English

Pic of the day – English Village life

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Helping Students Create Their Own Learning Goals By Greta. J. Gorsuch

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Reflection on an Article

(756 words)

Students learn (language) for various reasons from those who need English to study in university to those that just want to talk to more people from around the world. But what makes them achieve what they set out to do which is speaking English competently? You could say it is a goal, their intention, their aspiration to be this person who has no problems with language. The only difficulty is, do they really know what their targets are? These can be for a course of English language, for example, thirty hours or the end product over a longer period. I will try in this piece to explain some points regarding learning goals in relation to the article by Greta J Gorsuch.

First of all, I have to talk about the teacher and their role in the classroom with regard to student learning goals. What do the students think they are there for? Is the teacher there to do everything? Is the teacher there to spoon-feed the students so to make it easy for them? These are the sorts of questions that might be asked but is the teacher there to do everything? Greta’s article mentions that teachers are ‘traditionally the primary source of information and inspiration’. It is true that the students can be sat waiting for the teacher to speak, the idea that the students do not speak unless spoken to. They can actually feel afraid to ask further questions or just get the exercise done. This is where concrete learning objectives can try to make the students come away from relying on the teacher to create goals for themselves as students and as such putting more emphasis on themselves (students) and what they want to achieve.  Greta says, ‘language students themselves are the best source of information’. To be a language learner does not just involve coming to class and listening to a teacher then going home. It involves being a language learner for life in and outside class.

It is here inside the class (not to mention outside) that the teacher if they want to create a learning environment they should encourage these learning goals for the students. Some teachers do not have ‘effective strategies’, Greta says. I agree with her as they can go into the class and teach a great lesson, but there could be more from the students. Greta mentions, ‘simple goal clarification activities’. This, I think, is the ‘use’ part of the lesson where the teacher actually gets the students to show that they have achieved their goal if only for that week by speaking and presenting what they have learned. This incentive, I think at least, gives students that pleasure of reaching a goal and then setting another one. The satisfaction to think that they set a target and have reached it must be beneficial in scaffolding their learning for future progress.

Greta’s ideas for future progress relate to giving cards out, getting the students to fill in their goals, making sure they are achievable and realistic ones at that. The only part, I think, that they must do is share these with other students. I think this honesty in class will get the students to realize what they are in class for. They must also be kept focused on these goals. Greta says, ‘ during the next few weeks, get students to look back at their card, and rewrite their responses’. Again, the teacher should never shy away from keeping the students focused on their goals. If one student does not feel they have reached their goals this is a great time to focus on why. It is true that a student may do, for example, thirty hours of study and then go up another level. In this student’s mind is that they are now a level higher, so their English language must be a level higher. This idea could be far off the mark, thus having students with achievable goals makes the students fully aware that they have reached that goal or not, and when this goal is relayed to the teacher he or she can give advice on what they can do next.

To conclude, it can be said teachers have to do their job but just as much the students have to do their job too. This does not mean forcing them; it means giving them that focus. Hopefully, the students will realize that a new foreign language is part of their life not just in the classroom for a few hours every week.

Why is it important to teach a second language?

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(413 words)

TASKS:

  1. There are at least 3000 spoken languages in existence today.  T/F

This is true, it has been estimated that the peoples of the world speak at least 3,000 or more different languages although it can be estimated that there are as many as 10,000.

2. Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world. T/F

This is true, with 400 million people speaking Chinese (Mandarin), although If the English language is included with its second language use then this would be the most widely spoken language.          

3. Some countries have more than one official language. T/F

This is true of some countries that are made up of many peoples. They speak different languages.  For example, Switzerland has four national languages – German, French, Italian, and Romansch with German existing in two major dialects.  Belgium counts French and Flemish. Canada has two official languages, English and French.

4. Bionic and laser are words that have been in the English language for more than 100 years. T/F

This is false. One specific feature of English is the ease with which new words can be introduced or formed to meet the communication needs of science, popular culture, politics, administration and ordinary speech. The two examples ‘Laser’ and ‘bionic’ are recently adopted words. It can be seen that the English language has an exterior that is forever changing but the core stays the same. An example of this peripheral evolvement of the English language is shown by there being every year a new buzzword (“a word or expression from a particular subject area that has become fashionable because it has been used a lot especially on television and in the newspapers”). The buzzword for 2004 was ‘Chav’. This is a noun which describes young men who wear cheap gold jewellery and baseball caps and hang around in shopping centres all over Britain.

5. English is widely used as an international language in science, commerce academic study, and training. T/F

There are many nations whose unique languages are spoken by no more than a few million people. This is the case with several countries of Europe such as the Scandinavian countries, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Holland, and part of Belgium. For these kinds of countries simply to have a large enough market for publication, many books especially scientific, technical, or academic are printed in English. For them, English has become the dominant international language in communications, science, business, aviation, entertainment, and diplomacy and also on the Internet.

English Business Etiquette

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(770 words)

In this essay, I am going to talk about how to understand English business etiquette better, so as not to be embarrassed when you visit England and have a business meeting. This is why it is wise to learn about and show an understanding of the rich business culture that England has. It could help you out of a problem.

England has a rich history and heritage that is world-renowned. English people are very proud of their heritage.

One of the first things you will notice is that English people say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ a lot. Even when they are not wrong they may still say ‘sorry’ just to make the situation calmer. English people are known to be kinder to you if you behave politely. One important factor to remember though is a visitor may upset an English person by the things they say and do in your own culture which is not frowned upon.

Westerners are known in Asia for being a bit extravagant and flamboyant. Here in Asia, they might seem to have looser morals but the United Kingdom has a strong culture of how to behave properly not just in a business setting but in life. This culture although still ingrained in many people has changed since World War II in England after seeing an influx of immigrants. England is actually very multi-cultural nowadays.

Any business person should understand where England is. This may be hard for some because it is actually an island away from central Europe. It is in Europe but English people still do not think of themselves as Europeans although they are part of Europe. If a visitor is doing business in any other part of the United Kingdom or meets a British person they do not refer to those people as English they will be rather offended. For example, if the business person is from Scotland, Ireland or Wales they are Scottish, Irish or Welsh not English.

Appearance at a business meeting, although English people are generally conservative, is generally relaxed although a person should be polished and well-groomed. English weather always prevails not to be bright and sunny so this is generally shown in business attire. Dark suits, black or grey are usually accepted. Men wearing shirts should not have pockets in them. If they have pockets they should be kept empty. Ties are worn but be careful what pattern and colour you choose. Ties are used to show many clubs or groups in England usually with stripes. These should be avoided as they might look like copies of well-known member’s club ties. A solid or patterned this is a better choice. Men should wear laced up shoes and not loafers. Women are not so limited to colours but should still keep to a conservative dress.

So, the business visitor is ready for the meeting, it is now the case of how to behave when meeting. First of all English people are very punctual. If a person says the meeting is at 9am the visitor should be there on time. The usual view is to plan to get to the place 15 minutes before but if for a major reason the person should call and say they will be late. A visitor must also remember that English people can be very reserved and not friendly but with more meetings can form deep and lasting friendships. Visitors often get the wrong idea because in their cultures people smile more and ask more questions than an English person would. A business visitor must be careful not to mix their culture with English.

Remember the English are rather formal. When the visitor first meets an English business person, a simple handshake is enough. Eye contact should be kept while initiating handshakes. This is the same for men and women. It is also better to use Mr, Miss, Mrs plus surname when meeting. Business cards can be given but there is no formal ceremony. There is also no need for a present to be given. English people do not stand on ceremony. Any gift should be small if any.

With first conversations, any visitor must remember that privacy is important in England so informal talk should not include talk about salaries or marriage. English people also value their personal space so try not to come too close while conversing. It is also not normal to touch people in public. If the visitor is invited out for lunch it will normally be in a pub with light food and a pint of lager. It is not wise to talk about work in the pub.

Remember in a business meeting if everyone is of the same level the meeting can flow while if there is someone of superior ranking they will do most of the talking. Usually, a meeting will have an agenda so the meeting will have been planned beforehand. English people like to be told information through facts and figures rather than through emotion. This makes it easier for them to make a decision. If straight questions are asked an English business person may give an indirect or evasive answer. A visitor must not be aggressive or too persuasive actually English people like a bit of humour but not lewd or unfitting language. The final decision will be taken by the senior executives and may take some time.

That first TEFL class

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So, someone asked me what I thought about starting with a new school abroad and how would a new teacher prepare for such an adventure that would help them settle in smoothly. I thought I should share my ideas with you hopeful educators. Hopefully, it gets you thinking a bit more and helps you along.

…..I would say beforehand go into the school and meet everyone to show them you are willing to learn more about the school and to show that you are friendly. This may be a good chance to find out what books are being used (you could actually take the books home then) and what is the curriculum; also the ages of students, their backgrounds, and their levels. I worked for a school that had 15 levels from basic to advanced, so it is good to know what you will be teaching. I would also see what hours I am working and how long I have the students for. In a high school you may have them for a whole term but in a language school only 30 hours (4 – 6 weeks).

I think you should mention that you would set up a few observations beforehand (and in those first few weeks). With these observations, you may actually be observing the class(es) you will be teaching, the students will be glad to say hello, this may be beneficial when you have that first class. This could be good as you get to see the teachers in action and how they use the classroom (classroom management). It would also be good to get a mentor. He or she could help you with the school’s teaching approach and also observe you in those first classes just to help you along. I would also go out for a drink with the teachers beforehand or have lunch together. They may even have a teacher’s room where they can show you all their available materials and of course your desk.

There are many private schools out there where there are 15 to 20 in a class (high schools I had 60).  Above all, this kind of work has a very communicative approach because more than likely the students learn English but not with a native speaker. They usually have to sit and listen. Think about pair work, group work, students facing the board, and being able to come up and write at any time. Your classes need to be active and student-centered because in many ways you are the facilitator.

(420 Words)