing about our course – it is a brilliant way for everyone to practice speaking English; from child wonders to relaxed pensioners – everyone learns from everyone, wherever they come from and however old they are.

 image: Shane Global Language Centres

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