Teach English in Maocun Zhen - Xuzhou Shi

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I refer back to my first summative task, which I wrote to obtain my TESL certificate, when saying that confidence is the most important ingredient in the classroom, especially with regards to language learners. Ways to encourage students to participate in the classroom therefore include ways that can boost their confidence levels, as students are very likely to be hesitant to participate if they are not at ease with their classmates or their teacher. This is important for all age levels, but it sets the tone for the young learner on their path to acquiring new languages their entire life. Ways to build confidence for me are therefore very important in this age group. I will give an example and case study of my newest student who has joined our entirely Anglophone class in elementary school as a Francophone student. This particular girl joined our class in September, and it took her all the way until December to start speaking in English. I noticed in December that something was blocking her willingness to speak, and started working on that, because we had no other options than to see her prosper as her trial period was limited and she would be pulled out. The girl I speak of is very much an introvert. It is extremely difficult for her to join in on conversations and she misses out on the ability to pick up on conversations and join her peers when they are discussing something. Her immersion and therefore acquisition are limited because of this. Keep in mind as a six year old, this makes overall social skills hard and the vicious circle she was caught in was not helping her move forward. What we started doing with this student was reminding her of the ways the teachers learned new languages and how for everyone it is extremely difficult to let go of the control when faced with the possibility of making mistakes and not completely perfecting the language the way we would want to. We stopped giving her any clues in her mother tongue and would only listen to her when she asked things in English. The student started becoming more bold and daring when speaking, and her voice started to get louder. Yet, still hesitant to use many words, she would answer with sentences that were as short as possible. This remains a frustrating thing to hear as a teacher, and something you must work through. We therefore worked on dances, music and things that she was clearly more comfortable in. Slowly but surely the student started to speak more, because the teachers would wait for her reply and tell other students not to intercept and give her the time. This ensured that she would have enough time to reflect on the words she wanted to use, so she did not have to give up control entirely. Since January, having been given the right books and material to take home every day and the right mindset when watching movies or listening to instructions in English, the student has seen drastic improvement. Without confidence, we are all afraid to take risks. As mentioned in the first task, taking risks is the most important thing you can do when acquiring a new subject, especially a language because it means that people can correct you and remind you of what you need to keep saying and what you should say differently.