Teach English in Xima Zhen - Huanggang Shi

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Language acquisition is a challenging task; no matter the age and stage in life at which the process is undertaken. As separation between countries and cultures rapidly diminishes because of technological advancements, it has become necessary to find a means of making communication easier. Although many countries are not native English speakers, the language has been adopted and become widely accepted for various reasons. Firstly, English is widely spoken in the world, second to Mandarin Chinese. Additionally, it is the preferred language of government and international business (Mohammed, 1381). Furthermore, most websites are written in English thus making it necessary in the pursuit of knowledge and information in this technological era. Although there are benefits to learning English, learners pursuing the study of English as a second language (ESL) encounter numerous difficulties. The first challenge to learning ESL is the shortage of qualified trainers. Most tutors who are fluent or proficient in English communicate with it as a second language. Any linguistic errors of the trainer are transferred to learners. In the teaching-learning environment, learners are conditioned to accept instructions from the trainer without doubt because of the fallacy that the teacher is the custodian of knowledge. Secondly, a certain amount of laxity is displayed in the learning of ESL. Proper language acquisition requires discipline; for a learner to adhere to rules and regulations pertaining to grammar. These grammatical rules enable an individual to become intelligible in the language of choice. When learners encounter a challenge in expressing themselves in a foreign language, they easily revert to their native language (Raja and Selvi 42). Having an easier alternative, learners are likely to take long or even fail in mastering English. ESL learners also contend with limited learning environment. Fluency and proficiency in any language requires constant practice, especially in terms of pronunciation, command of comprehension, and understanding expressions and vocabulary (Mohammed, 1382). It is imperative to understand that ‘learning environment’ is not limited to structures and physical facilities. Learning any language is enhanced when the process is sustained by continuous exposure and practice. When most learners leave the formal institution where English is taught, they quickly revert to the native language spoken by a majority (Raja and Selvi 42). In so doing, learning becomes disjointed since English is practiced only in the presence of the trainer. The native language may also pose a challenge to learning English because of a clash in the rules related to grammar and phonetics. For instance, the Japanese language does not have the “v”sound at all. Through my experience as an English teacher in Japan, I have seen so many of the Japanese students struggle in pronouncing the words that have the letter ‘V’such as the word ’very’. They typically replace the \v\ sound with \b\ sound. The cultural differences among the Japanese seem to be the key factor as to why they find it challenging to master English. Japanese is a distinctly stratified society whereby they vary their language depending on who they are communicating with, for example, a higher ranking official versus a close friend. Such distinctive differences do not exist in the English language. While our attitude and level of politeness may vary, the language used between parents and children, teachers and students, friends or strangers does not change. We do not vary our use of language or language structure to adapt it to social statuses and the use of our language is fairly consistent in all social situations. The other cultural factors include the way Japanese are taught to express themselves which is mostly indirectly, as they are taught to think inclusively and are trained to express themselves indirectly in order not to offend others. When speaking English, we generally express ourselves directly and clearly. When Japanese are trying to express themselves in English, this ingrained way of thinking coupled with the lack of structural difference in the English language can cause great difficulty in communicating their thoughts and emotions. In conclusion, ESL learners experience numerous challenges which vary from one learner to another. They include insufficient qualified trainers, laxity in the learning process, and limited learning environment. In some cultures learning ESL is complicated by conflicting grammatical and phonological rules. These difficulties can only be overcome through consistent use of correct English language. The need for English language will intensify as the world keeps evolving. It is, therefore, imperative to pursue approaches encouraging sustained learning of ESL for better outcomes. References Mohammed, Mohammed H. "Challenges of Learning English as a Foreign Language (EFL) by Non-Native Learners." International Journal of Social Science and Economic Research (2018): 1381-1400. Raja, B. William Dharma and K. Selvi. "Causes of Problems in Learning English as a Second language as Perceived by Higher Secondary Students." i-manager's Journal on English Language Teaching (2011): 40-45.