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Problems for learners in ChinaWhile traveling with my husband in Asia, I used a program designed for journalists covering the Olympic Games in Beijing called “Say it Right in chinese,” which came with a book and a CD. The program made chinese sound so simple to learn, promising that if you knew english phonetics, you would be able to speak chinese. The course actually was quite helpful as an overview, but it was daunting to learn the correct pronunciation of the most basic Mandarin greetings. I wondered how a chinese speaker would go about learning english! As I continued to travel with my husband, he sought out qualified chinese employees for his US-based company and I heard many candidates explain that they simply memorized how our english words sounded. I have decided to write this essay on common problems encountered by chinese people learning english. There are many significant differences between spoken chinese and spoken english. Thus, I felt that if I were able to understand the difficulties that chinese people encounter when they try to learn english, I would more effectively be able to teach chinese students. There are many dialects of the chinese language including Wu, Cantonese, Taiwanese, and Mandarin. Mandarin is considered the mother tongue of China and about 70% of chinese speakers accept Mandarin as the standard written language of all chinese. It must be kept in mind that chinese does not have an alphabet, but instead uses a logographic system of symbols for its written language. These symbols represent words rather than pieces of words. This fundamental difference may make it very difficult for chinese students to read english text and spell english words correctly. Indefinite nouns such as “a” and “an” are not used in chinese and are very confusing for chinese students to use correctly. chinese is also considered a tonal language, whereas in english tones do not give entirely different meanings to words. chinese does not use certain sounds that are very common in english speed, such as “L” and “R.” To the chinese ear, “rake” may easily become “lake” and “low” may sound like “row.” There are many common tongue twisters that can assist with learning these sounds. Practicing saying “lalalalalalala” without moving anything but the tongue may also help chinese students become accustomed to creating and hearing the unfamiliar sound. The chinese language does not distinguish between singular and plural verb forms, posing another hurdle in speaker proper english. In chinese the plural is indicated by the use of numbers. Translating literally, a chinese person might say “I have one child,” “I have two child,” or “I have many child.” The word “No” also does not exist in chinese. One would instead say “I drink not” instead of “I do not drink”. Learning to use the direct form of the word “No” can be quite confusing to chinese students. chinese does not use prefixes and suffixes to indicate tense, making it difficult for students to differentiate between words such as “hesitated” and “hesitating.” Phrasal verbs do not exist in chinese, so chinese students may experience serious difficulty understanding and using such common phrasal verbs as “made up” and “ran into.” As I continue to travel extensively in Asia, I remain determined to complete this TESOL course so as to better instruct those who are eager to learn english. I am glad to know about these differences and difficulties so that I may be a more effective and understanding teacher. I am also grateful that I am now equipped with wonderful tools that will assist me in teaching those in China who want to learn to speak english more fluently. Sources used for this article: http://www.ehow.com/about_5432609_problems-chinese-people-learning-english.html http://www.ehow.com/about_5432609_problems-chinese-people-learning-english.html#ixzz1yAWRdYhP http://esl.fis.edu/grammar/langdiff/index.htm http://esl.fis.edu/info/infofiles/master.htm References [Online] Available: WWW.melta.org.my/ET/1992/main6.htm/. Acton, W. (1984). Changing Fossilized Pronunciation. TESOL Quarterly (1): 69-83. Bolton, K. & H. Kwok. (1990). The Dynamics of the Hong Kong Accent: Social Identity and Sociolinguistic Description. Journal of Asian Pacific Communication (1): 72-147. Bowen, J.D. (1983). Discourse Analysis. London: Cambridge University Press. Celce-Murcia, M., Brinton, D. & Goodwin, J. (1996). Teaching Pronunciation: Reference for Teachers of english to Speakers of Other Languages. London: Cambridge University Press. Fromkon, V. & A. Rodman. (1993). An Introduction to Language. New York: Harcourt Brac. George Yule. (2002). The Study of Language( Second edition). Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press. Li Hua, Xu. (1991). Developing Student’s Confidence in Speaking english. Modern english Teacher (3): 74. Pennington, M.C. (1994). Recent Research in L2 Phonology: Implications for Practice. London: Cambridge University Press. Streven, P. (1997). New Orientations in the Teaching of english. London: Oxford University Press. Wenda, Chen. (1983). Strucutres and functions of english Intonation