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Teaching and learning English has established itself along recent history as a necessity in a more and more globalized world. English has surpassed the use of Latin as the language used for communication between people who did not share a common language. The colonial history, alongside popular culture, travelling, the informational boom, economics and politics have ensured the widespread of English as the main international language, therefore a global language. It has emerged as a demand the growing study of differences between British English and American English, in areas that cover pronunciation, vocabulary, spelling and so on. This has also evolved into differentiating between EFL (English as a Foreign Language), ESL (English as a Second Language), ESP (English for Specific Purposes), EAP (English for Academic Purposes) and many more. The future of English remains at the whim of history, but for now it governs history, since it is spoken by at least a quarter of the population worldwide.
In a futuristic society, where everybody races against time, we have noticed the growing use of shorter messages and acronyms, most of them, imported from the English language, in emails, SMSs, Whatsapp working groups, Facebook and Tinder, blogs and other apps for advertising companies, searching for possible employees, online banking, online shopping and so on. Therefore it is mandatory for teachers to keep up with technology and to teach students to distinguish and face different forms and meaning, coherence and cohesion, purposes of a message issued or received, to shape the message according to appropriacy and register, taking into consideration channels, participants, setting, topic, tone, gender and so on.
In a modern world that challenges limits and definitions such as gender and family, it is more necessary than ever to teach students of English as a second language to face challenges and adapt their discourse to an appropriately lexis, considering syntax and morphology. In order for them to do so, they have to master synonyms, polysemy, antonyms, collocations, metaphors, denotations, idioms.
Learning English happens all the time, in all kinds of places and by all means. School in only one, regulated place that teaches English, but more and more companies all over the world hire English teachers to teach their employees English for specific purposes, which comes as a necessity in a globalized working environment and labor market. For teenagers and younger students, the virtual environment is also prolific for learning English. Traditionally, a class required sharing a physical space. Nowadays, there are virtual classes, online courses and so on to teach you whatever you need, including language skills in any language one desires, crossing different time zones and online real or virtual tutors. Considering class size, there are numerous possibilities for private lessons or pair work through various private courses that are very flexible and adapt to each student, as basically, learners are the employers through contract. There is surprise nowadays that young learners acquire a good deal of vocabulary through playing video games, listening to music and watching movies without subtitles, which can all be harnessed in an English class. In a regular English class, where teachers have to manage different abilities, motivation, skills and levels, he has to joggle with different tasks, give students different roles, identify each student’s strengths and reward early finishers or encourage each student to respond, to meet all their needs and levels.
In decoding a message only 7% is attributed to the verbal message itself, 55 % to nonverbal cues and 38 % to paralinguistic features like the tone of the voice and volume. Gestures, facial expressions, posture, eye contact, proximity and echoing may support or contradict what you verbally say, deliberately or unconsciously.
Young children acquire language (native or second) in a subconsciously manner, by massive exposure to it. This is the reason why in kindergarten more and more Romanian children nowadays can count in English but not in their native language, they may name colors in English but not in their native language, they can sing in English but lack social skills, autistic children can become even violent, because of their intense exposure to TV and other modern technological devises that hypnotize them and stiffen their developing brain, all but educating them. This growing addiction only transforms them into infant video dependence disease, which has lately been linked to the growing epidemic of ADHD and the Autistic spectrum disorder.
Students and teachers come from different cultures, with different backgrounds, have different approaches to education, to manners, have different customs, have different social and financial media. It takes a good teacher to see beyond boundaries and masters all these differences to manage to link students with himself and the subject he stands for in the classroom.
Teachers are actors, gardeners of souls, psychologists, leaders, democratic or autocratic rulers, explainers, involvers, prompters, enablers, resources, tutors and participants in each classroom. They facilitate learning, establish rapport with students, lecture, read and write, bring classes to order, encourage students to take risks in using new acquisitions in all types of contexts, join in an activity or pace away to let the initiative to students, perform, mime, gesture, ask, respond, guide students where to find the information they want or require, create colorful worksheets, maps, charts, motivate, speak and listen, prepare lesson plans and strategies, give and ask for feedback, tell stories or jokes, regulate problematic behavior and so many others. In today’s society every English teachers faces mixed-level classes, that is he has to juggle with different levels of language skills and exercises on the same topic at once, every class. Let alone the fact that every student has different needs that a teacher should fulfill; some students learn to pass a specific English examination that requires written language skills, some to face a job interview and need more practice on listening skills, some are interested in speaking skills to integrate themselves in the tourism area while some read for pleasure and are more interested in reading skills.
Context-sensitive teachers are the one who become successful, fulfilled adults and role-models to their students. For a successful teacher the feelings of his students matter, he should encourage cognitive effort, as well as continuous improvement of grammar and lexis, should constantly expose students to realistic input and encourage as much output as possible from his students, to give them opportunities to practice, to give and receive feedback from one another.
The quality of classroom atmosphere may be more important and can become a learning facilitator than instructional efficiency.
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