Teach English in CaisAnghu Zhen - Yueyang Shi

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Stress is a feeling that produces great worry caused by difficult situations. As people experience these quite often in life, it is essential to have the necessary power to cope with it. Stress occurs in various spheres of life such as the personal, professional and educational ones. Every beginning is challenging and it brings anxiety and tension because people do not know what to expect from that new event. Considering this issue, it is vital to learn how to manage our own well-being in order to feel comfortable with ourselves, to stay healthy, happy and to transmit this positive state to the people that surround us. In the context of the EFL education and classroom environment, one has to be aware of the fact that students who want to learn English come from different backgrounds and cultures; possess diverse characters forming themselves a set of values to follow in life. This concept is acceptable and valid for all the humanity. Students do have distinct learning styles and learning difficulties as well due to their educational experience. Some factors that generate stress to students when they learn English could be defined as the following: at the start of a course, the idea of meeting new people can frighten the EFL learners particularly if they are not used to this thing. They have to settle in that environment and interact with their classmates quite frequently during a course, which may also be challenging for them. The other elements regarding this issue could be taking tests at certain periods, the students’ insufficient command of the target language, the fear of making mistakes, not understanding certain language points, the inability to express their thoughts adequately and the fear of being criticized by other people or not being socially accepted in an EFL medium. The role of the teacher is crucial when dealing with these obstacles as he/she has to adopt a professional attitude using the most useful strategies so to ameliorate these important facets and convert them into constructive ideas. Teaching does not only imply managing learning but also managing relationships between students as teachers embrace the psychological aspect among people as well. If teachers are able to control their own emotions and well-being, it means they will succeed to control the students’ learning and their emotions as well. Teacher’s feelings are significant because they are communicated to students to a certain extent. Despite the teacher’s personal problems, every English lesson always has to be initiated with a smile, good mood, optimism and positiveness as these states will automatically be instilled to students to the rest of it. The other solution is to create a relaxed, safe and friendly learning environment though “decorating” the classroom with different quotes and pleasant objects that motivate them to study. Moreover, it is important to assign as many interesting and fun activities as possible so that students perform them in pairs, groups or teams but every time in diverse layouts. This aspect greatly favors the interaction between the EFL learners. They discover more about each other, they gradually get closer to one another and finally they can even become friends. Students have to be encouraged all the time to participate actively in activities providing them with the necessary means for that and support their efforts to achieve the aim of the tasks. In addition, teachers have to set a certain time for planning, preparation and practice as in the confidence building stage, the appropriate planning time empowers students to familiarize themselves with their thoughts and intentions, this element contributing to the achievement of success. Concerning the attitude of the teacher, it has to be fair and consistent towards students. This means to treat all the learners equally during the lessons and not to have favorites. It is also essential to address to them adequately and to proceed professionally in different stressful situations that might appear. For example, when students do not understand some of the words or the task they have to do. The other important moment is to offer feedback after performing certain activities, to praise them for their striving made throughout the lessons in order to accomplish the successful acquisition of the language point and to encourage them to practise more. Giving feedback after the completion of the activity also makes students be aware of its result and purpose. Regarding the mistakes in the classroom, teachers have to make students understand that they are part of the learning process and it is natural for them to arise. Making mistakes contributes to a better comprehension of the subject matter and a higher perception of its usage. As has been noted, a basic idea is that studying English should produce pleasure and bring joy to students. Stress probably cannot be totally avoided in the classroom, but an alternative for teachers is trying to do their best in order to cope with it effectively. Students must not permit stress to overwhelm and dominate their personalities. It is fundamental to understand that for every problem there is a solution. As shown above, the teacher’s mood that he/she enters the classroom with is significant for the entire lesson. The teacher also has to manifest optimism, enthusiasm, confidence and motivation so to inspire these qualities to students. The other side of the issue is the encouragement and support from the language instructors to study English and to overcome gradually the linguistic difficulties that might appear. Objective feedback is also beneficial after the fulfilment of various tasks and activities in such a way that nobody is offended. Praising students’ efforts during the course makes them feel more optimistic, self-confident, motivated to continue learning and therefore definitely more successful about acquiring the English language in a pleasant and friendly atmosphere.