Teach English in Taoshui Zhen - Zhuzhou Shi

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Language acquisition is one of the most noble and effective tools that a human being can ever ask for to discover the rest of the world. Life is very diverse and can be completely different from our normal beliefs and standards, then it is very important to open up and see what the other side of life has in its heart. This world is immense and filled with diversities and differences that we do need to know about, understand, accept and embrace. With the dawn of new technology and the progression of science, this world has been presented to us in a small screen, and we know that there is another life with other people on the other side of the world, hence the importance of learning a global language such as English. But could it be a big challenge, especially in the pronunciation? Fist of all, the English language is known to be a global language which is the most common mean of communication in the international level, whether it is in business or government partnership or organizational agreements. Therefore, it is almost a must for everybody, no matter where you are from and what your primary language is, to learn and eventually be able to communicate effectively in English. This is a very challenging process in a lot of countries, especially in Senegal where pupils learn their mother tongue from birth before they learn French, which is the colonial and official language, at the age of 5 or 6. The Senegalese educational system requires students to start English classes from 6th grade all the way to 12th, after they have already acquired at least their mother tongues and French. Students usually manifest a lot of discrepancies in the pronunciation aspect which detours their effectiveness on their oral skills, because they have a double influence that hinders their English-speaking skills. Each student from the 6th grade in Senegal already knows how to speak fluently two to three languages, and they always show a lot of difficulties in pronunciation during English classes. The problem starts from the teachers themselves who are great teachers and very skillful but usually lack pronunciation skills. They almost never have the opportunities to talk and interact with people whose first languages are English, or even travel and reside in an English-speaking country, in order for them to acquire pronunciation skills. They mispronounce a few words in the classrooms and let the students no other option but to repeat and say words the same way they hear them from the teachers. So, I believe it is very important to be exposed to the right pronunciation of words and be accustomed to it before you teach English because one should not sound any other language but English when they speak English. And I also believe that students should also be exposed to the language earlier than usual, but especially be exposed to the right materials that would help with a good pronunciation of the English language, hence the content of the second part of this reflection. Besides, in Senegal students or teachers are often not lucky enough to have access to videos and tapes for their listening and speaking classes. There are a lot of problems that make it hard to have access to all the tools necessary for a good pronunciation acquisition. Schools, most of the time, do not have enough means to afford laboratories or listening materials, and barely have means to pay for tapes or any audio recordings. Almost eighty percent of students on the other hand, live in very difficult households where they barely have enough food, let alone internet connection so they can find videos and recordings in order to improve their pronunciation. I believe learning the right pronunciation of the English language is and should be a process that goes beyond school gates, it should be a continuous work from teachers, parents and of course the system of the country making everything available for students to be fully equipped with the right tools at school, in their houses and on the streets. Electricity being still a problem in a few places in Senegal, it is clear that there is a lot of things that represent a complete obstacle to English speaking skills for Senegalese teachers and students. I believe the government system should have a better policy on education and provides the schools and teachers with better tools to be effective in their jobs, but also should help students at school or at home have access to any material necessary for a successful English language class. Internet is nowadays one of the most relevant resources that should be accessible to anybody. In a nutshell, we have discussed the importance of learning English and also the fundamental factors that constitute a big hindrance for students and teachers in Senegal to be able to acquire a good pronunciation of the English language. Pronunciation is very crucial in a language because it facilitates understanding in a communication, and English being a complex language, mispronunciation can differ the meaning of our thoughts, which can eventually betray the purpose of communication.