English is the language of the world. International business environment, IT sector, international law use English in their everyday activity. That’s why, in order to be integrated into the modern world, everyone should speak English.
There are many ways of studying English as a second language (ESL). Of course, the most successful of them is to entry American or English university. It will give a lot of opportunities for international students. First of all, living in English-speaking country means that students encounter with English not only during a teaching process but also in their routine life. Shopping, going to the cinema, visiting doctors all these activities require the ability of speaking English. And, of course, this fact accelerates the process of studying English. “A person's culture and language are very closely related” as mentioned Roberta Katcher (3). So, we can say that the recognition of culture helps in studying English. And the best way to recognize a culture is to live in a country where it is adopted. Peer tutors can help in this process. According to the LeighAnne Lyttle’s words : “when peer tutors are used, the tutees have a live example to emulate and behavior to observe which helps to understand the language and culture more so than a textbook could display” (13). And it is absolutely true. When a student came to a foreign country where he nobody knows, he faces with stress and needs help to avoid it. Peer tutor is a good way out. This native speaker will help not only with learning English but also with social adaptation.
But, unfortunately, not everyone who wants to know English has a possibility to come in an English-speaking country. Most of them are studying English at home. And here comes a very difficult question: is it possible to a non-native English speaker to be a good teacher of English?
The US-China Educational review gives us the answer: undoubtfully it is. Non-native English speaking teachers have more responsibility for their work. Additionally to having teaching skills, they are to know a foreign language – English- at the highest level. They should always be improving their English in order to avoid their students to copy mistakes and accent. But at the same time such teachers understand well their students. They have their own English language learning experience and this fact help them to create effective learning program. In this review, there again was mentioned “culture and language are linked” (40). Different authors pay their attention to this fact. In this context, non-native speaking teachers, but who are representatives of the same culture, will find the easiest and quickest way to teach English as a second language.
Each teacher, without reference to his origin, has its own methods and believes about learning process. All these have a huge impact on their students’ achievements. Nowadays exist a lot of theories devoting to the learning process and its peculiarities. One of them is the Tegan’s (1997) Imaginative Education (IE) theory. According to this theory, “students move through various kinds of understanding as they are educated in their sociocultural environments” (Broom, 2). These kinds of understanding are:
1) Somatic. At this stage, learning is focused on the body.
2) Mythic stage, in which appears the ability to communicate through words.
3) Romantic understanding. At this stage students begin to use writing skills.
4) Philosophic, where students are trying to find the connections between concepts in order to interpret the world around them.
5) Ironic, in which students begin to feel the necessity of constant increasing of their knowledge (Broom, 2-4).
The difficulty is that different students achieve these stages not at the same time. It makes the learning process complex and multifaceted. That’s why a good teacher always use individual approach in his activity.
Different theories suggest using different tools in the learning process. Let’s speak about so cold computer-assisted language learning CALL. In modern world people can’t imagine their lives without computers. So why not to use them in the learning process?! Different people have different opinions. Warschauer’s model distinguishes three positions on this term:
1) determinists position : “ technology has a magic effect on learning and simply including it will determine a more positive outcome for any activity”.
2) instrumental position :“technology is just a tool that is not capable of bringing about positive learning results in and of itself”
3) critical position “learning environment is its own ecosystem and that any addition – such as instructional technology- brings about a slightly or radically different learning environment” ( Petrie, Avery, 14).
I personally find the instrumental position the most acceptable. In conclusion, I would like to say that studying and learning a foreign language is a very complex process. A lot of tips should be taken into account such as teacher’s believes and learning methods and student’s capacities and the eager to study.
Katcher, Roberta. Teaching English as a Second Language. 1971.
US-China Education Review “The Effect of the Past on the Present: Cook Islands Teachers’ Perceptions of Language Teaching.” Vol. 3 January 2013 : 38-45.
Lyttle, Leigh Anne. Do peer tutors help teach ESL students to learn English as a second language more successfully? April 7, 2011.
Broom, Catherine. Second-Language Learning Through Imaginative Theory. VOL. 28 NO 2, SPRING 2011: 1-10.
Petrie, Gina Mikel & Avery, Lisa. Identifying Our Approaches to Language Learning Technologies: Improving Professional Development. English teaching forum, nov. 2011: 10-19.