I’m not limiting the parameters to first/native language to English language. It could also be from English to another language or a non-English language to another non-English language.
Migration and diversity is a common phenomena in any country. Children of the immigrants face the daunting challenge of acclimatizing to the culture and to overcome language barrier.
As a teacher, what methods do you employ in teaching second language to your students? I know this is quite a broad ic to begin with but insights from the experts would be very much appreciated.
Location: England UK and Philippines
Positions: Parent, Classroom Teacher Boy who could not read
LISTEN! LISTEN! LISTEN!
What more can we say, the more you listen to GOOD standard international spoken English the better your English could be, unfortunately other than listening to their teacher in class, students may not have the opportunity to listen to GOOD spoken English in their country/environment but there are ways students can help themselves. Encourage them to take advantage of any and every opportunity to listen to GOOD spoken English. Students sometimes say: ‘I don’t listen to the BBC news on the radio because they speak too fast for me and I can’t understand it.’ You must tell them That’s a pity! When it’s too fast for you, when you can’t understand it, that is exactly when you NEED to listen to it!!! The more you listen to GOOD clear English the more you will understand it, then the more you will be able to speak GOOD clear English that all English speaking people will understand, not only the people around you every day.
How can students improve if they don’t listen and practice?
When you were a baby, did you understand your own language? NO. When you were 3 weeks old, or 2 months, or 1 year, did you understand everything? Of course not! But you learned to understand by listening. Think about it. You learned to understand your own language by listening, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. After that, you learned to speak. Then you learned to read and write. Then you learnt to improved your grammar and speak correctly in your own language.
But listening came first! For everyone. So it must be when you try to learn a new language. Listen, Listen and Listen again Speak as often as you can with anyone, try to find a GOOD English speaker. You may already know English but unfortunately you have learnt it from non Native speakers or teachers who themselves can’t use it well and only the people in your own environment can really understand what you are saying.
This happens all the time all over the world, people all speaking English but it is all different kinds of English, using their own forms of pronunciation and their own language sets of grammar rules. Bad or incorrect pronunciation is the main reason why other English speaking people will not understand you. Wrong grammar will make what you say, maybe a bit strange but at least you will be understood if you can pronounce each word correctly.
There are a number of things you need to consider when trying to use and understand International English. First you can’t use the same stress patterns as you do in your own language. It will make words sound strange and even totally incorrect to the listener. You must pronounce your “i””a” and “e” correctly as per the International Phonetic Alphabet You must always pronounce the “s” at the end of words. It is there for a reason and is very important in English.
You must make sure you use the “f” and “p” correctly the “v” and “b” correctly. Also, to s confusion and misunderstanding, it is important you get your “he and she and your his and hers and him and her correct all the time.
English is a stress based language, it depends a lot on the stress and intonation to really let the listener know exactly what you are saying. You can say the same things in many ways using different stress and intonation.
Some of the teaching methods we use here in our school, in the Philippines may seem strange and different to the student, but our main aim is to help them perfect their Spoken English. Good, clear, well pronounced, correct standard International English, that can be understood by English speaking people from outside of their normal community, where they all understand each other, weather it is good or bad is most important.
Once they have the confidence to use their English then help them to perfect the grammar but not the other way round. Try to help them learn with an open mind and they will improve.
Location: Setif, Algeria
Positions: Classroom Teacher Administrator, English Teacher
I think the better way to learn a second language is by taking some basics first then you will have to practice the language with as many many speakers as you can (Natives preferably) this is the easiest way, but you can learn any language you went even a language that have many rules or a difficult grammar (Arabic, Chinese or…) you can do so by living with people who speak this language (You don’t have to travel to do it!);
I learn English by living in England many years and I lived in French for 3 years so I learn to speak French too; And I think learning a new second language will be easy if you love it!
Positions: Parent, Classroom Teacher
I consulted an administrator regarding this issue. Her opinion was that you have to let them practice using the language as long as it is understandable. As long as the person you are talking to understands you. That is the first goal of the teacher.
Second, After being able to do so, correct the grammar. If they are able to use it then it would be easier to correct the grammar.
Old school way of teaching a second language here in the Philippines is formula first (like S-V-DO) then functionality comes in next.
The trend nowadays:
1. Functionality first.
2. Grammar only comes in second.
Hope this helps
~~~a stone is not carved by force but by constant friction~~~