Difficulties and challenges in teaching English as the second language

Published: 04th May 2009
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These days, there is no doubting the fact that the English language is becoming something of a forerunner in global communication. It is the language of choice in most countries of the word. Almost 70% of the Internet is in English. A good volume of the services rendered through the Internet is also in English. Thus, English is playing a very significant role in bringing the world together. Therefore, many people are involved in the job of teaching English to people of foreign origin. In spite of the heightened interest in the English language, teachers often face various difficulties and challenges while teaching English as a foreign language. There are many reasons for this. Let us look at some of the most important reasons.

Attitude: Many people around the world are overawed by English and English-speaking people. A part of the reason is historical, when natives were expected to look up to their British conquerors with fear and respect. The subsequent development and prosperity enjoyed by the Western world placed the English speaking people, their countries and cultures on a high pedestal. As a result, many natives have an innate and unexplained fear of the English language, which makes them shy of handling the language.

Pronunciation: One of the biggest difficulties a teacher faces when teaching English as a second language is to inculcate proper pronunciation in native speakers. The English language has a number of characteristic features which most foreign speakers do not imbibe readily. That is the reason why different regions have their own English accents. So if English is spoken in 50 different regions, it is likely that it is spoken in 50 different ways. This also explains why many students have great difficulty in understanding native English. Thus, there is a very clear gap to be bridged between the teacher and their students before actual communication and education starts.

Grammar: The fact that English grammar has its own set of complicated rules and regulations makes it a tough language to conquer. A good number of students struggle with these rules, and cannot really understand many of the principles on first or second reading. To make matters worse, English itself is of different varieties. Therefore, students may find the Queen's English quite different from American English.

These exacting and tricky challenges make it necessary for any teacher of English to have a formal training in teaching practices and methods. It is not enough to have sufficient skills in listening and understanding the language. Even a native speaker of the English language requires a methodical and intensive training program to qualify as a good teacher of English as a foreign language. Many of the skills like understanding specific problems related to particular regions and building basic communication skills in students etc can only be acquired through a formal learning of the same. A commonsensical approach would be of no help here. Teachers have to be prepared for the most bizarre mistakes, and need to know how to handle these delicate situations with aplomb. That is why it is important to undergo formal training in teaching English before you actually begin the process of teaching English as a foreign language.

International TESOL Teacher Training offer the widest range of TESOL training programs for teaching english as a foreign language.

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