Simple English Language Teaching Truths

We sometimes get so caught up in the details of English language teaching or in searching for the latest and most creative activity idea that we forget some basic truths that affect what we do in the classroom every day.

English Language Learners come from a wide variety of backgrounds - Students' backgrounds can have a significant impact on how they perform in the classroom. Information about their backgrounds may not be immediately obvious. Some students may have many years of language learning under their belts, while other students may have very little language learning experience. And still other students may have been out of the classroom for a long time. These past experiences and backgrounds affect the beliefs and expectations that students bring to the classroom. Take the time to learn about your students' backgrounds to make sure you can tap into their perspectives on language learning.

A student's first language greatly impacts their ease of learning their next language - English is much easier for students who come from languages that are linguistically similar to English. This includes languages that are similar to English in terms of their grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. It also includes languages that use the same writing system. The further a language is away from another language, the more learning challenges it presents. Learn to recognize the barriers that first language can present to students.

All students need an opportunity to speak - Some students come from learning cultures where written work is emphasized while others come from a highly verbal education style. While almost all classes will require students to submit written work, it is a lot easier for students to avoid speaking in class if they don't want to since classroom speaking is often on a voluntary basis. For the optimal advancement of your students, it is necessary that they participate in all aspects of the English language, so don't let them skip out!

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