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Post by Archived Topic » Fri Dec 21, 2001 9:39 am

Teachers of English as a Foreign Language
acting as an agent of inhibition

Hi, Friends.

I would like to count on you help to correct this article below, I have tried to written.

thanks for your help

jean carlos

Abstract

This article discusses the role of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language acting as an agent of inhibition in the English learning. As they are concerned in teaching the language without, sometimes, considering the linguistics limits of the learner as a foreign student as well as his/her learning style. They have been forgotten the most essential tool in the teaching process that is motivation, being so causing a kind of frustration which can be in the majority of the cases, for the rest of life of the learner. In all things change is the key to healthy growth and language is no exception. Create expectative to renew motivation is the key to the success, and the teacher should be aware of the needs of the students focusing what he/she wants and not what the teacher believes the student needs to communicate.

Aims

English Language teachers are frequently prey to doubts arising from changes in the language itself, its effects on teaching and learning, however the main objective of this article is to come up with some kind of teaching methodology or techniques which interferes in the process of teaching and leaning


1. English Learning Myths and Ideas
People learn English for many different reasons. People also have many different styles of learning English. Despite these facts, many learners of English have rather rigid ideas about what "good learning" really means. They think that there are certain "rules and regulations" that apply to learning English well, and that, if they follow these rules, they will surely learn English well.
Other learners (and teachers) are convinced that learning is just a process of assimilation and that, if you stay calm and let the world do its magic, you will automatically learn. Of course, there are also learners who believe the exact opposite of this approach and feel that learning grammar rules by heart is the best way to improve their English.
There are also learners who, unfortunately, believe that they are not really capable of learning English well and tend to be too hard on themselves. And, there are those who think they know all there is to know and like to correct their fellow students.
In other words, there are many, many approaches and attitudes to learning English. It is also important to ask yourself, teacher of English as a Foreign Language, questions about your own attitude to learning another language, other than English to refine his/her approach as he/she continue teaching.
2. Why do people give up learning a Foreign Language?

For many years teachers, professors and researchers in the field of linguistics around the world, have been seeking the answer for the questions which has concerned them why do many learner of a foreign language have failed in their learning activity?

As a matter of fact it would be difficult to respond this question at once, for as it is known, in learning and teaching process, I mean, in all learning and teaching situation there are the basics elements: the student, the teacher/professor and the method. They depend upon one another to work as it is wished. It is a result of a good adaptation of the method to the teacher and the teacher to the student. However the teacher must be aware that the student comes to him/her. The teacher cannot modify the student. The student comes to class, as he/she is, with his capacity not well defined, full of hope, interest and anxiety, being so, the teacher is there waiting for him/her to be helpful and to make easy the natural process of learning, and in here I would dare to say, the Natural Approach (NA).

3. Motivation vs. Time

It is very hard to build or develop linguistics habits when the teacher of a foreign language has a very limited schedule time to reach once the student spend about ten to twelve hours speaking his/her mother language and only three or four hours speaking in English.
Nevertheless these difficulties, these barriers, it ´s arrived the time in which the teacher is supposed to explore the motivation of the student working on his/her values and his/her self-stemma. The teacher must be aware of the points of interests of the students. Who can deny that we just learn indeed what we actually want to learn? And this is one of the reasons why we have had good results with an adult student who has the vital need to learn a foreign language.


4. Creating expectation to renew the stimulation

There many reasons why people decide to learn a foreign language and exist some steps, I mean, some plans which are set aside by the student in order to accomplish his/her goals.
a) First she/he understands that it is necessary to improve his/her condition of life, being so arising the feeling of motivation, which is based on the desire to meet his/her needs as soon as possible. b) Second the student looks for a school where, in his/her point of view, is the best one to make him/her make his/her dream comes true.
At his moment the teacher is supposed to be aware of some aspects about the student such as the educational, social and cultural background to better design the best approach and interaction in the classroom which will guide them, teacher and student, to reach the point. The teacher, as a reproducer of knowledge, is supposed to create a better atmosphere to increase the motivation of the student, focusing all the power of the class in a key word named “ stimulation”, that means, the teacher. It should be known that people learn more when they can experience the growth of their studies in a routine of their lives, being so, the teacher is expected to build a mechanism to improve the interest of the student, for that he/she must be aware of teaching methodology using his/her personal qualities such as: imagination, creativity, enthusiasm and a good sense of humor.


5. Teacher vs. Student

In the learning process there are two kinds of teachers and two kinds of students as it is shown below

· There is a teacher who wants to show his/her knowledge. How good he/she is at speaking the language, vocabulary, grammar, cultural knowledge etc and how he/she is able to detect mistakes on accent, pronunciation and so on. Te student is in the classroom the most time listening to him without being provoked to speak and he/she is there to memorize a lot information

· There is a teacher who wants the student learn from him/her. He/she is much more interested to help the student to meet his/her goals. His/her focus is in the learning process indeed, interacting in the classroom, trying to get the slightest action of interest from the student. Forcing the student through various methods of teaching to make the use of the language more effective in the classroom, making the student understand the teacher is acting as a mere conductor, because we must remember the teacher pens the door, but the student is the one who enters. According ¹Stephan Krashen “ communication is the main function of the language”.

· There is a student who wants the teacher teaches. This is the one who goes in the classroom trying to challenge the teacher to make miracles, for this kind of student do not participate in the class. He is always disagreeing on the teacher’s techniques consequently h/she can not improve and due his/her behavior he/she finds a way to give up learning, saying he/she is not learning at all from the teacher then leaves the school.

· There is a student who wants to learn from the teacher. He/she is in the classroom interacting, working helping the teacher as well as his/her classmates. He/she is full of enthusiasm: asking, answering, provoking attitudes towards his/her goals

06. What is perfect English?

“ Your accent is terrible!”…” Your pronunciation is very bad!” who has never heard theses affirmation once in life, while learning a foreign language, in this case, specifically English? And it is hard, however it is harder when it comes from a teacher. How many times some of us have been inhibited of communicating, to say a simple “How are you?” because of our intonation is not according to the standard English pronunciation. Why should we speak perfect English? “ I don’t want t be a spy”, ² Jose Paulo Paes. As a mater of fact when the student is too worried about grammar, pronunciation, intonation, accent, he/she loses the aim of speaking a foreign language. “ Language serves essentially for the expression of thought. ³ Noam Chomsky. Therefore the teacher must be aware of the
linguistics varieties; linguistics limits of each individual. Remember that to became truly fluently in a target language is not necessary to become transformed into a new person as a product of the foreign language, the fact of attempting to communicate is the key to success and after all the teacher must consider the native speakers varieties and understands that when they are trying to communicating they get things wrong mainly when they are off their own ground, so why should a non-native speaker has perfect English accent, pronunciation and so on? Since the student has been attempting to communicate he/she is right. Non-native speakers of English will naturally conform their use of English to meet the demands of environment of situation with which they are most confronted.


07. Flexibility in the classroom

The implication of a standard English in the classroom is that the teacher (as a representative of the norm) needs to be sensitive to the students´ needs and goals, which they have set for themselves in learning a foreign language and accordingly, teach approach style. Since adults cannot usually acquire language perfectly, non-native speakers often make mistakes (including language teachers who do not need to feel guilt if they sometimes get things wrong)

08. The rule of the language teacher

Firstly he/she must be an enthusiastic, acting like a mirror of motivation waking in the student the wish of speaking the language which he/she is learning without fear or inhibition and when the student sees the teacher feel like attempted to communicate in the language with the teacher and not feels like running away from the teacher scared of being correct or censured, for the most people the purpose of learning a foreign English is to communicate with others who also speak English to meet his/her needs, only. The teacher must give the student what he/she came to fetch not what the teacher thinks he/she needs.

Conclusion and recommendations

In all things, change is the key to healthy growth and development, and language is not exception. Throughout the years has been much controversy concerning the question of whether standard English actually exists and, if so, how should it be defined? The aim of this paper is to provide general ---but detailed information about on of the most recent and the most promising approaches to language teaching, the Natural Approach (NA). Yet there are many native speakers, including native teachers of English as a second language (sometimes called “elitists or “purists”) who would have non-native varieties eliminated in favor of the correct native form, forcing this “ superior” form on the foreign language student, but to insist that non-native speakers of English speak “standard” English(even if one knew what it was), or some special form of native English, is to demand that the non-native speaker view things as a native English speaker would, thus we understand that “ the real reason, says Steverick, why people use a language is not to produce right answers, or even to increase their competence in it, but simply to say thing to one another.(teaching and learning English – pg. 98)






Submitted by jean lima (recife - Brazil)
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Post by Archived Reply » Fri Dec 21, 2001 9:53 am

Hello Jean,

I fear your piece is too long for this forum at over 2000 words. I suggest that you either search on the web for professional proofreaders, and/or supply your email address below if you wish to invite any of the Word Wizards to provide you with an individual service (probably for a fee).

It would in any case be necessary to liaise with your proofreader in order to be able to clarify the ambiguities and uncertainties of meaning which certainly exist in this text.
Reply from Erik Kowal (Reading - England)
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