Orlinda, Tennessee TESOL Online & Teaching English Jobs
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Here Below you can check out the feedback (for one of our units) of one of the 16.000 students that last year took an online course with ITTT!
I really enjoyed this unit because it clarified and elaborated on some thoughts that I've had in the past when learning my own foreign languages (most notably, Spanish). I always felt that my language teachers focused too much on reading and listening for a purpose, without ever presenting materials that were meant more for enjoyment. So, I supplemented their teaching by reading young adult novels (Harry Potter, etc.) in Spanish that I had already read once before in English. I watched Disney animated movies with Spanish audio turned on. I listened to popular Latin American music that I enjoyed. And these things seemed to be what I, personally, was missing in truly assimilating the language.
It all points to making sure that there's balance: balance between receptive and productive skills, balance between listening and reading for a purpose and for entertainment, balance between pre-teaching vocabulary and allowing the students to be comfortable with not knowing every single word, and balance in choosing materials that will both challenge the students but also increase their confidence in their abilities.
I also appreciated the section on how we read and listen by using specialist skills, because it's a good reminder that there are skills required beyond just understanding the vocabulary and grammar of the language. The ability to deduce meaning by context seems especially important: recognizing when there is more to something than just its literal meaning. I had to use this skill frequently when I was reading Harry Potter in Spanish.
I also remember my high school English teacher telling a story once about a foreign exchange student who was horrified when she asked him, "Where do you like to hang out?" He thought she had meant something quite inappropriate. That has stuck with me when speaking to foreigners--how our idioms, customs, and sayings pervade all of our speech, and how difficult these things must be to learn. Having the skill of deducing meaning from context would certainly help in these matters.