Teach English in Changhong Jiedao - Tianjin

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Problems for Learners in JordanIn the midst of constant conflict in the Middle East, Jordan is a small country eagerly striving to maintain peace and prosperity. In the latter half of the 1900s, King Hussein bin Talal, known as the ?Humane King,? ruled Jordan and helped bring about respectability and improvement to the country. Upon his death in 1999 his son, Abdullah II, came to reign. Along with boosting the economy by increasing free trade with other countries and promoting jobs, King Abdullah II established his National Initiative of 1999. This program requires students in all schools to learn english beginning in the first grade and continuing throughout their schooling years (Al-Tamimi and Rabab?ah, 6). While the Ministry of Education is very diligent in promoting the learning of english, their goals of quality have not yet been reached. Students entering college often lack proficiency in high-school level of english (Rabab?ah, 181-182). Colleges still advance these students in their courses, regardless of english proficiency, creating barriers to proper learning and proper communication (186). A great disadvantage is the fact that english-learning is only done in the classroom with hardly any contact with native-english speakers. Rabab?ah says that english literature plays a major part in the english curriculum throughout Jordan with little emphasis on interactive language skills (185). So, while students have much encouragement and many reasons to learn english, the teaching method itself has need for improvement. Of course, there are grammatical reasons why Arabic-speaking students in Jordan have difficulties learning the english language. First of all, Arabic is not a Roman script; thus, students must get used to a different kind of alphabet. Also, Arabic is read and written from right to left and english from left to right. Studies have shown that this can be a hindrance when students are trying to identify words and sentence structure (Randall and Meara, 133-144). When it comes to identifying words, many students tend to scan english words instead of looking for details. The result is identifying words incorrectly, such as reading giver instead of grieved. Arabic is a consonantal language. Normally, in Arabic only the consonants of words are written, and the reader must then supply the appropriate vowels by context of the sentence. A study by Ryan and Meara of the University College of Swansea has shown that Arabic speakers tend to pick up on the consonants of english words and supply whatever vowels come to mind (531-539). From the example above (giver and grieved) the consonant patterns are g-v-r and g-r-v-d. Even though the patterns are slightly different, an Arabic reader might see the same word in both patterns. Another problem that Arabic-speakers face is the necessary word order in the english language. Arabic speakers must deal with a standard (classical) and non-standard (colloquial) forms of their mother tongue. These forms provide different ways for arranging words within a sentence. In english, the standard word order for a simple sentence is subject-verb-object. In standard Arabic, however, the structure is verb-subject-object, and in non-standard Arabic it can either be object-verb-subject or verb-object-subject. Understandably, this causes confusion and the learner of english may not understand that different word arrangements can express different meanings. Mohammad Hamad Al-Khresheh points out in his article on ?Interlingual Interference? that because Arabic speakers have multiple ways of speaking their own language, confusion occurs when they try to transfer grammatical ideas from their mother tongue into english (105-114). Sometimes this only produces hodgepodge! Even just these few language points ? the importance of both consonants and vowels in the english language, proper word order, deciphering words based on the reading direction, etc. ? provide a teacher with plenty of problems to consider at one time. While many Jordanians are familiar with the english language because of the great extent to which it is encouraged, there is still plenty of room for improvement in the teaching methods by which the students are influenced. More english-language interaction and more detailed emphasis on english grammar items such as phonics would alone help build Jordanian students? proficiency in the english language. This is all the more reason that native-english teachers could be useful in such a country! WORKS CITED Al-Khresheh, Mohammad Hamad. ?Interlingual Interference in the english Language Word Order Structure of Jordanian EFL Learners.? European Journal of Social Sciences 16, no. 1 (2010): 105-114. Al-Tamimi, Yaser, and Ghaleb Rabab?ah. ?The Relationship Between Phonological Awareness and Word Reading.? Poznan Studies in Contemporary Linguistics 43, no. 2 (December 2007): 5-21. Rabab?ah, Ghaleb. ?Communication Problems Facing Arab Learners of english.? Journal of Language and Learning 3, no. 1 (2002): 180-197. Randall, Mick, and Paul Meara. ?How Arabs Read Roman Letters.? Reading in a Foreign Language 4, no. 2 (1988): 133-145. Ryan, Ann, and Paul Meara. ?The case of the invisible vowels: Arabic speakers reading english words.? Reading in a Foreign Language 7, no. 2 (1991): 531-539.