Teach English in Yangce Zhen - Zhumadian Shi

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Students in ESL classrooms around the world can be motivated by a multitude of reasons. When students are growing up in school they may take an English class because it is required by the school, the government, parents, or a combination of the three. In many countries around the world it is common practice for English (as a second language) to be a normal class all students take almost every year. Adult students might be more personally motivated, as they are likely choosing to learn English for a job, to live in an English-speaking country, or for another reason. Whether students like or dislike the process of learning English, there can be a heavy weight of importance put on the whole experience. When I ask the students in my ESL class why they are learning English, I receive answers like, “because it’s important,” and, “so I can get a job in the future.” These answers can come from younger and older students. But as a teacher, these reasons are not enough for me. Reasons that are intrinsically motivated are way more likely to leave a lasting impact, and continue for a longer amount of time when compared to extrinsically motivated reasons. If students learn something simply because they are told to, or because they have to in order to get something they want, that learning will most likely not have as much of a lasting impact. Contrarily, students who are motivated by an inner desire to grow and learn have a much better chance of retaining the knowledge they gain. As a teacher, one of my main goals is to inspire in my students a desire to learn, grow, and get better as learners and as people. I hope to show students that they have a lot of potential, as well as a purpose for where they are. Every chance we have to learn and grow is an opportunity that we need to take advantage of and use for the betterment of ourselves. I think that language teachers have a unique opportunity with their subject area to demonstrate to students how language is useful, practical, and personally fun. Communication is what connects our world together, both inside and outside our own country. Learning another language can open up our world like nothing else, making another side of the world suddenly within our grasp. Many of my ESL students seem to believe that learning English is, by definition, boring and bland. I like to challenge them to see how they can create interest and fun within their own language learning. I believe that a significant portion of the responsibility for learning lies on the student. I love talking to students who get excited about understanding the words to their new favorite English song, talking with their videogame friends in America, or even traveling to an English speaking country and being able to translate for their parents. We do not learn a language to only use it in the classroom; a language is an open door that we have the responsibility to step through. Even though English has become what many consider a global language, I want students to enjoy learning English because they can, not just because they have to or should. While teachers should use a mix of focuses so that they can motivate many different students, I do believe inspiring intrinsic motivations can have a much longer lasting impact on students as they leave class and continue on. Teachers have a unique opportunity when they are in front of students, and what we do in a class can stay with our students far beyond our classroom walls. Do we only want to teach the skills, or do we also want to inspire students to discover a personal reason for it all?