Life is all about balancing the strengths and weaknesses we have, nobody comes with one hundred percent perfection over anything or nobody is one hundred percent flawed. Our imperfections make us take the route to achieve perfection. So this journey from being flawed to going near being almost perfect (because it is believed that human beings cannot be pristinely perfect, some imperfections will always be there and that’s what make human nature interesting and worthy). The strength that we are born with is there. One has to cultivate those strengths because there is no restriction in sharpening your claws and being the leader in what you are endowed with. At the same time one has to take stock of the weakness and that is challenging. Generally it is our inherent nature to ignore the flaws we have, to close our eyes and doors to the scope of improvement, because we are not ready to accept our lacuna. The acceptance is a big challenge, once we accept that this is our weakness, the later steps become much easier, because the flaws have been identified and thus can be worked upon.
Not everyone can be an acclaimed classical singer, a prolific film director, a danseur, an accomplished musician, an artist of highest calibre, a superstar, a great actor, an author of a best seller all at the same go. These individual careers need individual proficiency and people who have mastered these expressions of art have worked on their skills which was already there and they have also accepted their lack of efficiency in the areas they were challenged. They have continuously studiously given time and labour and have worked to achieve those skills to be supreme in what they are doing.
So basically it is a Vis a Vis study of knowing your strengths and identifying your weaknesses by completely knowing, understanding and accepting yourself.
That is how the challenge has to be met in acquiring proficiency in ESL classrooms.
It becomes a burden on students when proper assessment or screening has not been conducted before admitting them in the courses or before inducting them to the teaching procedure.
Therefore the challenge which encompasses the process of learning now is correct screening. – Introduction is too short and has to be a little more impactful.
ASSESSMENT OR SCREENING
Being aware of a learner’s social background, economic backdrop, their cultural surroundings and the significance of genders pertaining to that cultural scenario is of paramount importance. Learners feel almost like a fish out of water if put in a wrong group, communication stops, exchange of ideas amongst peers take a back seat and obstruction becomes a huge challenge to overcome. They lose the interest to learn something new; they stick to their comfort zone of native language.
Placement in appropriate educational program implants the seeds of proper training. It has to be noted that lack of fluency in English certainly does not determine the intelligence level of the learner, whereas on the other hand depriving them from communicating and interacting with age and culturally appropriate peers can hinder their adjustments in the classroom to get a grip on the language.
Learners with a different first language in their curriculum can be and should be placed in a literacy class before being mainstreamed into the actual learning procedure. This direct dive into an ESL classroom can be quite challenging for learners who are not well versed with the language in the very first place. Because of their limited knowledge, they find it really tough and grueling to follow the speed with which the language is being imparted. It is a big challenge for these learners to overcome.
Language proficiency also comes from the environment to which the learner belongs to. In most of our residences we speak in our native language which is again a challenge to bring in that fluency in English language when he or she is expected to speak up in the classes.
Extensive extempore can be conducted, just to make them feel confident about what they are speaking and if they are adhering to the subject matter.
Our metacognitive minds first soak in the information from outside, interprets and analyses it in the brain, listens for various data which can be cumulative to the topic and then we speak- although this process takes a very little time to take a formative shape, and chances are high grammatical errors will occur, proper conjunction or adverbs or accurate synthesis of sentences will be in the missing list but self-expression will definitely happen. And this challenge will also be won, if not at the first go, then it can be safely concluded that it will happen the next time an extempore takes place and you are asked to speak..
Edification in English as a foreign language is challenging yet rewarding and satisfying. Owning sovereignty in a language as rich as English is no mean feat. It gives an enormous boost to self esteem and the confidence quotient touches the zenith because English is a globally acclaimed language which is used in most part of the globe.
Yet trials and tribulations are there, needless to say.
Students come from various backgrounds and the ice cannot be broken between every peer, hence drama arises, the common goal of learning the language gets hugely distracted. The feud increases when some of the students constantly steal the show by volunteering to participate in classroom activities. The weaker students feel left out and they automatically develop a gross antipathy towards the language and more so towards the teacher. Tardiness, though touted as rude, follows suit.
More than often the personality of the educator is not appealing enough to the learners, nevertheless he or she is an expert in the language. But there lies a difference in being good at a language and being a good teacher. My personal opinion on this is a mediocre student makes a very good teacher. He or she can tap the problem area of the learners who are being introduced to a foreign language.
The accent of the teacher is not always as understandable as it should be; now there cannot be subtitles showing up on screen or board every time a teacher speaks. So the accent and speed, if not modified, keeping in mind the cultural background of the learners is a huge challenge to get a proper hang of the language.
Certain times, we do understand and comprehend the meaning of a particular word or expression but we get tongue tied while we need to speak up in public or any social gathering.
SPEAKING PROBLEMS AND REASONS AMONG ESL LEARNERS
We can summarize the areas of challenges as:
- Hesitation to speak English with their teachers and friends in and/or outside the classroom – More than often, it has been observed that a student is well versed with the answer or there is an intention to take part in a conversation. But they are scarred to speak up because somewhere they don’t feel confident enough to put their thought into words. It can happen to anyone, because either we are not sure of what kind of vocabulary we should use, we don’t have faith on our grammatical finery, and most importantly we do not want to feel insignificant in front of others, maybe the teachers or our friends and peers. Hence, taking active participation in any kind of group discussion or even clearing certain doubts with the teaching faculty become a hard-hitting target. But when someone is taking that extra step to speak up, even if there is not enough articulation and the content delivery is often deviated, encouragement should come in abundance. This hesitation can only be mitigated with support and encouragement to speak more in public.
Another very effective way is to speak to your own image in the mirror and practise speaking.
- Worried about making grammatical mistakes, which halts the speaking.
It takes time to be completely free of grammatical errors while we speak. It worries one and it makes one self conscious while speaking that whether the right part of speech is being used, whether the correct synthesis of sentences is maintained and so on. This needs lot of practise on paper, constant application and utilization of the grammatical knowledge one has acquired so far has to be put into constant use. It is quite possible to minimize the frequency of grammatical errors in your speech. Practice is the key obviously. The real crux of the fact is how to practice? Conversing with other people might help as they can point out your errors or you can correct yourself while speaking once you realize your mistake, but this approach has a few subtle flaws.
Firstly, the acknowledgement of the fact that you are prone to err would not allow you to be fully open to the other person, the candidness of the person notwithstanding. Secondly, another problem will start taking shape: you will correct yourself initially but gradually you will lose interest in the rather boring habit of picking your own mistakes in front of other people.
It is therefore suggested that you to talk to yourself whenever you are alone. Speak as if you are about to go as a candidate for the presidential debate. Create imaginary scenarios where you are addressing a crowd and speak as if you will speak to them. You will definitely be able to point out your mistakes and correct them. This method is clearly free of the flaws, in the earlier paragraphs. Moreover, you will start enjoying this practice once you realize how open you can be to yourself.
For improving your vocabulary and knowledge about speech, you can always look up to good orators, pay attention to their interviews, their speeches and debates.
Feeling embarrassed of their low language proficiency, which can be worked upon and the challenge should be taken head-on. The teacher has to shoulder that extra responsibility to make the learners open up in front of their brighter counterparts.
Learning a new language as an adult is not always easy. Linguists recognize that children have a much greater ability to learn new language skills, especially very young children. The older we get, the harder it is, especially for people who don’t already speak more than one language. And adults who do learn a foreign language are also much more likely than children to speak their new language with a distinct accent.
However, adults may gain from other advantages that are lost on some children. Some adults value their career progression so highly that they see language learning as simply another business skill to add to their CV. Others may have developed a hobby or other social interest that from another culture and have progressed to a level where they want to understand their interest in its original language. Keen travellers often find learning an additional language helpful, especially when going off the beaten path. All of these reasons are likely to motivate an adult language learner more so than their younger selves, when exposure to language learning may have seemed a pointless chore and thus met with limited success.
Finally, the world is not a static place and language is not static, either. In the beginning of the 20th century, French was seen as the language of culture, education and diplomacy. Whilst the French language is certainly not in danger of becoming extinct, its position on the global stage has been surpassed by English in the 21st century, both from a business and from a popular culture point of view.
I will be back soon with certain focal points I need my readers to be in sync with.