We find it hard to believe that some ESL students wanting to learn English have issues with not wanting to speak in a classroom with other students present for the same purpose. If you are coming from a shy spoken Asian culture, you can afford to become outspoken or go outside of your comfort zone in order to become effective with English.
English is in no way a shyly spoken language. English is about using many directions to send the same message. There are no limits when speaking English amongst friends. After that you may want to filter your usage or go about the message in a different way that is less direct or more mannered.
Most American English conversations are filled with idioms, antidotes, metaphors, sarcasm and yet can be very direct all in the same breath. Americans love this type of innuendo shtick! It’s our litmus test of sorts. The test is this can you follow or maybe lead an important conversation. Sometimes deal or no deal.
The Brits can be just as sharp tonged as Americans, but disguise it best with their exclusive form of fouter. Remember the Brits started English, but it’s who sends the precise message with the bigger stick on the table that is communicating the most effectively.
So why not jump into English? Set your goal to lead English conversations instead of just following conversations. Learn with understanding why it is the largest and fastest growing language in the world. I would say that the future is in knowing at least two languages and English proficiency being the most important in one’s future. There is nothing more impressive than going to another country and having full understanding of its language, it tells you everything about a culture’s goals, values, and future.
Please give us your opinions, thoughts and feedback, so everyone can benefit. If you are from a “Shy Culture” here’s your chance to shatter the mold!
All are good points and I especially like the parts about interaction with students outside of the classroom. Making English learners feel appreciated and welcome is very important.
Part of the training of TESOL certification is role reversal. I still remember my instructor coming into our training room and speaking a foreign language. Our role as students, had to figure out what he was saying and expressing with his actions. I was so difficult and a made for helpless feelings. The message he was trying to convey was not complicated and at the starting level of Thai. It served as a great lesson about what an undertaking any new language is to learn. My point is that I never forgot that lesson when I am in the classroom and I never forget about what students are or might be feeling when I am guiding them through all levels of English comprehension.
The decision for student wanting to begin or advance their English skills is an important one. It can be costly and takes time away from their otherwise normal lives. They want success and more importantly they want to feel that they can come away from an English course having gained a level or two given the amount of time they can afford to allocate to it.
I think that students are able to help an instructor understand what will help individuals and groups of students. Many times conversations outside of the classroom gives more detail about the students interest, purpose for English and the importance with concern to English competency. Finding common ground and interest with students opens doors to interesting conversations in the future.
If students feel their instructor is approachable, then they can express themselves and trust he or she will make an attempt to correct the common mistakes in the classroom. When students feel that the ESL course is about their goals and not just a program that moves forward without them, the shyness should dissipate.
I agree with the direction of this blog. When you go to Rome do as the Romans. It’s important to take full advantage of things you decide to conquer. Cultural differences can cause cultural restrictions when learning English. An open mind and a dedicated student, coupled with a classroom of the students alike will get quite students more involved and more verbal in short order. It true that as an instructor you have to adjust you tempo at times. Good teachers will listen for crickets or recognize the lost stare of students struggling in class.
I like to review and overlap the issues that I know students are not understanding. Going at a difficult lesson from a different direction can help to bring students around to an understanding. Once you leave an area of a lesson grey, it will haunt the student and classroom going forward.