Teach English in Binhuai Nongchang - Yancheng Shi

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In Canada, the Department of Education, Newfoundland and Labrador defines an ESL student as one “… whose primary language or languages of the home, is other than English and would require additional English language support to develop” (“Who is the ESL student?” n.d, 2) receptive and productive skills. They go on to divide ESL students into five categories; immigrants, international students, children of temporary foreign workers, government assisted refugees and refugee claimants. They also describe some challenges experienced by these groups, such as gaps in their education and trauma. Of the challenges listed by the department, cultural and ethnic differences were a common denominator in all five groups. Given the aforementioned challenges faced by ESL students, it is expected that learning the English language may be difficult. It should therefore be the aim of the teacher to understand these challenges and to find ways to enable students to overcome them. One of the most powerful tools in education is encouragement. Encouraging words and actions have the power to shape students’ mind set and can help motivate them to succeed. Encouragement on the part of an ESL teacher can be the difference between a student persevering or giving up. ESL students can be encouraged if their teacher shows appreciation for their culture, uses group work appropriately and chooses topics of interest. Teachers can encourage ESL students by showing appreciation for their culture. ESL students can experience culture shock upon arrival in their host countries and may be afraid to share their own culture at school. This obstacle can be surmounted if teachers learn “the basics of where a child comes from- exactly”. (Gonzalez, 2014) Doing so can reduce the chances of misunderstandings arising or giving offence when none is intended and it shows students that their teacher cares about them and where they come from. Activities can also be planned by the teacher to show students that the classroom is a safe space to talk about and share their culture. Simple classroom activities such as ‘Show and Tell’, having students teach the class a word or greeting in their native language or even having an International Food Day at school where their families are involved can help. If the country and customs of students are celebrated, then they will feel comfortable in class and, more importantly, will be motivated to give their best to learning the English language. Secondly, through the appropriate use of group work teachers can encourage ESL students. Students tend to be more communicative and able to learn more when placed in small groups with their peers as opposed to class room sessions which learning is teacher centred. In fact, “… language is best learned through the close collaboration and communication among students” (“Ways of Motivating EFL/ ESL Students in the Classroom,” n.d.) and it is in these groups that students practice and strengthen their productive and receptive skills. Also, group work tends to be less stressful for students as they are more willing to make mistakes with the language and receive correction among their peers than in a whole- class setting. Teamwork creates a sense of community among students and by encouraging them to learn through partnerships they will become more engaged and successful at learning the English Language. Finally, teachers can encourage ESL students by choosing topics that interest them. By incorporating topics that are popular and that excite students, they become more eager to practice and produce the language. An article by Lesley University, entitled, 3 Strategies for Motivating ESL Students, supports this view and states, “… by connecting language to something personal in your students’ lives, they’ll tap into something emotional that will help with engagement.” Also to be considered here are the approaches to course books. Nothing is duller than teaching directly from textbooks without any creativity on the part of the teacher. Doing so without omitting, replacing or supplementing parts can lead to boredom and disinterest in learning the language. In order to keep students’ attention and participation at an optimum level, teachers must be considerate and creative in their choice and delivery of lesson subjects. ESL students are encouraged to learn when their culture is celebrated, when they work in groups and when they can relate to a topic of interest. The above are but a few ways of encouraging ESL students to learn the English language. There is no one formula to emboldening students as each student is different and so are their needs. It is therefore up to teachers to find ways that work best for their students and in doing so the success of students in learning the English language will be guaranteed.     Bibliography Gonzalez, Jennifer. “12 Ways to Support English Learners in the Mainstream Classroom.” Cult of Pedagogy, 2014, December 11, https://www.cultofpedagogy.com/supporting-esl-students-mainstream-classroom/. Accessed 21 February, 2020. “3 Strategies for Motivating ESL Students.” Lesley University, (n.d.). https://lesley.edu/article/3-strategies-for-motivating-esl-students. Accessed 22 February, 2020. “Ways of Motivating EFL/ ESL Students in the Classroom.” British Council, Teaching English, (n.d.). https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/blogs/alexenoamen/ways-motivating-efl-esl-students-classroom. Accessed 22 February, 2020. “Who is the ESL student?” Government of Newfoundland and Labrador Canada, Department of Education, (n.d.), p.2.  https://www.gov.nl.ca/eecd/files/k12_curriculum_guides_esl_esl_student.pdf. Accessed 19 February, 2020.