The Capability of Older Students in Writing/English Skills - Paper Example

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1697 Words
Date:  2022-05-16


One of the requirements of taking a college course is an understanding of English as a language. This has emerged as a challenge for many students forced to acquire college education to progress in their career fields. Such working students usually enroll in colleges of last resort which are not in any way enviable as Harvard and other Ivy-league colleges are. English is the fundamental language of learning. However, the English 101 and 102 classes have proved challenging for most adult students. Writing an essay and analyzing literature has shown to be a daunting task and hence the course is failed by many. It is expected for people to tie such performance to the age of the students and probably quote the saying, you cannot teach an old dog new tricks. Regarding learning, age is not a matter, and community college can help students who need to learn English with ESL curriculum.\

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Adult students should not be treated as full-time students due to the unique nature of their studies. Attaining a school-life balance is difficult, and even Professor X notices such. Most of his students are his age mates and on most occasions can be heard on the phone issuing instructions for their children during class breaks (Professor X, 2008). It is no wonder that a person may be in class physically but his/her mind is elsewhere. The fact that they finance their education also means that they sacrifice a lot and may have to work more shifts to raise the money hence, time for studies is limited. It is also expected that after staying away from school for a long time, their confidence is at an all-time-low. College adult learners also have the challenge of accessing resources, and the community colleges have to adapt to their requirements.

Studying is an ongoing process from birth to death. Every stage of life is an opportunity to learn something new. More often than not, most people get to learn a second language which is not necessarily their first. From my personal experience, Guidance with a dedicated tutor can help an ESL student to perfect his/her grades and to progress in academic life. Specifically, adult students have more to do due to the nature of their class shifts. Certain learning processes require the brain to be in a fresh state yet the evening classes for older students are scheduled after a hectic day at work. The fact that one could have been busy balancing account ledgers in a bank and then is presented with argumentative essays to write indicates that the playing field is not level (Swati, 2016). Older students also have the disadvantage of generational differences. In the past, the library was a place you had to look for books on the shelves physically. Nowadays, the library database has everything. Failure to understand the use of technology could be the reason for lack of access to resources and hence the failure. All in all, life is a learning process, and one cannot be discredited based on age. Probably, older students need more time to adapt to the new curriculum but saying that they are incapable of learning is patronizing a class of the society (Swati, 2016).

The results of studying are based on a person's dedication and willingness to learn. Age is not a factor provided that the mental state of a subject is still intact. The society, however, assumes that younger people are much sharper than older ones. The problem is that the time factor is not put in place. Young students who leave high school straight to college are more motivated than older students. The more former students may not understand the reason for English text studies, yet they desire to join the police force (Importance of Literacy in ESL Students, 2015). Young students, on the other hand, have the notion that their lives are dependent on their studies and will be willing to learn anything that is included in the college curriculum. Unlike the youth, older students understand that study is not the same as certification in education institutions. The most important life skills are those learned casually without the pressure to sit for and pass examinations.

For success in education, it is necessary to have the instructor and the students sharing goals for the class. In the case of older students, their goal is to acquire a college degree in their fields of interests. Instructor's goals may vary. For instance, Professor X mentions that at the start of the semester, the mood is usually positive and the students are full of life. As the days go by, the motivating factors seem to disappear, and the students feel like the classes last forever. This is an indication of disappointment. The older students find out that what they are learning is not in line with their expectations. Based on a study conducted by Huang (2008) on 45 students and their instructors, there is a need for the use of activity theory, goal theory, and sociolinguistic courses to track the progress of ESL learners. Students from different background should have goals set based on an analysis of their status. The recommendation on curriculum policy and teaching tend towards making the environment friendlier for the students. In my opinion, it is possible that Professor X may be using the wrong tactics on the older students (Professor X, 2008). The fact that majority fail his units and pass all the others indicates that there is a problem with the system.

The English literacy classes have turned into a test for other skills as opposed to teaching the students writing. For instance, Professor X mentions Mrs. L as one of his students who failed the course. According to the student, she had done everything right as per the instruction. The professor also notes that she was terrible when it came to technology and using the computer (Professor X, 2008). She was in fact, unable to research basic concepts on the internet and yet her assignment required her to do so. I find the context of the task questionable because the professor tests about history. This is not his field of study. His approach should be to ask students to pick a topic they wish to research on, and then his work should be to grade them based on the course contents. I believe that neither English 101 nor 102 had any subject to do with history. Reducing Mrs. L's grades based on being off-topic is harsh. What the professor should be looking for based on activity goals is correct grammar and the ability to make sense in her report. Since she is not computer literate, allowing her to submit a handwritten paper should be an option.

Community Colleges do offer not only language training for ESL learners but also other services. It is important to note that not all the adult learners are learning English as a second language. The first role of the community college is to impart basic skills that allow conversations and ability to socialize in the society (Botelho, 2018). Most of the adult students working in the US are already past this stage. The challenge is learning English for academic purposes. Without a pass, students are unable to take credit college courses, and for this reason, English 101 and 102 are compulsory. In other settings, for instance, when young students enroll in college, this is not a requirement because their English literacy has been tested in High school and through SATs. The aim of the community college should be to help students to bridge the gap and be able to pursue a college education. The strategies should then be tailored to match.

Professor X states that in his time of teaching at two community colleges, most students end up getting an F on his subject. He sticks to his grading techniques as per the course requirements without even flinching. His virtues and the art of being principled is admirable. I am not proposing that he should change the way students are graded or that Professor x should be lenient to the older students because they are age mates. Such an approach would be an insult to the education sector and prove incompetence. The best suggestion is for the students to be given extra classes on supporting units. For instance, in this day and age, use of a computer is mandatory, and every student should have basic skills. Some of the professor's students are unable to adequately research due to their incapability to open a web browser or even just type and format the paper (Professor X, 2008). Just as English has been made compulsory before pursuing credit diploma, so should a basic introduction to Computer Science.


Regarding learning, age is not a matter, and community college can help students who need to learn English with ESL curriculum. I acknowledge that with the nature of adult learners, they may be less motivated but this does not mean that they are less capable. What makes it difficult for adult students is the school environment. This has nothing to do with their age but is psychological regarding the goals set. It is evident that if the students and instructors don't have similar ambitions, then the learning becomes useless. The roles of community colleges are many, and thus, they are crucial in helping the students to learn language skills. Since gaining knowledge is a lifetime task, then older students should not be deemed incapable of passing English tests. Instead, the curriculum should be made more favorable.

Works Cited

Botelho, Stefanie. "Community Colleges Offer More than Language Training for ESL Learners." University Business Magazine, 24 Jan. 2018,

Huang, Li-Shih. "Goals for Academic Writing: ESL Students and Their Instructors" Wiley Online Library, 31 March 2008, . Accessed 3 April 2018.

"Importance of Literacy in ESL Students." University of Texas Arlington, 7 August 2015, "hj" Accessed 3 April 2018.

Professor X. "In the Basement of the Ivory Tower" The Atlantic, June 2008, "C:\\Users\\HP\\Downloads\\fgh" Accessed 1 April 2018.

Veera, Swati. "Does Age Matters in Study?" Quora, 11 April 2016, Accessed 4 April 2018.

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The Capability of Older Students in Writing/English Skills - Paper Example. (2022, May 16). Retrieved from

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