Lesson Distance TEFL

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This is how our TEFL graduates feel they have gained from their course, and how they plan to put into action what they learned:

L. S. - U.S.A. said:
Problems for learners in a ChinaChinese students face many difficulties when learning and practicing the english language. Many of the problems stem from the fact that english and Mandarin vary so greatly in pronunciation, participation, and grammar than most alphabetic and romantic languages. Mandarin is considered logographic (not alphabetic), which means an image or picture may represent an entire word. This can cause problems for chinese learners in reading and writing. Learning an alphabet and pronouncing words from that alphabet come easier to students whose native tongue also composes words in a similar fashion. Also, Mandarin is a language that relies on tone and not stress. Native speakers of english will naturally speed up their language when pronouncing unstressed words and slow it down when pronouncing stressed words. Mandarin speakers have great difficulty with this. Without stress, their speech may sound robotic. The fact that they rely on tone is very important to their difficulty in learning english as well. Take the syllable “ma” in Mandarin, said in different tones it can mean mother, horse, brother, or scold. They use tone to distinguish differences in words. Most chinese english learners have a hard time hearing and pronouncing vowel phonemes and words that end in “l”. So words like peel, will, and grill may sound like “peew”, “wiw”, and “griw”. chinese students also have a difficult time distinguishing “r” from “l”, so “rice” may sound like “lice”. In Mandarin, nouns are not typically pluralized. I have three cats will be “I have three cat.” Possessive nouns are commonly misunderstood. Instead of saying Pete’s house, a native Mandarin speaker may say “House of Pete.” Also there are no articles in Mandarin, so many times a student will just leave it out of a sentence. I went to the store might be “I went to store.” In chinese, he, she, and it are typically used the same way without change. For example, a girl may be called he. Sex is not distinguished in Mandarin pronouns. chinese students are very competitive and have high academic demands and expectations placed upon them. Because of the competiveness displayed in the classroom, the students create an environment that may not be conducive to having everyone be respect. There is not a strong sense of bond shared between the students since they are competing against each other, not necessarily with each other. It is important for the teacher to understand the direction that the conversations and learning opportunities are heading so that everyone can be respected for their opinion. In Western culture, a student is typically to remain quiet and is expected to observe the teacher, who is the center of the lessons. This may cause problems for group speaking activities, pair work, or other activities that require the students to be vocal and communicate. In conclusion, the teacher is responsible for the students’ problems in learning pronunciation, grammar, and participation. They are to be model of proper english usage. It is good for them to understand these problems, and to be kind and considerate in making the proper corrections.