Teach English in Shengci Zhen - Taizhou Shi

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Taking into account the potential and growing needs of a dynamically developing information space, the problem of studying a foreign language is especially relevant in modern conditions of expanding international contacts. The boom in learning English falls precisely on our days when parents dream of giving their children the best education, and children reap the benefits of learning the language by monitoring social networks, listening to their favorite music and reading works of literary art or new-fashioned blogs. The learning of English has become very popular, especially in South Asian countries. Each country may have its unique traits, behaviors, and an attitude, as well as problem in foreign language acquisition. The English language takes up a memorable place in the world history pages. But nowadays English is not the same as in William Shakespeare's time. Sometimes the unwanted generation gap between old and modern English evokes a lot of troubles for the ESL learners. Having taught English to ESL students whose first language was Chinese, allowed me to pay attention to how their learning process got affected by the difficulties in English grammar structure, pronunciation and culture. The most obvious difference between English and Chinese is the usage of different alphabets. The Latin or Roman alphabet is used in English; it consists of 26 letters, while the Chinese use a non-alphabetical logogram script (characters represent a word). Then, when Chinese speakers want to learn English they have to learn an entirely new alphabet. Though English has a tiny number of letters, its grammar is very strict. The whole meaning of a sentence can be changed by a single mistake. The first problem that almost all students in China face is the grammar of the English language, especially its tenses. Tenses have a large number of subtle differences that an ESL learner may have great difficulty to detect. Understanding the importance of auxiliary verbs and their usage can be quite difficult as well. The usage of articles can be seen as a real obstacle for students, because in their native language (L1) they do not have the same grammatical pattern. Rhythm and Intonation The second obstacle students may find difficult in their learning process is intonation and rhythm. English is a stress-timed language, which means that the rhythm of the language depends on the stress of the sentence. In contrast, Chinese is a typical tone contour language. In Chinese, tone and intonation co-exist. Chinese is a tone language, and English is an intonation language. Pronunciation One of the major obstacles for oral communication is undoubtedly English pronunciation. Since the English /r/ does not exist in Chinese it is often replaced by /l/ and sometimes /w/. For instance, Chinese generally have difficulties with dental fricatives [θ] and [ð] as there are no dental fricatives in Mandarin Chinese (though there are dental fricatives in other Chinese dialects). To overcome these problems, an experienced teacher should always emphasize the differences between dental fricatives [θ] and [ð] and alveolar fricatives [s] and [z]. Culture Based on my experiences teaching Chinese ESL students, there are many factors as communication style, familial/societal relationships, and educational values, which have a powerful impact on Chinese ESL learners in a classroom. In many public and training schools, Chinese students are taught English through a traditional grammar-translation method that emphasizes memorizing grammar rules, reading, and preparing for state English examinations. Having learned English via this type of method can cause great difficulty in adjusting to the communicative approach. Many ESL teachers have observed unwillingness to participate in oral activities in their Asian students. In my experience, students were shy to express their ideas on controversial topics, because in their traditional culture only the teacher’s opinion is right. Teachers should be knowledgeable about the culture of the country they teach in. It will help them to avoid embarrassing situations, break the ice between teacher and student. Conclusion Regardless of the motives and interests, ESL students often face various problems. Teachers should be aware of potential problems and be ready to help students overcome difficulties that ESL learners might face depending on their cultural and educational background. Being aware of some cultural and grammatical patterns of the country will help ESL teachers to establish a good rapport with the student and avoid embarrassing situations. References 1. Zhang, F., & Yin, P. (2009). A study of pronunciation problems of English learners in China. Asian Social Science 2. Natalie Rublik (2018). Chinese Cultural Beliefs: Implications for the Chinese Learner of English.