People spend their lives wondering if they should learn another language. The answer is obvious to anyone in the tesol
field. Any amount of foreign language experience will be invaluable to both the teacher
and students. The teacher
must allow the experience to help enrich the classroom to make learning something enjoyable rather than something that's required.
If the teacher
has foreign language experience, it reinforces the teacher
's understanding of the english
language. When I was studying japanese
, for example, I learned of the gerund—what it was and how to form it. A few years later, I encountered the gerund in my english
class for the first time. While my classmates struggled to understand what a gerund was, I already had a good understanding of it. Had I not studied a foreign language, I would have felt as lost as the other students.
s with a background in a foreign language should allow their experience to help them develop their view of english
. This helps the teacher
to see that english
isn't just the language that they speak on a daily basis, but a language made up of many complex parts. Only then can a teacher
come to fully appreciate the language with its many quirks and difficulties.
must see the language through the perspective of a language learner. This viewpoint is another benefit of foreign language experience. This course has shown me that teacher
s have a lot of barriers to overcome in a classroom—at home or abroad—and it will be up to the teacher
to take the first step. Barriers like culture, age, and language will be the most difficult, and they will stand in the way of establishing a rapport with the student. Whether the teacher
and students can find common ground with one another can affect successive classes and the overall learning experience. If the teacher
can relate to the students in a way that shows that they are both learners, some of these barriers can be removed.
in the role of a learner can more easily understand the difficulties of learning certain language points because the teacher
has probably had that same difficulty. The teacher
can understand why reading and writing is easier to master than speaking and listening. The teacher
can share the students' burdens and difficulties and overcome them together.
In learning a foreign language, a teacher
is sure to have come across numerous games and activities. These can easily be adapted for english
language learning and tailored to fit both the needs of the group and the individual student. teacher
s are constantly in need of a variety of activities to maintain student interest. Here, the foreign language experience becomes vital to helping students stay motivated learners.
A background in foreign language can help the teacher
if the teacher
can speak the students' native tongue. Although it is largely frowned upon, the teacher
can communicate with the students. The teacher
must be very careful not to overuse the language. Imagine walking into a classroom on the first day and speaking to a class of blank faces. What if no one speaks or understands english
? Knowledge of the students' first language will undoubtedly be helpful especially to beginner students who will need gentle guidance and encouragement. Using the students' native tongue can be a way to ease the students into learning the english
language. When I was studying spanish
in high school, the teacher
spoke to us in english
, using our native language to help us learn a new language.
Another major benefit to knowing a foreign language is that it makes the teacher
look more ideal to prospective employers. I've looked at several ads that wanted a teacher
and many of them wanted the teacher
to have some knowledge of a foreign language. This is ideal if the teacher
does not have a Master's degree
or a background in education or linguistics.
Foreign language experience is valuable for any teacher
with benefits that not only aid the teacher
but the students as well. If a teacher
can put that experience to use, the outcomes are endless.