The Importance of Learning a Second Language in Schools

I believe that English as a Second Language, or ESL, is beneficial to humanity as a whole, especially those coming into an academic setting, because, while English is not the most widespread language of the world, it is the trading language of the current world powers and has one of the most extensive technology-based lexicons in existence allowing new and various specialized ideas to be conveyed more efficiently. Students who choose to learn English have a higher chance of success in today’s political and economic climates.

After all, “countries with higher levels of English-language skills also have stronger economies,” according to a 2014 study done by the organization Education First (ICEF). I want to enhance students’ lives so that they have the potential to enter a university setting and change the global environment, working hand-in-hand with peers to make Earth a better place to live for beast and man alike. One might say that I could teach this way just fine from the United States, but I want to go abroad because– what better way to teach relevance to students than to be immersed in their culture and begin to understand the major parts of their paradigms such as different socioeconomic statuses, varying religious views, or alternative family structures?

My goal is to teach speaking and listening courses to L2 learners in either students’ final two years of high school around the world or the college-preparation level courses that can be found at many universities abroad.

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Specifically, I would prefer to teach these subjects in countries whose native languages I am not familiar with so that I would be forced to learn the language and the students, in turn, would have little choice but to speak English to communicate with their instructor.

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In my three months of experience, the students at the upper high school levels tend to be more mature and more willing to learn a second language because, at this point of their academic career, if they are still taking the language courses, then, presumably, it is because they are truly interested in learning it. I would prefer, though, to teach speaking and listening at the college preparation level because at that specific time of life, students are guaranteed to be more cooperative, more mature subjects can be taught, the rules on teaching are less restrictive. Ultimately, these two stages are where the future “happens” and I would like to be a part of that.

After working with ESL students in a high school setting for three months, I am willing to undergo the trials that these settings will present for the purpose of enhancing my own teaching abilities. I understand that there is a large difference between teaching ESL to thirty high school freshman in Louisiana compared to teaching eight or nine adults in Oman. Many of the aspects of the courses would be different. To start, the goals would be different. In my previous three-month experience, my classmates and I mostly taught survival English to novicelow and novice-mid students, enabling them to function more normally in their daily lives and, potentially, picking up information from their subject area classes. To the students in my future, I foresee teaching both survival English and academic English in a more intensive environment.

Teaching these courses would mostly be communicative. Students would further their own learning and understanding with me as a guide to pronunciation and a facilitator to conversation. I believe that a small level of drilling is required to learn a foreign language, but a large amount of practical, daily use is the key to truly learning. Drills are for introduction;

conversations are for practice. Students will worry about a balance of form, meaning grammar and pronunciation and function, meaning fluency. If they do not speak in class or if discourses are too short, consequences, namely, points will be deducted from the students’ participation grades. Should they speak too much and it be full of errors, the same consequences will be delivered. There should be a balance between accuracy and fluency. Activities will center themselves on a balance between grammar and expressing one’s ideas in novel ways either by paraphrasing or by memorizing and internalizing idioms and colloquial language.

When I teach L2 students, I will use one textbook as a source of inspiration and a guide for lesson plans, but, ultimately, the goal will be to stay away from deliberately using the book as much as possible. As an instructor, I want to remain as creative as possible. The temptation of teaching directly from the book will be minimized and the curriculum that the students create, outside of the general syllabus, is the one that will be encouraged. That said, the textbook I would choose is the Northstar book series, especially the one for listening and speaking skills. My syllabus will be designed off of its order and structure. Occasionally, if I run out of ideas or end up underplanning for class, I will borrow activities from it to supplement material and maximize efficiency of instruction time to facilitate learning.

In my classroom, I will facilitate the growth of students’ language egos through public positive feedback and individual negative feedback. Potentially, with smaller class sizes, the ability to work individually with students both inside and outside of class will also direct further growth. Students will rely upon the teacher for the introduction of new materials and concepts while they rely upon each other and, somewhat, the teacher for grasping the application of what they are learning. I want to encourage lots of listening outside of class to many genres, be they spoken word poetry, music, movies, news reports, or simple audiobooks outside of class to further ameliorate the students’ abilities. I would give them examples of things to listen to. Some teachers use “bellringers.” Taking that model, I would put on a live performance, a movie clip, or a scene from a music or play and ask the students to write down phrases that “Stick out,” and explain what they mean. While in class, a student’s native language is only used to translate quick phrases. If extended speech takes place, I will refer them to the expectations and consequences outlined previously within the initial meeting of class.

 

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The Importance of Learning a Second Language in Schools. (2022, Apr 11). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/the-importance-of-learning-a-second-language-in-schools-essay

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