ERIC Number: ED416721
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997
Elderly Refugees and Language Learning.
Grognet, Allene Guss
For elderly refugees, coming from a variety of cultural situations and with varied educational backgrounds, transplantation to a new culture is an especially difficult process. There is no research evidence to suggest that older adults can not succeed in learning another language, although more deliberate efforts must be made to achieve this. In some ways, adults may have superior language learning capacities. Physical health is an important factor, and hearing and visual acuity are crucial to comprehension. Changes in climate and diet can affect the elderly adversely, particularly in the early stages of acculturation. Social identity, cultural expectations about the educational experience, and attitude and learning motivation are also key factors in language learning success. Teachers can encourage the older language learner by eliminating affective barriers, incorporating adult learning strategies into instruction, making the learning situation and materials relevant to student needs and wishes, and tapping into the goals of the refugee community. Language learning programs specifically for the elderly have been sparse, but a number have been successful. Additional broad strategies include increased dialogue between aging and refugee service organizations and addressing the issue of depression in elderly refugees. (MSE) (Adjunct ERIC Clearinghouse on Literacy Education)
Descriptors: Acculturation, Adult Education, Adult Learning, Agency Cooperation, Aging (Individuals), Community Services, Depression (Psychology), English (Second Language), Learning Strategies, Older Adults, Physical Health, Refugees, Second Language Instruction, Second Language Learning, Social Services, Sociocultural Patterns
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Refugee Resettlement (DHHS), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Center for Applied Linguistics, Washington, DC.