Teach English in Lashu Zhen - Anqing Shi

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Foreign Language ExperienceThis article is based on my own personal experience when I went to learn french in France some years ago. I had no prior knowledge of the language apart from a few basic words like hello and goodbye. Like in all schools, I had to do an evaluation test and was put in the beginner?s level. I then joined a multilingual class with students from different parts of the world. A few of us were english speakers while the rest of the students could only speak their native language. Naturally, the english speakers had a tendency to sit together in class and communicated in english. The teacher spoke and taught only in french and refused to speak any other language, which of course was good for us as we had no choice but to speak in french. Eventually, the english speakers decided to communicate only in french if they wanted any progress. We communicated with the little french we knew and the stronger students helped the weaker students. We did not have a course book and the teacher used authentic material to plan lessons. I bought myself a book with an audio cassette so I could read and listen at the same time and this really helped me a lot with pronunciation. I then told myself that I would learn a hundred new words a day, by looking at the dictionary or listening to people when they speak. I would pay attention to words and if I heard a word that was often used, or used repetitively, I would check it out in the dictionary or ask a french person what it meant. I would then make sure that I used the words that I had learnt by incorporating them in a sentence. I would also go to the supermarket and check the different foods and what they are called in french. As months passed by, I could communicate using simple sentences and understood what was being said to me. However, direct translation from english to french was sometimes inevitable. What I learnt from this experience is that it is not easy to learn a new language. A lot of motivation is required as sometimes one feels like giving up especially when you are trying your best to speak and the person you are talking to (especially a native french) looks at you like they are totally clueless of what you are saying. This can easily discourage a person. Also, a lot of the language that a student learns is not in the classroom but by everyday experiences (especially if you live in the country where it?s a native language) and by studying by oneself. Another thing I learnt is that a teacher plays an important role in motivating the students. I had a patient, good natured teacher at first but she was replaced by an unenthusiastic teacher who clearly showed that she didn?t enjoy teaching. This made the students make less effort in learning and not look forward to going to class. Having experienced this, I promised myself that if I ever became a teacher, I would be enthusiastic and always motivate my students. Another important thing I learnt is that one should not be afraid to make mistakes. Let the conversation flow. Express yourself with the words that come to mind. The more we worry about making mistakes the less confidence we have and the less we speak, meaning we don?t practice the language. So go ahead and make those mistakes from time to time!