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  1. #1
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    Default English as a second language

    Hello

    In my country, we learn English from junior high school (age 12).
    I think it is too late, in addition, our lesson is mostly grammar and reading, not speaking and listening.
    So the English level in my country is quite low.
    What about your country ?
    When do you begin to learn English as a second language ?
    And how ?

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    silversea's Avatar
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    Default Re: English as a second language

    Quote Originally Posted by sardine
    Hello

    In my country, we learn English from junior high school (age 12).
    I think it is too late, in addition, our lesson is mostly grammar and reading, not speaking and listening.
    So the English level in my country is quite low.
    What about your country ?
    When do you begin to learn English as a second language ?
    And how ?

    Thank you!
    Hi Sardine,
    It is quite similar in my country. Yet we have already started teaching English at elementary schools as we think that the earlier, the better . However, I would say that English is being taught as a foreign language rather than a second language since the learning environment is not supportive and students do not have so many chances to practice the target language

  3. #3
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    Default Re: English as a second language

    In Mexico, English speaking skills are very low country-wide ... even though Mexico is USA's neighbor. Grade-school level students learn simple repetition and substitution drills (This is a pencil. This is a book. Etc.), but don't learn to converse or communicate with any level of notable proficiency. I read recently in Newsweek that 96% of French grade-school students take English electively ... and I recently met some people from Norway that spoke English very well ,,, they told me that English is mandatory from the 3rd grade on.

    Here in Mexico, teaching English, even at higher levels of education (universities, etc.), is normally reserved (protected) for Mexican natives. So, students do not learn proper sounds, accents, stresses, rhythms, or social language (idioms, slang, etc.). They try to remedy this by putting the students into computer labs to listen to programs with native English speakers. That may help a bit ... but a real person is a million times better. In Mexico, jobs (work visas) are not normally given to foreigners where it is determined that Mexican natives have comparable or competitive skill sets. This shouldn't apply to teaching foreign languages in higher education ... but it does (there are some native English speakers teaching ... but not enough to remedy the issues listed above.).

    When I took Spanish classes at the university-level in the USA, all the instructors (at all levels) were natives of Spanish-speaking countries (Mexico, Uruguay, etc.). Quite frankly, I don't think anyone would go to a university in the USA that only employed Americans to teach foreign languages.

    So, I guess various countries have differing approaches to foreign language education, much of which is controlled by politics and not always student's interests nor education at heart.
    Last edited by Central Mexico; 27-Mar-2005 at 09:58.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: English as a second language

    Thank you, Silversea and Central Mexico !

    I think foreign language should be learn by native speakers.
    In my country, ther are a lot of native English teachers but they teach at language school, not public shcool.
    So students learn English grammar and reading by Japanese.
    It is ineffective, isn't it ?
    How about your country, Silversea ?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: English as a second language

    This goes the same way in my country. Now that i can manage quite well with grammar and structures, but listening is somewhat troublesome. Today i've got my worst listening score of all times with 27 over 50. I just can brook this no more. Things should be done right away to inprove my listening skill. Can you show me the way plz?

  6. #6
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: English as a second language

    Other than listening exercises, how much listening, and what, do you do?

  7. #7
    Steven D's Avatar
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    Default Re: English as a second language

    Quote Originally Posted by Central Mexico
    In Mexico, English speaking skills are very low country-wide ... even though Mexico is USA's neighbor. Grade-school level students learn simple repetition and substitution drills (This is a pencil. This is a book. Etc.), but don't learn to converse or communicate with any level of notable proficiency. I read recently in Newsweek that 96% of French grade-school students take English electively ... and I recently met some people from Norway that spoke English very well ,,, they told me that English is mandatory from the 3rd grade on.

    Here in Mexico, teaching English, even at higher levels of education (universities, etc.), is normally reserved (protected) for Mexican natives. So, students do not learn proper sounds, accents, stresses, rhythms, or social language (idioms, slang, etc.). They try to remedy this by putting the students into computer labs to listen to programs with native English speakers. That may help a bit ... but a real person is a million times better. In Mexico, jobs (work visas) are not normally given to foreigners where it is determined that Mexican natives have comparable or competitive skill sets. This shouldn't apply to teaching foreign languages in higher education ... but it does (there are some native English speakers teaching ... but not enough to remedy the issues listed above.).

    When I took Spanish classes at the university-level in the USA, all the instructors (at all levels) were natives of Spanish-speaking countries (Mexico, Uruguay, etc.). Quite frankly, I don't think anyone would go to a university in the USA that only employed Americans to teach foreign languages.

    So, I guess various countries have differing approaches to foreign language education, much of which is controlled by politics and not always student's interests nor education at heart.
    I would like to continue studying Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese. I would always expect to study with a native speaker of one of those languages.

    On the other hand, I know of an Iranian who speaks English so good you would think it's his first language if you ever heard him. I'll bet he teaches English a lot better than many native speakers of English. In fact, the last I heard he was teaching writing to native speakers of English. One never can tell.

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    Default Re: English as a second language

    Quote Originally Posted by X Mode
    I would like to continue studying Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese. I would always expect to study with a native speaker of one of those languages.

    On the other hand, I know of an Iranian who speaks English so good you would think it's his first language if you ever heard him. I'll bet he teaches English a lot better than many native speakers of English. In fact, the last I heard he was teaching writing to native speakers of English. One never can tell.
    Me too! I prefer to "Go Native."

    I once knew a young woman from South America that prided herself on being a better speaker of English than most native speakers. She did have astounding command of grammar beyond everyday people's abilities .... but she still had an accent and her social language wasn't really very expansive (idioms, slang, how we talk normally, etc.). I want a native speaker as a teacher to not only learn grammar, but to also answer and model my questions about ever changing social/informal customs and language usage. Of course, anyone from any ethnic background (Iranian, Indian, etc.) that was primarly schooled and raised in an English-speaking country is considered a native speaker equivalent in my book, regardless of their birth soil. The CNN International commentators are proof of this.

  9. #9
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: English as a second language

    You do come across people, possibly like your South American woman, who have learned the language too well- their perfection sounds a little unnatural. I know a Finnish teacher of English whose speech tends to have so many idioms it sounds unnatural and cumbersome.

  10. #10
    Steven D's Avatar
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    Default Re: English as a second language

    Quote Originally Posted by Central Mexico
    Me too! I prefer to "Go Native."

    I once knew a young woman from South America that prided herself on being a better speaker of English than most native speakers. She did have astounding command of grammar beyond everyday people's abilities .... but she still had an accent and her social language wasn't really very expansive (idioms, slang, how we talk normally, etc.). I want a native speaker as a teacher to not only learn grammar, but to also answer and model my questions about ever changing social/informal customs and language usage. Of course, anyone from any ethnic background (Iranian, Indian, etc.) that was primarly schooled and raised in an English-speaking country is considered a native speaker equivalent in my book, regardless of their birth soil. The CNN International commentators are proof of this.

    Grammatical correctness is important, but it's not the only thing that matters when it comes to learning language. Teaching a language is very specialized. In my opinion, one must have some sort of natural ability, and one must learn on one's own how to do it to some extent. Otherwise, it just might turn out to be going from chapter to chapter. I've seen it, and I've heard of it.

    I can tell by your viewpoint that you're on the right path. Keep on going.


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