Home Forums Reflection Forum Reflection 4.1 – Talking to students about English(ee), learning/teaching it

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    • #2739
      admin adminadmin

      After I became more comfortable as a teacher and after studying more about SLA and World Englishes, I started talking to my students about the idea of Englishes and teaching & learning English. I did not always have this freedom (i.e. when teaching test prep I had to stick to test tasks and it was quite a rigid class from a language standpoint, very form-focused and emphasizing standard-English) but when I did, I relied particularly on 2 TED Talks in order to introduce them to some concepts. One was by a lexicographer who encouraged making up new words and so we had a follow-up activity in which students created their own words through different approaches like borrowing from their L1 (which they loved) or backformation, compounding etc. They really enjoyed this activity and came up with very creative and fun vocabulary. I told them to never let anyone tell them “that’s not a word” and to feel free to play with language and make it their own. They seemed to love this and were quite surprised that a teacher was telling them this.

      The other talk I use focuses on using language with confidence instead of focusing on accuracy and for the purpose of getting your idea across. After we discuss the talk in depth, my last question for them is related to a quote from the speaker: “English is not an art to be mastered, it is a tool to use to get a result. And this tool belongs to you” – I ask if they agree and what this means to them. Opinions always seem to be divided and many cannot get behind the idea that even though the person in the examples form the talk managed to make themselves understood, they did so very grammatically incorrect. Like the teacher from Japan said in the course, for Japanese learners of English it is simply inconceivable not to follow the rules of grammar or vocabulary. The teacher is expected to be a lecturer you listen to and who is always right. If I tell my students to read more and not necessarily believe what I say, I get these gigantic eyes staring back at me in disbelief, haha! It’s difficult to introduce the concept of Englishes when all their life they were made to memorize this one set of rules and apply them (I learned in the same way!) and that the rest is a mistake. I want to explore this more in the classroom but in academic contexts we are expected to zero in on the kind of English the students will use at university, so I think this is where the idea of teaching for their purposes comes in.

      To view past replies go to: https://changingenglishes.proboards.com/thread/20/talking-students-english-learning-teaching

      • This topic was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by admin adminadmin.
    • #3748

      I teach adults so we do discuss learning English with them. They often bring up the use (or rather no use) of L1 in our classes, and say they are happy with the “only English” policy. We don’t have that many classes a week so we all feel speaking L1 would be a waste.

    • #4251

      Nowadays, since we are surrounded with varieties of English, it also important for teachers to educate language learners about it so that they would not find it mind-blowing or confusing in the future. One way of effectively teaching it is through the use of social media platforms. We also need to emphasize that ‘standard English’ is not always observed even to the native speakers (actually, I have some thoughts that Standard English is just an idea existing in our heads).

      If language educators would just focus on technicalities, students would lose interest and it would be hard to motivate them again.

    • #4570

      Making the students aware that there are different Englishes is itself a challenge as they so much look up to the so called ‘Standard English’. Even their own variety is looked down by ridiculing morphological patterns or phonological variations wanting everyone to talk in the so called standard.
      However, I strongly believe that all teachers should advocate their own varieties at least to a certain extent though provisions may not be available in their curriculums which adhere to the standard norms.

    • #4584
      Dauda PikawiDauda Pikawi

      In many occasions the syllabus is designed without these varieties of teaching and learning methods. The syllabus is designed that some monolithically designed text must be used.

    • #4779

      In my university life, I learnt about World English(es) but in my teaching context, I have never got a chance to explain my students about this particular concept of World Englishes. However, I got a chance to teach English language for a group of students who were lost their passion about teaching English. From the feed back I received from them, enlightened me the fact that they were fed up of the learning language due to lack of adequate teaching strategies and the motivation. I reduced the writing hours that they spent in the classroom time. But, I engaged them in group presentations, pair work, poster presentations and so on. My target was to prepare them for the university and the professional context.

    • #5231

      I teach English with adults and I consider it important to talk with my students about these topics. They will have the opportunity to learn more and put in practice the use of the language.

    • #5254

      The communication process should be spontaneous and help you gain confidence in students’ language skills.

    • #5303

      Spontaneous, anywhere with anybody, anyhow.

    • #5324

      If we cannot do much with our teaching methods and perspectives in regards to the academic courses and tests, we can set the scene for every circle of English teachers, students, and targeted communities to have a say in Englishes which can help them to have positive approach and mindset toward this term. In the future, I am sure many people will be familiarized with this galaxy seeing language as different varieties and still preferable and accepted among nations and worldwide.

    • #5335

      Yes, I always imitate different accens: Scottish, Yorkshire, Scouse, USA Southern, Indian/Pakistani, Italian, Russian and even Cockney.
      They tend to be perplexed, flummoxed and flabbergasted.
      Some of them hate them because they think BBC is the real English.
      Then I tell ’em, a, on BBC you can also hea thee, then they are gobsmacked.

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