Foreign Language ExperienceI chose this topic not only because I will be teaching english
as a foreign language, but also because I enjoy learning foreign languages. I have studied spanish
for one year in the classroom, and two years abroad in Mexico. Obviously the experience between the two is very different, and they both have their benefits.
Because I studied spanish
in a classroom setting I understand the workings of learning a foreign language through schooling. As I went through this course I related a lot of the information about teaching and learning to my experiences. I had the advantage of familiarity with different engage, study, and activate activities and games. I also have experience of having had different teachers with different teaching styles and I see how that can vary.
I gained a lot by being able to reference my previous teachers, how they taught and the methods they used, but this was not my only advantage. Being able to have learned a foreign language from the very beginning helped me a great deal with this course. As I moved through the materials and grammar lessons I was able to think back to when I learned them in spanish
. I was able to see when certain grammatical structures should be taught, and at what level the students should be at. I understood the progression in difficulty.
After taking only two semesters of spanish
I moved to Mexico. Though I had learned many of the grammatical structures, and a good amount of vocabulary I was nowhere near being fluent, or being able to have a conversation for that matter! Being immersed in a spanish
speaking country was very difficult, but in my case it was either sink or swim. I understand how much more difficult it would have been for me to retain my spanish
had I not went to Mexico. This I understand can be a problem to students learning english
in a country where it is not spoken much, except for maybe occasionally in their business.
I made many mistakes when speaking to people, but everyone usually corrected me, or got the basic idea of what I was trying to say, even if I formed things in the wrong tenses. Being immersed in Mexico I learned the difference between proper, and spoken language and was able to relate that to english
. I also can understand why a student might be timid when speaking, or afraid to make mistakes. But from my experience it's not as big of a deal as you might think it is. Mistakes happen, and no one has ever laughed at my for trying.
The key to learning a foreign language is practice and repetition. To not be afraid of how you sound, or to make mistakes. Mistakes are how you learn, and how you improve your language skills. It is important that the students feel confident in trying to speak english
. It is the teacher’s job to instill some confidence in them and make them comfortable. If they are afraid to speak, it can be detrimental to their learning experience.