domingo, 29 de agosto de 2010
Problems we face 4 (Students with difficulties in learning the language)
In these 16 years of teaching I've already seen students who had lots of difficulties in learning English. Some had more like pronunciation problems and others had difficulties in speaking, for example. This is a fact. We'll always have students who doesn't seem to have the same facilities as other students we may have, and we should pay special attention to them. So I searched on the Net about the problem and check what I could find. I hope it may help you, too.
According to Nina Makofsky (http://www.ehow.com/about_5394295_problem-learning-english.html),learning problems happen due to the language's diverse roots, large amount of irregular verbs and profound regional variations. She also mentions that almost all English learners encounter at least three types of problems: challenges with pronunciation (some people are never able to master certain sounds), issues with vocabulary (most people can add to their English vocabulary with study and practice), and grammar. Then she gives some tips in order to minimize the problem. Here they are:
a) Encouraging errors - If a student feels intimidated, it can inhibit his/her ability to absorb new information and produce English;
b) Use of different techniques - Learning English requires different techniques for different types of learners. Some people require more time to reflect on concepts bofore working with dialogues or presentations.Others need to speak to reinforce new information. Music, rhymes, chants, poems and games provide additional reinforcement;
c) Whenever possible, students should listen to native speakers engaging in conversation or teaching concepts.
Practically speaking, if you work with large groups it's a good idea to talk to this special learner privately and suggest different ways to study and practice at home, So if the student has difficulties in pronunciation, he/she should listen to the CD or try to wacth TV shows in English. Another great idea is to have his/her voice recorded reading in English,for example,so that he/she may be able to recognize certain pronunciation mistakes, practice more and consequently improve. If the problem is the written part, the instructor can assign some more homework in order to work even more on that ability. Some English schools are used to offer those students some extra minutes with the teacher so that they can reinforce what's being studied. If you have a private student, things become easier because a private teacher can handle the lessons according to student's improvement. So once you don't have to follow a strict schedule you can spend more time working on the ability you feel is being dealt with more difficulty by the student. We just should never forget to be patient. Pacience is the key word in those special cases. See you tomorrow, colleague!