Language Experience

1. Write about your past formal or informal language learning experiences. Would you consider them effective or ineffective? Learning foreign languages is a real challenge to everyone and a lot of people have their own successful and unsuccessful experiences. As for me, I’d like to tell about a negative one because, unfortunately, I had it more than positive. I’ve been learning English since I was 10 years old. At first, it was at school. Those lessons left much to be desired. We had a middle-aged teacher who used to have favourite students and showed her attitude, inhibitions cast aside.

We didn’t have speaking tasks at all. She gave us different texts and we read, translated and learnt them by heart. Sometimes we even didn’t understand what we were speaking about which made it more difficult to answer. She didn’t use any communicative approaches. What is more, we weren’t interested and motivated. At the age of 15 I nearly decided to give up learning it. Needless to say, it was a real shock to everyone when I announced my decision to enter Pedagogical University, the department of foreign languages.

I was sure that I would learn it there. I had a private teacher to prepare for entrance exams. At that time I thought she gave me a lot knowledge, but being a teacher now I can judge those lessons as a waste of time and money. Frankly speaking, it was self-studying. I was given 5 unites of grammar to do at home. Nobody explained any rules to me and we just checked exercises. Fortunately, at university I had a lot of different teachers. Some of them tried to use communicative tasks, such as role plays.

But it was still academic studying. Teachers didn’t need to motivate us as we all wanted to pass exams and get a diploma. However ridiculous it may seem, I learnt English at work, being teacher is the best way to study. If I need to know something, I try to teach my students and after preparations for lessons and loads of explanations to them I get to know a lot. So joining TESOL course is another opportunity to learn the language and ways of teaching . 2. Why do you think the CLT has gained popularity in the language classroom?

Our understanding of the processes of second language learning has changed considerably in the last 30 years and CLT is partly a response to these changes in understanding. Earlier views of language learning focused primary on the mastery of grammatical competence. Language learning was viewed as a process of mechanical formation. Good habits are formed by having students produce correct sentences. Errors were to be avoided through controlled opportunities for production. In recent years language learning has been viewed from a very different perspective.

Communicative teaching emphasis on “task-oriented, student-centered” language teaching practice, asked to show the life of the actual needs of the English language to simulate a variety of life contexts, emotional, and to provide students with comprehensive use of English language, for communication of opportunities, its focus is not only a language in the form, grammatical accuracy, more emphasis on the appropriateness of language use, feasibility, communication skills, as well as training students in communicative activities in the strain and problem-solving ability.

There are advantages and disadvantages of this approach. The pros are: – Language is acquired through communication – CLT allows learners to use the target language in meaningful context – CLT can be adapted to any level The cons are: -Student may not see the value in learning English through group work, games, and activities. – CLT does

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not focus on error correction. – Students don’t feel challenged Taking everything into consideration, I should say that the good thing about the communicative approach is that it makes students speak the language even at a beginner level and they are usually enthusiastic about this. . How would you approach a class with true and false beginners? I got used to having mixed-ability classes and the mixture of false beginners (they have had some English training at some point in the past) and true beginners ( these are learners who have had no contact with English at all) is a common situation. I consider such classes a real advantage as it helps to avoid boring lessons and I always have some students to rely on.

I try to pair a true beginner with a false one while doing some activities and it helps to create an interaction between students which means a student-centred style of teaching. There are some drawbacks, of course. The false ones are faster to do exercises so I need to provide them with extra work which means more careful preparation for the lesson. Another problem is a demotivation of both kinds of students. There are some classroom management techniques which can help to avoid it. I should say it is a widely-spread situation but it can be successfully solved by using different methods of teaching.

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