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Teach English in ChuAnjing Zhen - Bayannao'er Shi — Bayan Nur
I have attempted to learn three new languages during my life Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese. As an English native speaker Spanish should have been the easiest for me to learn, but it was the language I struggled with the most. The reason for this started to become clear as I began learning Japanese and then Chinese. The things I did not do while learning Spanish that are important to second language acquisition included not getting enough speaking practice, no exposure to the language outside of class, and I did not see the importance at the time. A difficulty that anyone will likely experience if they are trying to learn a language in a country where that language isn’t primarily spoken, is a lack of native speakers. Being able to talk to native speakers is important for several reasons. It is important to listen to a native speaker in order to mimic their pronunciation as well as find out what kind of phrases people use in everyday life. What native speaker say may not be the same as what is written in a textbook. This was something I struggled with learning Spanish, I never found any native speakers I could practice with. This is why I think it is important for students to find a native speaker they can practice with. There are many resources online that can pair native speakers of different languages so they can do a language exchange. If the student is having trouble finding native speakers to interact with outside of the classroom then these resources should be made available to students. The second pitfall I ran into when I was learning Spanish that I avoided with Japanese and Chinese was a large amount of exposure to the language. I have watched movies, television shows, and read books in Chinese and Japanese but I never did this while I was learning Spanish. Watching movies and TV shows in the target language is a great way to work on listening skills as well as speaking skills. A method that has helped me is first watching the piece of media with subtitles and then watching the same thing without subtitles. This way I know the main plot, so when I watch it the second time my attention is mainly focused on listening to the language and nothing else. Language learners can also practice speaking by attempting to repeat what is said, which allows them to work on pronunciation by mimicking the native speaker in the show. I also found reading to be very helpful in building a vocabulary. The reason being when someone is reading the words they do not know are more apparent compared to watching a movie. There is also not an issue with possibly misspelling a word that may cause someone to get a completely different definition than what they are actually searching for. Perhaps the largest issue was interest in the language. My Spanish teacher never really showed the class why learning the language was important, we were just expected to learn, since it was a requirement to graduate. However, I began learning Japanese and Chinese from my own motivation, so I study often, actively seek out people to practice with, and take in a large amount of Chinese and Japanese media. The lack of interest in learning Spanish was why I did not study often or search for resources online to aid in my language learning process. This is why as a teacher I want to show my students why learning the language is important outside of earning a passing grade or a certificate of some sort. By showing them the opportunities as well as introducing them to Western pop culture I think students will appreciate why learning English is important and be more motivated to learn than when I was learning Spanish. My previous language learning experiences have helped teach me issues that learners can encounter as they are learning the language. These include no native speakers to talk to, lack of exposure to the language, and no motivation to learn. Luckily there are ways to solve these problems such as using online resources to talk to native speakers as well as watching movies and reading books. As a teacher with less motivated students showing them the opportunities that will open up to them as they learn the language is a good way to motivate them to learn.