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English as a Second Language: Blended Learning in Adult Education - Essay Example

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English as a Second Language: Blended Learning in Adult Education

The traditional methods that ESL programs enforce consist of giving mindless repetition of written drills to teach grammar and spelling.  In addition, students have little opportunity to speak English, and when they do, they often to think critically. Many factors affect international student’s ability to acquire English as a second language. These factors consist of: learner characteristics traits, situational factors, and prior language development and competence. Most ESL students tend to be critical thinkers and are masters at grammar. Nonetheless, international students struggle to convey their messages across in a social environment due to numerous factors. Certainly, an abundance of idioms and figurative language are present not only in English text but in speech itself.  One of the key factors that create a barrier for ESL students to engage in a social environment is due to limitation of vocabulary they possess. Since English is such a complex language that often has words with multiple-meanings, it is genuinely hard for ESL students to effectively use the correct words to formulate their thoughts into proper speech context. To make matters worse, most international students are unable to distinguish the differences in spelling and vocabulary between British and American English. I myself was a witnessed during a writing session, in which an ESL student spelled “behavior” by spelling as “behaviour.” As a native of Japan, she was clearly unaware of the spelling differences that seem to be prevalent in British and American English. Furthermore, most ESL students are completely unaware of the wide variety of slang that is constantly used in everyday conversations. Most students are puzzled and tend to inquire about slang words that are widespread in social conversations.  Although this is a “lower order concern” as it can be fixed by practice, it is a constant reminder of how language differences can serve as an obstacle towards effective communication. Another key element that poses as a huge problem for foreign students is due to different types of accents present in their speech. International students acknowledge that they possess different dialects and make it their mission to speak as NES speaker. Undoubtedly, many respondents feel that pronunciation played a vital role in their communication problems. Many ESL students also feel that their dialect is the major cause for discrimination in workplace. In addition, many ESL students feel that attitudes towards accents play a critical role towards socials status and promotion. There is nothing wrong with an accent unless it hinders communication. However accent reduction is a goal for those who are unable to communicate effectively. The fear of participation and interaction with mainstream students for international students is even harder when interacting with NES. International students are intimidated as the possibility of mispronouncing or misinterpreting a certain words can be extremely humiliating. Undoubtedly, ESL students feel constrained to communicate effectively in a social environment due to their accents. All these factors accumulate to create a barrier towards developing interpersonal relationships. Clearly, the goal is to design a curriculum and implement a system in ESL program that expands far beyond writing and reading skills. In essence, ...Show more

Summary

  Theories of practice in contemporary science attempt to answer the enigma of improving the verbal communication of ESL students.  One of the main challenges that international students face upon coming to America is to communicate verbally in an effective manner…
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English as a Second Language: Blended Learning in Adult Education essay example
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