When I was a student, I dreamed that I could speak English fluently. Because I thought English could help me to open another door to the world. I worked very hard and learned tons of vocabulary and grammar rules. However, after almost 23 years of learning and having been through so many tests, I still felt horrible about my daily communications when I arrived in the United States. I realized that even though I worked so hard to learn English, I had never really used it.
When I started to teach Mandarin, helping my students feel comfortable and confident in communicating in Mandarin are the core values of my teaching. As indicated in Krashen’s second language acquisition theory, there are two ways of developing language ability (https://www.sk.com.br/sk-krash-english.html). The acquisition involves the subconscious acceptance of knowledge where information is stored in the brain through communication; this is the process used for developing native languages. On the other hand, learning is the conscious acceptance of knowledge ‘about’ a language (i.e., the grammar or form). According to this theory, the optimal way to learn a new language is through natural communication. As a second language teacher, the idea is to create a situation wherein language is used to fulfill authentic purposes. Therefore, speaking in the new language will help students ‘acquire’ the language instead of just ‘learning’ it.
In language acquisition, a hypothetical filter is influenced by emotional variables that can prevent learning. The ‘screen’ does not impact acquisition directly but rather prevents input from reaching the brain’s language acquisition part. According to Krashen, the affective filter is influenced by many different variables, including anxiety, self-confidence, motivation, and stress (https://www.sk.com.br/sk-krash-english.html). In any aspect of education, it is always essential to create a safe, welcoming environment in which students can learn. In language education, a comfortable environment is especially important since, to take in and produce language, learners need to feel that they can make mistakes and take risks. I am also a language learner while teaching a language. I love it when my students help me with English, so they are not worried about making my class mistakes.
Reading is another excellent way to learn languages. It allows students to learn and to reinforce vocabulary. For second language acquisition, it is vital to involve reading in the language classroom to increase knowledge of the language and how it is used in real-life contexts (https://www.sk.com.br/sk-krash-english.html). Creativity, activity, service (CAS) is one of the three core elements of the IB Diploma Program (https://www.ibo.org/programmes/diploma-programme/curriculum/creativity-activity-and-service/). The IB language acquisition curriculum is based on specific real-life contexts. During language learning, students can also enhance intercultural understanding.
Here at WAPrep, singing, drawing, handwriting, reading, group conversations, and presentations allow students to enjoy learning
Mandarin by using it!
Schütz, Ricardo E. (2019). Stephen Krashen’s Theory of Second Language Acquisition. English made in Brazil Http://www.sk.com.br/sk-krash.html. Online.