Teaching English language to adults: the key aspects
PhD in Pedagogic, associate professor
Togliatti State University
English is the language of international communication. This is especially true today for the business. If business partners - representatives of foreign countries, to build a business in accordance with international standards, if there is a purpose to promote their products in the international market, the need for strong knowledge of the English language, especially business English, becomes apparent. Free communication, excellent pronunciation and speech understanding underlines the high level of the company and its employees, being somewhat competitive advantage in the face of foreign contractors.
Keywords: Adult learning, pedagogy, educational techniques, personal training, corporate training, staff development, teaching English, foreign language, teaching adults, educational institutions, communication
Английский язык де-факто является языком международного общения. Это особенно характерно сегодня для сферы бизнеса. Если деловые партнеры - представители зарубежных стран, бизнес выстраивать в соответствии с мировыми стандартами, если существует цель продвигать свою продукцию на международном рынке, то необходимость уверенного знания английского языка, особенно делового английского, становится очевидной. Свободная коммуникация, отличное произношение и понимание речи своего партнера подчеркивает высокий уровень компании и ее сотрудников, являясь в некоторой степени конкурентным преимуществом компании перед лицом зарубежных контрагентов.
Ключевые слова: Обучение взрослых, педагогика, методы обучения, обучение персонала, корпоративное обучение, повышение квалификации, преподавание английского языка, иностранные языки, обучение взрослых, образовательные учреждения, новые технологии в обучении, коммуникация
Learning English is a great and difficult task for most adults. Even a man, who achieved excellent results in other fields, can completely lose faith in his abilities to master a foreign language after about 10 years of school, college and language courses. You can also add tutorials, textbooks, grammars and other teaching aids, independent study which is also not yielded practical benefits.
The average adult still not surrendered and continues to want to learn English has an inferiority complex with respect to this subject. No wonder! If after all these years you can not even say a simple phrase that you understand the foreigners who are not able to hear and understand what they are saying in response, not to mention an understanding of radio and television programs and movies in English.
What does this mean? Time has shown almost complete lack of tangible results in this direction. Moreover, acquired an inferiority complex coupled with scholastic knowledge and lame on both feet skills oral and written language further complicates the process of learning English. Build is simplier than rebuilding.
A further feature of the approach to teaching adults follows from the previous one. Having lost the ability to imitate correctly the adult can begin to use new knowledge, only being a hundred percent sure that he does not make mistakes - correctly pronounce English sounds correctly uses the word in the phrases correctly intones his speech, knows well the meaning of words, spoken and understood correctly written speech of others. In case of doubt about the correctness - adult is lost and does not know what to do. There is a stop of the process, which is approved by the subconscious mind. An adult cannot, in terms of one’s brain, to speak or understand incorrectly. Better than nothing at all to understand and to speak.
How can an adult learn English? Perhaps it is not necessary to continue even to try it to make?
Let's try to understand. Having lost the ability to imitate, in exchange an adult acquires the ability to analyze and organize information. However, English language is not a system of knowledge, but the system of language skills, and the formation of these skills need to start relying on the ability of an adult. Language should be given all at once, with the lowest short term; the student appeared to have a system of language as a whole in the head.
Then there is the fear of the inability to know the open system. And then you can begin to improve individual skills. "Feeding the whole language" refers to the work of not adapted tutorial, or goes to authentic material in the shortest possible time. It is good base to train the sounds, intonation, and to be familiar with the vocabulary and grammatical structures.
When you dial a certain critical mass it is already possible to generalize the knowledge of basic grammar, and enter the peripheral design as you work with the material. Detailed approach is important in the formation of any language skills.
In setting up the phonetics of speech is better decomposed into phonemes and to give adults the opportunity to hear the teacher says, and several thousand phrases. These phrases are on different topics and can be chosen according to the student's communicative goals - business, conversational (everyday), and special.
Repeating should be at a slow pace, explaining the process of repetition, which position the articulation organs of speech take to pronounce a particular sound, correcting all the inaccuracies. Repeating with a different intonation should be loud and high-quality, gradually increasing the tempo. For a single sentence is enough to repeat the 3-4 times after the teacher.
The next stage of the work with the phrases is to understand them, and read them clearly while writing down. The teacher should make out with the student the obscure meaning of each phrase. Further, student himself pronounces sentence by sentence and writes down, dictating its spell, having full understanding of what it means.
Next, using the same phrase material and diluting it with the necessary structures and words, speech utterances are constructed in the form of monologue and dialogue, orally and in writing, based on a training situation. First, with the teacher in the future - on their own.
In the process the teacher corrects all errors, ensuring absolute literacy. At this stage, the student must do the job correctly. Further work on improving skills is cyclically on the training material that best correlates with the goals of the student (business, home, special). These cycles can last indefinitely, at this stage; the adult is able to improve his skills by himself.
But the self-improvement can be done only after the correct pronunciation and mastery of basic grammatical logic of the language. And it can only be done successfully with a tutor on an individual basis or mini-lessons group. No phonetic exercise equipment, audio or video courses, tutorials will be unable to correct the educational process. They will not hear your mistakes and not be able to find a way to address them. Student himself is not able to do it too. Any other format classes, except the individual will inevitably lengthen the time taken to achieve these goals.
In summary, it can be argued that any adult can learn a language with a proper understanding of their specific perceptions, ways of consolidating and reproducing the material in the learning process.
There is a great variety of places and ways to learn English today. Sometimes there are new ways of studying the language, which, however, on closer inspection turn out to be variations on old themes. By and large there are two main methods of learning - classical and communicative. No matter how attractive and fascinating sounds phrase "communicative approach", though most often, teachers do not miss a moment, not to add anything to this system from the classical course. Namely - the grammatical terms and rules.
Practice shows that 100% of the trainees ever foreign language is only a small part of the most persistent, and those who need it knows and can use what is studied. In other words, only a small fraction can speak English. I would not want to give a complete list of obstacles and difficulties encountered in the process of learning English or any other foreign language. It is hardly possible to compile a complete list - we are all different, each has its own problems. I propose to draw attention to the following: how well a person (not possessing the professional philological and linguistic education) are familiar grammatical terms and grammar of their native language?
The question is not rhetorical, since the failure in the study of foreign and uncertainty in the knowledge of the grammar of the native language are closely intertwined. In most cases, is this: people come to the English course, and literally from the first lessons they begin with the rules of grammar and at the same time the teacher did not bother to explain grammatical terms to all those whom he undertook to teach. But why? For all studied grammar of the native language in school, so "everyone knows everything," and can restrict the translation of terms from English into your own! Here the root of the problem is.
The grammar of the native language we have mastered in childhood and naturally assimilated. In the process of communication, we intuitively understand the structure of language, rules for constructing sentences and correct sentences. Years later we begin to study grammar as a science in school. We already know how to use the language, and learn all the wisdom to understand the intricacies. Or just cramming rule, "because we must know." But when we speak the native language, then continue to start from practical skills, and sometimes adjust them in accordance with the theory - the grammar of the language. Before to build a phrase we have never pondered over what part of speech will be used in a sentence, in what places and in what forms they will be in accordance with the rules of grammar.
But not even the point. The bottom line is that if a person does not remember the exact rules, he can still talk - he has an extensive practice. He can not know for sure, in accordance with what the rule say it is, but knows that the phrase should be built this way.
I propose to recall what happens in the English classroom. You come to class and write a new rule book. Almost all of the terms you may know from the lessons of the native language. But you re-read the rules again and again and ... you want to give up. And all because you just know is bad terminology - words that describe the rule. For example: "in English reflexive pronouns agree with the subject in person, number and gender." All the words you have heard many times and even once uttered. But clearly if you understand now what is at stake? Re-read the rule again. And more. Read carefully. Is it becoming clearer? You can already lead a couple of examples to understand what it is? How do you feel? (If you feel worse, just take a good dictionary or grammar book and understand the meaning of every word in this rule.)
Most likely, after the rules you are waiting for further explanation, examples from the teacher. According to the examples, you know from your childhood - intuitively - learn the rules of use of the most reflexive pronouns, and the rule itself is left in the notebook or textbook. A worse case scenario - you memorize a rule, but will be unable to use it. The worst - decide that English is not your teeth. But look what happened - the point is only that you have until the end is not well understood and learned the grammar of the native language!
What is a "pronoun"? Which of these we call "reflexive"? As soon as you refresh these concepts in your memory, you can use this rule. Until then, you will think that the English - an incredibly complex language. Although, as you well know, and the whole world believes it is extremely difficult Russian.
How to win? Learn to speak and think in English simultaneously. It is possible. So as you learn the native language in childhood.
I believe that everyone remembers himself at the age of 6-7 years. This is roughly the age at which children are already in school. Usually by this time people realize that they are children of their parents, close contact with relatives and friends. How many different topics are for discussion! Now tell honestly, can you at the age of six or seven years talk with different people on different topics? This is not a rhetorical question. Respond to it, even mentally.
Second question: How much time do you spend on the study of grammar of the native language at this point? Not at all! But the vast majority denies that it is possible to know the language, not knowing the grammar. How does this happen? Is Russian - a special language, in which there is no grammar or you can learn without having to learn it?
An interesting situation, is not it? With this example we would like to show how much we sometimes stick other people's ideas and become "our" only because we are too trust "authoritative source" from which we hear them. While we are still small - the source - adults who surround us. Certainly, we entrust to them. After all, they taught us how to live in this world - words, by their own example. At older ages - they are our teachers, professors, luminaries of science and simply people with special education, in this case - philologists and linguists, for example.
In fact, it would be very strange to see such a picture, just imagine: you are two years. After four years you should know the language well enough (because you have to go to school - to pass tests in reading, speak about yourself, family, hobbies, friends, read a poem at last) - it's time to begin to master the language.
And your mom takes you into her arms, sits at a table (or just sits side by side), lack grammar and says, "Well, honey, yesterday we learned with you, what is a noun, but today we know what is an adjective. By the way, do you remember what the word "noun" means? Can you define this word?" If language learning is going on in this way, you probably would never have mastered the native language. It's too complicated way.
How do you actually study the language? You learn to speak correctly in a very natural way: picking up a few words, and then building them into short and then in increasingly long sentences. And the rules of grammar (theory of language), you have to learn much later, while studying at school. Do you agree that your situation has developed that way?
Obviously, grammar is not so important at first. Of course, everything depends on perspective. But it is more important to depend on something, which gives the result. How do we learn foreign languages? Often begin with grammar. And the result? Do you have a complete record book, you're not too sure about all the grammar rules you learned and you cannot talk about what you want. Just to talk.
Sometimes a man gets on the road, having a good goal, but experiencing the difficulties of travel, loses the sight of this goal. Because the target becomes unattainable. Then he goes out of its way to relax, recalls or restores its goal and returns to the road to it. Gone from the target, or obstacle, or ignorance of the purpose. And if the goals you did not have originally or it was too small, it is not surprising that you are not able to overcome the way. But more often the problem is in the obstacles. The obstacles that we do not always recognize or even those which insist on the presence (because we are convinced that without overcoming victory does not happen).
What are we being taught usually when we come to the English courses? Alphabets, the first few words and begin to study English grammar. First, simple rules, then more and more complex, and only a table of irregular verbs. Still there is a problem to solve about cramming words. The most popular methods are the two-sided cards, and drawing large posters with lists of words, and hanging out with the words tabs on things, and computer simulators ... Sometimes it goes to such torment not months - years. The result? The aim has still not achieved.
How one can get rid of “the dumb English”? Learning English as a native language. No, you should not stop everything and go abroad to live "in the language environment." Unfortunately, the experience of our countrymen, relying on this method of learning the language, suggests that this route does not productively standard of education. However, there are courses, training method which is as close to how we learned the native language.
We began to talk native language at once. The same with English – you should begin to say your first words and phrases from the first class. The difference is only in the speed of learning of the native and foreign. And also the fact that as an adult, other than having a need for an oral expression of thoughts and in their written statement, you practice and in the letter. So, you speak in English with the first lesson. But what about the grammar, we were told to study primarily in various educational institutions?
Not many people will present quite a satisfactory explanation; few will give it quickly, without any hitches. However, there is a very short, practical and understandable definition of grammar - it is a way to connect the words with which the thoughts and ideas can be transferred from one person to another. We are not talking about parts of the sentence and their place in it. After all, such a "natural grammar" (just pass the thought, the idea), you have learned from the childhood, have not you? First, we have mastered the short phrases, and then they are all overgrown with great detail. It was like a snowball, it was something like this:
A bird flies.
A bird flies across the sky.
A bird with chicks flies across the sky.
And if we were wrong as a child, building a phrase, we were simply corrected, having been helped to express our thoughts. But no one began to explain us anything about predicates and objects and their role and place in sentences! And this method of teaching has always worked; we all started talking to 6-7 years! What prevents to use a similar way in learning English?
Communication – that is life. Communicate in Russian and communicate in English, and expand the circle of friends, live life to the fullest!
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