Teach English in Yanghe Zhen - Suqian Shi

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114. Should students make friends in the classroom to learn English better? Most students will begin their journey of learning English within a structured classroom environment. These students will be meeting other students within these classrooms and will have the opportunity to grow together as the course unfolds. As this happens, and the days begin to fly by, relationships with other students will develop and friendships will be made. The question posed is if this is a necessity for the students to learn English. Obviously, no it is not. Any student with the right amount of drive and determination can learn English if given the opportunity. This opportunity does not need to be with the help of others. Students can thrive any many environments when given the chance. Younger students especially will be able to soak in a lot more information than their elder counterparts. Though all this may true, it does not mean that it is the easiest course of action, nor would it be recommended. When bonds are made within the classroom, they can help to motivate each other and be there when the other(s) struggle. If a student does not pose the ability to sound out a certain word or make sense of a certain lesson then the other student(s) can help, either in class or after, to get the student back on track. By using the approach of letting other students help each other the teacher is freer and more available to teach the lessons of the day and focus on areas of concern for the whole class. Another element, and maybe the most important, is the fact that the students will have the chance to practice their new language with each other. This will not only help them with pronunciation and fluency but with the confidence needed to start using English. This confidence could propel students into using English more often within the classroom, and among friends (both learners and other with a history of speaking English). The more the students get the chance to practice the English language among themselves and among friends they will be more likely to use it outside of the classroom, in public, when needed. This would also be propelled by the confidence that was gained within the classroom among their fellow classmates. When learning anything new you need to practice. The more you practice the better you become. Because we are teaching our students a new language communication becomes the means to practice. Without other classmates to communicate with it would be a lot harder, if not impossible for our students to fully gain the knowledge and confidence needed to truly understand and speak the English language. At times during the lessons and throughout the week students will be involved in classroom projects and exercises. These exercises, for example, could be more thoroughly taught to students if those students were able to partner with other students that they were familiar with. These friendships within the classroom would shape the groups and help students be more effective during the exercises and classroom projects. Of course, there will always be students who are more introverted than others. These students will try to say as little as possible and try to just ‘get by’. They may be truly interested in learning the English language, and even enjoy being in the classroom, but because of their inverted ways they may not being getting the full potential of the class lessons. A way around this is to introduce these introverted students to other students. This can be done by pairing them within larger groups on one-on-one groups. When putting these students together with other students who are confident or extroverted, the inverted students get the chance to take full advantage of the classroom lessons. This is because the students will get the chance to speak the language with their classmates, building confidence, fluency, and better help them with their overall communication goals. Thus, by eventually making the friendships with their classmates, through groups or other means, the students become better and more efficient English language experts, for their learning levels. As teachers of the English language it is our responsibility to recognize these advantages and to ensure that all students get the chance to explore their full potential.