Teach English in Yangfeng Zhen - Zhumadian Shi

Do you want to be TEFL or TESOL-certified and teach in Yangfeng Zhen? Are you interested in teaching English in Zhumadian Shi? Check out ITTT’s online and in-class courses, Become certified to Teach English as a Foreign Language and start teaching English ONLINE or abroad! ITTT offers a wide variety of Online TEFL Courses and a great number of opportunities for English Teachers and for Teachers of English as a Second Language.

Bilingual classroom is where students learn a different language from that of their native tongue. This is called SLT (second language teaching) or FLT (foreign language teaching). The most common second or foreign language taught is English. The term ESL (English as a Second language) or EFL (English as a foreign language) is popular in most Asian countries. I myself is a product of ESL. However, my experience as an ESL learner, from pre-school to university, is far different from my experience as an ESL teacher now. Teaching English to bilingual classrooms are different from those I grew up with. Hence, the challenge on how to teach a bilingual classroom is an existing problem until now due to the clash of beliefs and philosophies of the old and the new. According to Tupas (2002,2009) there are two generally sets of perspectives in SLT – the linguistic perspective and the sociolinguistic perscpective. Simply, the former involves on the emphasis on form, while the latter involves on the emphasis of function. The linguistic perspective ruled the time when I was an ESL learner. Hence it is the first belief to be the best way to teach foreign language. Lexis or vocabulary and syntax was the focus in this teaching. Drills on vocabulary and rules of grammar were heavily taught. They believed that when the learners have good foundation of vocabulary and grammar, they can produce as many sentences as possible. But recently, this has changed. Being an ESL teacher myself, we moved from linguistic perspective to sociolinguistic perscpective. Here the goal is no longer just the form, but the function of that form. The goal of SLT is focused on teaching learners to communicate in the target language. We have moved from lexis and syntactic focus to functional, conceptual, and pragmatic focus – what to say, when to say it and how to say it. It is important for we know that a single sentence may mean different things to different people base on who said it and how it was said. Thus, the first step on how to teach a bilingual classroom is to choose a perspective. It might be form over function or a combination of both. Each bilingual classroom is unique, and its students are individually different form each other too. Only the teacher can suffice and provide his or her students’ needs. However, choosing a perspective alone does not solve the problem. Somehow, even before a teacher chooses a perspective, there is already a pre-existing problem. That problem every teacher will face in a bilingual classroom is the problem of culture. This is given, for two languages would include each language’s culture as well. Tupas (2002,2009) has enumerated in his book seven general cultures of learning that are nurtured in the classroom, namely – (1) culture of inferiority, (2) culture of pragmatism, (3) culture of dependence, (4) culture of autonomy, (5) culture of passivity, (6) culture of isolationism and (7) culture of elitism. I will not elaborate each of them here but will summarize them by categorizing them according to teacher-student relationship (culture of autonomy, culture of passivity, culture of isolationism) and L1-L2 relationship (culture of inferiority, culture of pragmatism, culture of dependence and culture of elitism). A bilingual classroom like any other classroom is also place where a tug-of-war on power exists. This leads us to the second step, which is choosing what culture of learning to encourage and what no to. This is vital, because what we tell our students affect how they think of themselves too. If we promote the power of the foreign language over their native language, it gives them inferiority of their identity. If we let ourselves as teachers become the main source of information and not let our students think by themselves, they will lose trust and confidence in their own skills. Hence, we must aim for balance. From here it’ll lead us to the final and most important step – choosing a method or approach in teaching. Here we apply and put in to action our perspectives and cultures of learning. There are many methods and approaches in SLT/ FLT. Tupas (2002,2009), in his book, had simply grouped them according to – teacher-oriented, learning-oriented, and learner-oriented. Teacher-oriented methods and approaches emphasizes a dominant teacher. This is the traditionally and old type of practice and as we all know does not help students take control of their learning. Learning-oriented methods and approaches is about creating an ideal learning environment for the learners. It focuses on the process of learning, like how the students process the target language. Lastly, learner-oriented methods put emphasis on the students as active learner. Thus, students are not spoon-fed but rather allows them to think and the teacher will serve as a guide. Whichever the teachers opt to use, it is important to take caution and go back to the first step which is the perspective – what is the goal, and will this method help me achieve that goal. In summary, I had introduced three steps on how to teach a bilingual classroom – first choose a perspective, second what culture of learning to encourage and what not to, and third, the final and most important step – choosing a method or approach in teaching. These are general steps only, because I believe that each classroom is as unique as their individual students. A solution to one class may be a problem to another. Hence an ESL teacher like me must be objective and strive for an all-inclusive classroom environment. References Tupas, T. (2002,2009). Second Language Teaching . Quezon City 1101: UP Open University.