Thursday, April 10, 2008

English Only in the Classroom: A Good Idea?

Whether you are studying English in your home country or overseas with a mix of students from many countries, a common concern is how to improve students' speaking skills and student relations under such situations. Personally, you can have students from one particular group learn English just fine if they are motivated and disciplined to use English only; a mix of different nationalities is not needed. However, what I often see as a teacher in the US is that certain students speak their language amongst themselves, and this can alienate students from other countries. Furthermore, these students tend to hang out together after class and don't use English except to order an occasional cheeseburger from McDonalds.

So, is having an English-Only policy in class a good idea? How can teachers help students improve their English under similar situations?

Randall

8 comments:

  1. If learners do not know how they can speak, they will not talk very well.So, it is better to teach students how they can be a better speaker in English Language.For example, practicing English dialogues or giving lectures about a specific topic is more helpful than "the English is Only policy" in the class.For instance, I really want to talk about politic,but my classmates might not be interested in this subject or might not have any information about the politic. Therefore, I can not speak with them .Even if I talk with my classmates, they do not know how to speak English in a proper grammar structure.So, it does not help me to learn how to talk in English. That is why I found this blog to practice English dialogues.Sometimes, I read about a subject and try to talk about it.One of my English teachers told me that she talked Spanish language with her cat to learn Spanish.These things help me much more than talking with my classmates to learn how to speak a foeign language.If you want to drink some water, you should first pour some water in a glass.An empty glass will not give you some water.

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  2. This is one difficulty I face teaching in a high school in China. Trying to get students to use English at all is a big challenge but recently I've been making some progress by having them speak with a partner, using English only, for just two minutes. Then they switch partners and speak for two more minutes on the same topic. They find it much easier the second time which shows quite dramatically that practice does, in fact, make perfect.

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  3. I have the quite same experience at ESL school in the U.S. Of course I think we should speak English all the time at class. The teacher always said "Speak English! Speak English!!" even if it was break. Students who are from the same countries tend to get together but if you do that, you cannot make friends from other countries and practice English with them. Besides it's impolite to the other students. They have no idea what you are saying. Now I take my kids to English school in my home country, but I don't like people there don't try to speak English each other outside classroom even though they are still at English school because we don't have any oppotunities to speak English outside school. Students should know that studying in English area is such precious experience.

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  4. I'm with you when you say that an English-only policy will probably help ( or kind of force) them to use English not only in class but also try to communicate in the language outside the classroom walls. Sometimes students should be under certain circumstances to realise that by adopting some peculiar attitudes towards their learning might either help or ruin their learning process of the language.

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  5. I think English only in the classroom is good idea because I think it is probably help to learning english fast.

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  6. I think English only in the classroom is a very good idea, because it will help to learning english faster..

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  7. No, it's not good idea.
    'Cause our English isn't pratics enough.

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Thanks for posting a comment. I appreciate your interesting in sharing your ideas.

Best,

Randall