For my TESOL module we are required to do a project with an Erasmus student who is trying to learn English or improve their English ability. During this project we will meet the learner and write up a profile of their background, the reasons why they are learning English and what they hope to achieve. We will then meet up and have a more in-depth, recorded interview of about 15-20 minutes. We can then analyse and detect the problems the learner is encountering and make suggestions on how to improve. This English as a Foreign Language project will help both the “teacher” and learner, and will help prepare for when we are tutoring Erasmus students next year.
Meeting with my English Language Learner
This week I met up with my EFL language project learner and made a profile based on his background. The student is 23 years old and from Vitória in Brazil. It was interesting to note the different reasons he gave for wanting to learn English, for example some obvious reasons like for work possibilities but also for personal reasons like wanting to understand the lyrics in certain songs and watch TV shows. There are countless reasons to learn a new language.
In the Youtube video below some of these reasons are outlined in a video created for Babbel, the word renowned e-language learning site. The speaker speaks a different language for the different reasons he gives for learning a new language.
Reflection on Language Learning
This TESOL module has made me reflect on the different methods of language teaching and how I have learned languages in the past. For example, even after 5 years of learning French i am no where near fluent. I am not even near a conversational level. Trying to learn Dutch as an adult also showed me the difficulty of learning a new language. Pronunciation can be a big issue. In class this week we learned the importance of correcting pronunciation early on as otherwise it becomes ingrained behaviour and more difficult to change.
In this week’s TESOL tutorial we also discussed verbs and the different types and tenses used in English. It was interesting to see that even with complete fluency in a language that we do not know the actual grammatical patterns and orders and just simply go by “what sounds right”. After completing exercises with a German student also taking the TESOL module it was clear that she knew much more about English grammar than I did, when it should really be the other way around.
In my next blog post I will focus on how language teaching has evolved over the years and the different methods used today, including the most popular method: Communicative Language Teaching (CLT).