TEFL Washington New Hampshire

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Mexicans who wish to learn english generally have problems that fall under two headings. That is, the problems faced by any spanish speaker learning english and the problems of learning english in mexico. Typically, spanish speakers will have trouble with false cognates, pronunciation, adjectives vs. adverbs, and omitting the subject. The problems they face learning english in mexico revolve around the exclusive use of American english, the lack of native speaking teachers, the lack of availability of english conversation outside school and sometimes financial troubles. spanish speakers will often have trouble with false cognates when learning english. Because there are many words in spanish that are similar to english words, students will often assume that they mean the same thing but this is not always the case. For example, embarazada is very similar to embarrassed but it means ‘pregnant'. spanish speakers also tend to have trouble with certain pronunciations. Since ‘h' is always a silent letter in spanish, they will often drop it when speaking, especially when pronouncing the ‘th' sound. I know from personal experience that spanish speakers will turn ‘think' into ‘tink' and ‘thought' into ‘tought' quite regularly. spanish speakers will often place adjectives in the wrong part of a sentence and use adjectives where they should use adverbs. In spanish, adjectives are placed after a noun in a sentence, as oppose to before the noun in an english sentence. This means that spanish speakers will often place adjectives in the wrong part of the sentence. Similarly, many adjectives in spanish can be applied to verbs and nouns without changing, they use many less adverbs than in english. This can lead to spanish speakers using verbs where they should use an adverb. spanish speakers will not always include a subject in their english sentences. When speaking spanish it is not always necessary for a subject to be included in the sentence, it can be made clear by conjugation. Students will often say ‘Is important to talk to the teacher' whereas they should say ‘It is important to talk to the teacher'. The tendency to omit the subject from a sentence is something an english teacher should be aware of when teaching spanish speakers. In mexico, english students are often only subjected to American english and this can detriment their learning by limiting their exposure to alternate spelling and accents. Most Mexicans are taught American english when they attend school. They are rarely exposed to the British spelling methods and hardly ever hear non-American accents when learning. This is something a non-American english teacher should be aware of when teaching in mexico. Despite mexico's proximity to the united states, most english classes are not taught by native speakers. They are usually taught by Mexicans who have learnt english as a second foreign or second language themselves. Because of this the lesson structure can be very rigid and the conversation abilities of the teacher limited. Except in the northern part of the country, opportunities to speak english outside the classroom are very limited for english students. Given that it is a spanish speaking nation and much of the population is very poor and uneducated, students may have difficulty finding people to practice their english with. With the advent of the internet, this has become less of a problem provided students have access to a connected computer. This still requires the student to seek out english speaking opportunities, rather than having them forced on them as in an english speaking country. Lastly, as english courses in mexico can be rather expensive , students may not be able to further their education in english at the pace that would be optimal for learning. There may be long breaks between courses and much of the english already learnt could be forgotten. An english teacher needs to keep this in mind when planning their lessons and be sure to include revision at the beginning of any course with new students. Learning english in mexico can be doubly difficult. Because, not only are you learning english from a spanish speaking view point, you are learning it in a non-english, developing nation. Whether it is language issues like pronunciation, adjectives vs. adverbs, or omitting the subject learning english from spanish is hard. The lack of native speaking teachers and the lack of availability of english conversation outside school combined with being taught American english only can hamper a student's grasp of true english which will only be compounded by financial troubles.

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