with the world becoming a global village, more and more people are hurriedly studying many foreign languages. among these is english, which is one of the most predominant languages in the world, as 65 countries and territories have made english their official language, while 35 countries have made english their sole official language there are numerous benefits one can derive from learning english, for example, helping to know other people’s culture, easy communication among people for business, especially during international trade of which china is a strong member. the topic for discussion as said in the introduction is “poor spoken english among chinese students, causes and solutions” as we all know language learning involves listening, reading, writing and speaking. it is used as a medium of communication among people during day to day contacts and meetings. this means that one should combine words together to form meaningful sentences without necessarily referring to written scripts and/or reading them. it is a surprising scenario to find more students in china who might have studied english for ten years or more, and can read and write very well, but are very poor in spoken communication.
again, they think reading and writing will be a separate and additional task for them in the study of the language. they also think to practice speaking english is only for those who have the intention of traveling abroad in the future, hence continuing a cycle of poor spoken english skills. as part of the encouragement, prizes could be awarded to students who form a habit of speaking english on all levels of education. this punishment can be in the form of translating a story from chinese to english orally, describing an activity or scenario in english, and public speaking. those who lose must also get a prize for having the desire and courage to take part in the competition. it is believed that when all these and many other solutions are perfectly organized students will have no excuse as to why their spoken english is poor. they will find it interesting and fun, as english becomes a popular second language in china.
in the first article of our career skills series, rachael explains some common communication problems that language learners have – and some easy-to-implement ways to help them improve. your students will find the lessons in this article helpful in a language learning context and in their everyday lives. let’s take a look at some of the most common and egregious errors people make when speaking and listening to each other. whatever the reason, this kind of student may benefit from a more structured approach where students are given time to prepare what they are going to say, and everyone is expected to contribute equally. or make it into a kind of game where students have to make sure that they speak for 50% of the time each, as would be expected in an exam situation. for example, tell them that they will need to summarise what their partner said, or they have to think of three questions to ask their partner at the end.
it’s fine for students to have to struggle a bit to communicate, but it’s sensible to set tasks which are achievable, or they may give up. being able to speak fluently ‘off the cuff’ is very challenging, particularly in front of an audience. you can ring the changes by swapping partners or changing the format from pairs to small groups to whole class. or maybe they dismiss them in other ways, ‘oh, exactly the same thing happened to me! rachael will guide you through some of the “soft skills” that will make your teenage students valued employees and colleagues. rachael roberts has been in elt since 1989, working in portugal, brazil, poland and the uk as a teacher, teacher trainer (celta and delta) and materials writer. a firm believer in lifelong learning, rachael has an ma in elt from warwick, and recently completed a diploma in coaching at the same institution.
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