Different approaches to teaching English as a second language
Muñoz Pedraza, Mario
Inglés (lengua) - Conversación | Inglés (lengua) - Estudio y enseñanza
Nowadays teaching and learning English as a second language is becoming more important than ever. This emphasis is due, to some extent, to the lack of work vacancies in Spain and the necessity of Spanish people to learn the English language properly. Having the ability to speak and understand the English language at a good level is thought of as beneficial as a way of either improving an individual’s curriculum with a qualification or certificate, or simply as a way of aiding that individual to find a place to work abroad as inevitably they will be competing with native speakers or other foreigners who may have a very secure understanding of the English language.
Whatever the person’s reason for learning a language, it is becoming apparent that the way in
which we learn a second language makes a huge difference to our capacity to be able to deal withother speakers in a language which is not our mother tongue. Over time it is shown that the majority of Spanish people are unable to speak properly in English. Hardly do they know how to use simple structures; their vocabulary is reduced, fluency is nonexistent; pronunciation is not good enough and interaction between a native and a non-native speaker appears to be hard to reach. However this problem with languages seems to have nothing to do with the time actually spent learning the language. Spanish people enter Primary school at the age of six years old and some years ago this was the point in which they would begin their English language studies. From that moment on, students did not stop working on English. It seems that being in touch with English and striving to improve is a challenge that Spanish people must face for the rest of their lives. Now, the vast majority of children in Spain start to come into contact with English at the age of three when they go to school for the first time ever. Even at this basic level of the educational system children will often be exposed to simple vocabulary in this second (or sometimes third language). Moreover some parents try to surround their children with English from birth with books, songs, programs and any other means they may find, because of this growing emphasis and importance on exposing children to English as early as possible.
In spite of this emphasis on English from a very young age, often both in school and at home, it seems that we, the Spanish public, are still far away from speaking English naturally and
accurately. Time is therefore most probably not the issue and the most likely reason why we
spend a whole lifetime in touch with another language and still do not have the capacity to be
able to communicate effectively appears to be the way in which it is taught, the methodology.
Departamento de Didáctica de la Lengua y Literatura
Máster en Profesor de Educación Secundaria Obligatoria y Bachillerato, Formación Profesional y Enseñanzas de Idiomas