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The factors that affect success in learning English as a second language - Essay Example

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Ms. Tricia Ellis-Christensen of WiseGeek.com says that one of the differences between foreign language teachers and English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers is that most students taking up foreign language, at least in the U.S., share English as a common language…
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The factors that affect success in learning English as a second language
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Download file to see previous pages Though many ESL teachers may be fluent in several languages besides English, they generally aren't fluent in all of them, and the language background of an ESL class can be diverse. Therefore, explanations usually must be made in basic English, teaching the child or adult at first in simple ways with a lot of demonstration, pictures, and repetition, to understand English, to read it, and to speak it." (Ellis-Christensen. n.d.).
It is doubly important for ESL teachers to have considerable mastery of the English language so that they will be able to meet the required standards necessary to impart the best knowledge to their students, especially as their classes advance into grammar discussions. ESL teachers should be able to focus on the most common problems of ESL students so as to help them more effectively and guide them on how to speak and write fluent English.
As ESL teachers take up advanced studies, they learn some of the more common mistakes expected from certain language groups such as the tendency for many Asian languages to omit the pluralization of word endings. Some language groups don't need a specific order in sentences, Ms. Ellis-Christensen relates. Most students are even unfamiliar with the English alphabet. Therefore, it is important that ESL teachers are flexible, have considerable expertise in teaching the English language, and are quick to adapt to the learning styles of their students (Ellis-Christensen. n.d.).
ESL teachers must continue to strive to learn more English teaching skills. The British Council (http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/transform/teachers/uk-courses-qualifications), claims that "UK training providers offer a range of high-quality pre-service and in-service qualifications for English language teachers, as well as many degree-level and short courses on aspects of English language teaching."
Basic skills training are offered for trainee teachers, teachers in the early years of their career, or experienced teachers who are beginning to teach English. Developing skills are offered to more experienced English teachers while Specialist skills are made available for highly experienced teachers who are taking on more specialist, expert roles (The British Council. n.d.).
It is obviously important for teachers to have a certain degree of skills in terms of mastery of teaching the English language, especially when it comes to dealing with students who do not speak English as their first language. Teachers need to come up with creative lesson plans that will not only make it easier for their students to grasp the many nuances of the English language but also make learning an interesting experience for them.
Teaching Strategies
Mr. Kenneth Beare from About.com sums up the best English language teaching strategies in three very practical ways (Beare. n.d.). His first advice is to "keep it simple." He says, "One problem that teachers often encounter is that of trying to do too much, too quickly;" and that "the best way to approach teaching is to choose just one use or function, and focus on that specific point."
Mr. Beare's next advice is to "slow down and use easy vocabulary." He explains, "Native speakers are often not aware of how quickly they speak. Most teachers need to make a conscious effort to slow down when speaking. Perhaps more importantly, you need to become aware of the type of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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