Language Learning Research

Current research in English language teaching

Part One: The class 

The profile of my teaching group

My current teaching practice is of elementary level, and the learners come from different countries. They come from South Asia (India, Jordanian, Filipino, and India). The first learner is Amerissa who is 28 years from Jordanian, and the first language is Arabic.  Amerissa has been learning English as a second language in school, and the reason for learning English is to go for better jobs. One of the learners is from India called Raghul Baaji and speaks Tamil. Most of them speak Filipino, Visaya/Bisaya, Arabic, Hiligaynon, and Hindu.

Most of the learners are the young adults between 28 years and 30 years, and no one is above 30 years. The good thing is that most of these learners have background information in English, which is expected to make the learning process easy.

The good thing is that they all share a similar motivation, which is related to employment.  Most of them aim at expanding their careers to international levels, and this is the reason they feel learning English will help them fit in the society.

Modern method of teaching English

Part Two: One learner 

Background Information

The chosen student is Raghul Balaji from India

Name: Raghul Balaji

Age: 24 years old

 Nationality:  India

Mother Tongue: Tamil/Kannada

Level of English: Elementary

 Differences in Languages

• Grammar such as they do not use ‘are’ for plural

• The phonological features

• There are also differences in the pronouns

• Past tense and present tense

Education

He completed high school education and then joined Culinary arts diploma (in Chennai). He had also learned English in school nine years ago, and he understands very well when spoken to clearly, can formulate simple phrases and random complicated sentences with some mistakes in grammar. He also has advanced vocabulary “Formulate a sentence,” “give briefing “…etc

Motivation

Baaji wants to expand in his career to international levels, and for communication, it is important for him to learn English.  He also Wants to continue learning English at the British Council while accumulating work experience at the hotel hopes to move to either Canada or Maldives. To enhance his social skills, Baaji wants to learn English so that he can improve his communication skills and self-expression. 

Apparent learning styles

  Baaji speaks English on a daily basis at work, sometimes writes (requested to write emails and correspondences), watches videos and reads blogs in English on various topics of interest (Movies, and tech blogs). He also likes grammar and important things/ phrases to use and enjoys all the activities but still needs improvement. Baaji would like more speaking and writing activities which improves his confidence level. Baaji also likes studying outside the class where he irregularly, reads books  (e.g.,. A book called “Learn English “ brought from back home in India. 

Baaji is not a conservative individual, and he tries to share out his ideas as much as possible with the belief that he will enhance his study skills. He is a person who speaks his mind and does not keep things to himself, and this is the best way of learning English.

Although Baaji believes that learning alone is the best way, I think group discussions can work well for him.  Baaji should take part in panel talks with other and this will help in developing his skills as purported. He’s very intuitive, and very hands on, and he also needs more tasks in speaking and writing. 

The methodology is relevant to the learners since we are capable of demonstrating and also providing visual explanations when necessary. Our current method is suitable for a large group of students, but for his level, it’s best to be in A) a smaller group, b) more drills in writing and speaking with available references for use after class. In the process, we manage to collect the learning styles that are suitable for the learners. In this case, we end up choosing the best learning styles that are appropriate for the learners for them to attain the required skills. Allowing the learners to participate in the learning process gives them the capacity to highlight their weakness, and in the long run, they catch every detail. 

Problems in learning English language

1) Pronunciation

Baaji pronounced his name as Karantaka, but when he was asked to spell, it was Karnataka

Dictionary pronounciationLearners pronounciation

Karnataka

/kenteke/kerntk/

Reason  for the error

The reason he made that mistake is because the Tamil have a strong pronunciation of (r). This is the reason; he includes the r with high pitch despite the fact that it is not there. 

Grammatical errors

 There was no spacing in some words such as High School. Baaji pronounced it as highschool, and this was wrong “English when I started highschool.”

Reason for error;

The reason he made this problem is that the grammatical mistakes in Tamil are expressed word by word. 

2) No capitalization

 There were many areas where Baaji wrote the words that should be capitalized starting with small letters. These words include Google, English, Hindi and India

Reason for the error

3) Problem of using ‘is’ and are

The learner did not use ‘are’even when he is addressing something in plural “There’s still the king lives and still the palace still there, but the government is there, but the king is support for the local government.”

Reason for error

 Most words in Tamil are presented in the singular, and there is no plural, and this is the reason Baaji used frequently.

4) Confusion in words

There are a lot of grammatical errors such the use of wrong propositions, poor sentence construction and use of a preposition at the end of the sentence “Like I have two mother tongues because its one my father is a different language and my mother is a different language.”

Reason for the error

Skills

1) The receptive skills perception

Reading: Raghul can read for gist and can scan for certain details, he’s actively interested in reading about the latest technology online. But the time for actual activities is limited due to work. The level available for Raghul is intermediate to an upper intermediate which is readily available on the internet through various channels of interest I.E tech blogs. He seems to have developed his reading on sight experience due to the simplified nature of the blogs he frequents. But more complicated words (i.e. 5+ syllables ) need to have an immediate use for him to grasp. 

2) Issues with productive skills

Speaking: Raghul is willing to come out of his comfort zone using words that are slightly advanced to make himself understood, he is also eager to learn collocations and expressions both written and spoken to enhance his verbal communication with his co-workers. But as he’s working in a multi-cultural environment it is uncertain that the environment provides a unified opportunity to practice English at a constant level whether it’s with co-workers or actual clientele at the hotel (if given a chance to frequent the clientele at all)

English learning resources

PART THREE: CHOOSING RESOURCES FOR THE LEARNER

Pronunciation problem [n] and [r]

• The reason I have chosen this is to show the difference in the /r/ sounds that are different in the two languages.

• To give the learner a chance of differentiating sounds and be able to recognize the sounds

• It is reasonable evidence in making sounds.

The Grammar Activity

• The learners have many issues when it comes to grammar. The student cannot use pronouns, conjunctions, past and present tense and articles correctly.

• However, to some extent, he is aware of the subjects, objects and verbs and how they are used in sentences.

• This will give the learner a chance to exercise more on these elements, especially sentence structure. 

References

Dudeney, G., & Hockly, N. (2009). Learning English as a Foreign Language For Dummies. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Schrampfer, B., & Azar, D. (1995). Fundamentals of English grammar. New York: ABC Publishers.

Smith, B. (2001). Learner English Interference and Other Problems. University of Cambridge , 1-365.

Swan, M. (2004). Practical English Usage. New York: Oxford University.