Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Teaching English in English

I’m a crazy English learner. I seldom let my mind wander. I always listen to some English even when I mop the floor, hang out the clothes, drive on the road and take a dump. I’m very eager to feed my brain with as much English input as I can, such as Taipei Times, Advanced, Biz, Harry Potter, The Kite Runner and so on.

The only way I know to become fluent in English without leaving the country is one on one online English class. You can get all the English input you want, but you won’t be able to speak the language unless you constantly speak it. I spoke Mandarin Chinese with a funny Taiwanese accent until I got laughed at on the very first day in college. Speaking different languages requires a different part of the mouth and facial muscles.

Just like learning how to ride a bike, you’ll fall off the bike several times and get a few scratches before you finally make it. Making mistakes is an essential part of the learning process. The only way not to make any mistakes when speaking English is NEVER speak it. English is not my first language, and I have never studied abroad before. Therefore, I really don’t care that much if I do make any mistakes during the presentation.

I want my students to feel what it’s like to be able to speak the language, make some friends outside of Taiwan and get to appreciate cultural differences as I did. With this Skype Exchange Project, Akiko and I started small this semester but are aiming for something bigger in the near future.  

During today’s presentation, I experienced some technical problems. My heart was pounding so hard because I was damned afraid to screw everything up. Somehow I pulled myself together with two very intriguing demos. There is no doubt that stress has a very negative effect on my performance. When I am confident and relaxed, I think I am a very good English speaker, just like what I did this afternoon. 

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