Teach English in Tiepo Zhen - Huaihua Shi

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When teaching the English language, there may be varying levels of motivation and confidence between students. This could be for many different reasons, some of which could be cultural differences, fear of making mistakes, peer intimidation, lack of interest in the topic, or previous learning experiences. It is our job as teachers to encourage the students to step out of their comfort zones and be driven to accomplish what they came there to do- learn English! There are several different ways to help them to overcome the hurdles that are preventing them from wanting to engage and learn the language. One of the most important is to make sure the classroom is a comfortable learning environment where the students are not afraid to make mistakes and enjoy communicating in English to the teacher and their fellow classmates. One way to do this is to put up posters around the classroom so it is not just a typical boring classroom environment. Another way is for the teacher to discourage peer bullying and encourage the students to work as a team. Some techniques to help would be to incorporate group and pair work. If the students know and are used to working with each other, they are less likely to feel shy around each other and scared of making mistakes. By working in groups and pairs, their speaking and listening time also increases, allowing for more exposure to the English language. This also allows the student to practice in a ‘safe’ environment, before having to speak in front of many students in open classroom discussion and feedback time. By practicing in a controlled space and environment, the student can gain confidence and build up to when they can practice their language fluently. When practicing speaking and writing skills, it can help if the student has a purpose to talk in English. The student must want and know what to say. It can also help if the student is in a roleplay situation- that way the attention is not on them but on what someone else would possibly say or do. Another task that can encourage them to talk in English is a Questionnaire. They can go around the class and ask each other questions about a certain topic, and after a time limit the class meets up to share and discuss the answers. A reward system could be made for the students with the most answers. Before asking the students to complete a task, it is important that the teacher has prepared them for the task, so that it is not too difficult for them to understand, but at the same time isn’t too easy so that they are still challenged. If the student really doesn’t know what to do, it can discourage them and thus decrease their motivation. Therefore, this balance is necessary and important to the students’ confidence levels. There are two types of activities needed in the classroom: accuracy activities and fluency activities. Accuracy activities are aimed at producing the correct language. These are usually controlled and are mostly used in the Study phase of the lesson. Fluency activities are focused on allowing the student to be creative with the language. The flow and communication are more important here compared to the meticulousness of the language. This is mostly used in the Activate stage of the lesson. Some activities used are controlled activities, guided activities, and creative communication. Controlled activities are focused on the accuracy of the language and is controlled by the teacher. An example of this would be drilling. Guided activities are based on accuracy but are slightly less controlled, allowing for more creativity. An example of this would be a guided roleplay. Creative communication is fluency based. Examples of this would be free roleplays, debates, and discussions. In conclusion, the student should be comfortable in their environment and be able to speak freely and confidently. The classroom is like the stage production for the real world. They especially need to be comfortable here where they are still learning, so they can go out and use their knowledge in real life situations. It is up to the teacher to prepare them for this and ensure that they have done everything necessary to keep the students motivated and ready to learn more, which will eventually lead to them being fluent and competent in the English Language.