The human mind loves simplicity and to generalize complicated matters. Talking about non native English speaking would assume that at least our English would be on the same level.
The truth is that even among native English speaking people there is huge difference between understanding and knowledge about the language.
That?s why I can only share my thoughts on the course. Quick look on my background, I am 22 years old guy from Sweden that grew up with two Swedish parents.
Understanding the course
A few days in the course we were asked to perform a simple task. We had one hour and I got in the same group as two native English speaking persons that both were 10 to 20 years older then me and with teaching background. We spent our first 30 min to discuss what we were supposed to do. Without being rude it was obvious for me that they didn?t listen on what I said, they tried to explain for me what we were supposed to do. Not until I said that I understand what you saying but I don?t agree with you they stopped and went out to get the instructor that explained to the others that we were supposed to do what I said.
Surely, there will be times when you don?t understand but for me it has never been because of the language and as I tried to prove with my little story is that even if you are a native English speaking person doesn?t mean you always better on understanding the course and there will be times when people don?t listen on what you say because they treat you as you didn?t understand but this isn?t really a problem.
Teaching English to non natives
Surrounded by all this native English speaking teachers I sometimes feel that I maybe should just give up and let the ?experts? do their job. One quick on me should be enough, here I am on the other side of the globe doing a TEFL course without any problems so far and all teaching I got came from my English teachers in Sweden that didn?t feel comfortable talking in English.
Being non native myself I use less vocabulary then I would think a native English speaking person would and I have a higher awareness on what words you can use and not use compared to many of my friends that has problem keep it simple. I seen my friends trying to explain a simple word with the help of words even I didn?t understand and seen the look of students looking on each other without any idea what was going on anymore is something that doesn?t happens to me too often.
As a non native English you don?t only get the chance to learn how to be a teacher but this has also helped me to improve my grammar knowledge that our teachers thought us but I thought was so boring I didn?t remember it well.
Author: Daniel Granquist
Date of post: 2006-10-10