Guidelines to Teach English

Topics: English language, Foreign language, Language education Pages: 6 (1899 words) Published: September 12, 2013
Some Guidelines to Teach English


English is currently the most popular “second language” in the world. Its unquestioned position as the lingua franca of international business, media, science, education, and politics has spurred millions of people across the globe to learn this once marginal language. The resultant worldwide boom in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL) has meant that native English speakers (and non-native speakers with a good grasp of the language) are in demand almost everywhere.

However, do not assume that simply because you speak English you are ready to pack your bags and start teaching immediately. In fact, the growing popularity of English language instruction has led to more professionalism within the ranks of English teachers. As a result, anyone serious about teaching English must enrolls in a professional teacher-training program, at university levels.

You will also need to decide on a host of other questions before beginning your adventure as an English teacher, why do you want to teach English? This short paper is intended to help our classmates in the answering of this sole question.

Some Guidelines on How to Teach English as a Foreign Language

The importance of teaching a student to speak a new language before s/he attempts to read it cannot be over-emphasized. Charles Carpenter Fries, author of Teaching and Learning English as a Foreign Language, says a child will learn to read two to three times faster is s/he first learns to speak the language. If a written word has no oral counterpart in the mind of the child, it is like trying to find a reflection in a mirror for which no original exists.

Or again, it is like a child trying to read when s/he has little or no idea what sound or sounds have been assigned to the various letters of the alphabet. That the teacher often overlooks the importance of the oral aspect of a language is really no fault of her/his own. Our teacher training institutions have stressed in the past the teaching of reading to the total neglect of the language, perhaps because we can come back and look at the printed word repeatedly. It has permanence for us that the spoken word does not have, and we forget that the printed word would not even exist if it did not first have an oral counterpart.

It takes a considerable amount of "brain washing" of the primary teacher, especially, to enable her/him to drop teaching of reading as an objective and replace it with the teaching of oral language. Probably this is so because s/he remembers learning to read but has forgotten learning to speak. To her/him, reading is the language.

Assume that we have accomplished our first objective, the awareness of the importance of learning to speak English first and proceed to the second objective, the preparation of teaching materials. In any second language-teaching situation the three basic principles are: 1. Listen

2. Repeat
3. Memorize

This is the way the small child learns to speak a first language, and it is the only way to learn to speak a second language. It is the application of these principles in a second language-teaching situation that needs to be worked out carefully. One of the difficulties here is that situations differ from school to school and even from classroom to classroom. It is this variation in teaching needs that make the ability to write one's own material so helpful. Writing or adapting material to a specific situation is not difficult if the teacher has completely accepted the first tenet of language teaching; Learn To Talk First.

Forget about reading until the student has a talking vocabulary of at least four hundred words, all taught in context. Before attempting to write the needed materials, look at the teaching environment. Ask yourself, what do my students need to say and understand to be at home in this classroom? These are their first needs in a language class, and if you,...

Bibliography: Teaching English as a Second Language. Journal of American Indian Education. Volume 2. Number 1. Arizona State University. January, 1962.
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