English as a Second Language
Hello again dear readers!
We thought we would give you a bit of info about who our ESL students are and why they study English in order to give you a bit of insight into what they need and expect from their teachers. That is in no small part what we teach here when we train TEFL teachers.
So welcome to our latest English publication. You will have noticed that in this blog we also post articles of interest in Spanish for our students and prospective students. So it probably goes without saying that if you are reading this English content, you are likely to be a native or fluent English speaker. But many of our students are not as lucky and are learning English as a second language.
This is no easy feat. However it is becoming increasingly necessary in the world of today.
As a result, the demand for English teachers abroad grows each year and Spain is no exception. Whether it’s to boost their CV, to travel, to secure a specific job or enrol in a university degree, or even just to keep up with the language out of keen interest, our local students come to us for English classes of all levels.
Why is English so popular? A number of factors contribute:
Most employers require a basic level of English to communicate with clients. Some universities require a certain level for enrolment in their courses, for example masters degrees. If people are travelling abroad and don´t speak the language, they can usually rely on English as a common language to be understood. It is the internationally accepted language of commerce, politics (especially since Esperanto is less and less used nowadays), the media, even social media, sport and many other fields… English is in the top three most spoken languages in the world along with Chinese and Spanish, depending on whether you are looking at number of countries where it is the official language or number of people who speak it.
Unfortunately, it´s not such an easy language to learn. For starters, the pronunciation is not always intuitive. The grammatical rules are a mish-mash of different structures and exceptions and they have borrowed vocabulary from many languages over the lengthy evolution of the language.
The people who speak similar languages such as German or Dutch tend to find it easier. However Spanish and French or other Latin language speakers struggle more with the vocabulary and the grammar. Speakers of Asian languages often have difficulty with the pronunciation, not to mention the fact that they don´t use the same alphabet.
As teachers, we know that every student is different, but it´s helpful to know the common errors and difficulties of your student based on their first language. It´s also important to acknowledge the reason the student is learning English as a second language in order to best focus their learning objectives and expectations.
Of course it´s incredibly difficult when learning English as a second language to become a completely fluent speaker, much less to speak like a native, especially if you are learning as an adult. But this should not be the main aim. The key is communication. And after all, if we all spoke just one language and sounded exactly the same, the world would be a very boring place!