I came from a family that spoke only Spanish and, therefore, Spanish was the only language that I grew up speaking. However, many of my family members can now communicate in a second language. I am Hispanic, and my country of origin is the Dominican Republic. I have had no experience in K-12 schools, in the United States.
When I first came to this country, I was in my senior year and attended high school for a period of three months. Therefore, I had no experience as a student in an elementary or secondary school in the United States. Nevertheless, I had experience working in both elementary and secondary schools.
Last year, I began taking classes at the Grand Canyon University. These classes aim at preparing and helping me work with the English language learners.
Some of the courses that I took included curriculum development and assessment, language reading acquisition and research, teaching in a pluralistic society, and the English linguistic. In these classes, I gathered methods and tactics to help students learning English as a second language.
Most of my early learning experiences were pleasant because communication was in Spanish, my mother tongue. I found it easy internalizing issues and relating to ideas. In my teaching experience, I have taught several students who were learning English as their second language.
They tended to have difficulties relating English to their first language. My experiences prepared me to identify with challenges of second language learners.
I try to make the learning experience pleasurable for all my English learners, just the way mine was. I make learning fruitful by ensuring that all my students understand a concept before I advance to the subsequent idea. This is extremely challenging considering the varying levels of understanding among the students. Another challenge is that the students have diverse first languages, hence, dissimilar outlooks on issues.
Social role plays a crucial part in learning of English as a second language. It is simpler to get full command of a language when one interacts with native speakers of that language. I can relate these occurrences to my learning and teaching experiences. I had to learn the English language because of the natural call for communication (Peregoy, Boyle, & Kaplan, 2008).
Having come to the United States in high school, proficient knowledge in English was essential for me to attain my aspiration of becoming a teacher. Native English speakers surrounded me as I was living in a country where English was the mode of communication. These factors undoubtedly helped me polish my language skills.
A proof of the Interactionist theory was when I interacted with native English speakers at various levels and acquired language prowess from them (Peregoy et al., 2008). Consequently, I chose to use the same approach for my students. I encourage helpful participation through varied grouping.
I put together students with different abilities, and allow them to work together to come up with answers for challenges. This not only boosts them academically but also improves relationships among themselves.
The emotional status of an individual affects how one copes with the learning process. It requires a strong will to learn a new language and make use of it appropriately. I was strong willed and did not let grammatical mistakes deter my progress. I developed empathy for English learners and felt a strong urge to see people wishing to learn English excel in their pursuit. This further propelled my teacher ambition to greater heights.
Linguistic also plays a role in determining how fast one learns a second language. The Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis supports this notion. According to Altakhaineh, elements obtained from one language can be transferred to a new language with a positive effect. Such a scenario is only true if the two languages share similar structures (2012).
In my case, Spanish and English share identical plural structures. In both languages, the letter “s” at the end of a word indicates plural. This aspect improved learning and teaching experiences for me. Therefore, I sometimes try to find out whether my students’ native languages bear similar aspects with English, so that I can apply the Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis.
Cultural and linguistic diversity mean that a class has many students from different countries speaking different languages. These students possess different degrees of formal education and practice different cultural traditions. It is, therefore, essential for a teacher to know how to handle such a class for fair and effective learning to occur.
One such way is for the teacher to pronounce words clearly and avoid use of colloquial speech and complicated phrases. Using simple language ensures that all students get the concepts taught (Gonzales, Wendel, Pagan, & Love, 2011). A teacher should reinforce words using charts and gesticulation. Staging concept helps such students “create meaning from a new environment” (Gonzales et al., 2011).
Charts aid the mind in retaining new information. The learning process ought to incorporate frequent reviews and recap of information. Such activities also help students to internalize concepts. A teacher should also enquire from students whether they have understood an idea by letting them display what they have learned (Gonzales et al., 2011).
Altakhaineh, A. R. (2012). The main theories in second language acquisition (SLA). The TEFL times. Web.
Gonzales, R. J., Pagan, M., Wendel, L., & Love, C. (2011). Supporting ELL/Culturally and Linguistically diverse students for academic achievement. International center for leadership in education. Web.
Peregoy, S. F., Boyle, O. F., & Kaplan, K. C. (2008). Reading, writing and learning in ESL: A resource book for teaching K-12 English learners (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.