Define educational success in EFL
Reflective Diary submitted by Mia, Valencia
Nowadays, the pursuit for good English education is still attracting different types of students worldwide. Despite the fact that the European territory is leading in the number of speakers of English as a foreign language, it is still providing positions for new tutors who are willing to deliver quality FL education. Depending on the country we find ourselves in, the level of students’ motivation and language proficiency might vary.
As it is already known, each student has distinct needs and capabilities, so it may be that a certain type of a teacher is better suited for a certain student. It is necessary to familiarise yourself with what is going to be expected from you in a country you choose to teach in. Despite English language being a mandatory subject in most European schools, the knowledge of its learners can vary greatly. The proficiency in English language is also dependent on how much the Anglophone culture has influenced a certain country. For example, in countries like Spain and Italy you will probably encounter speakers who require improvement of their listening and speaking skills, the major difficulty being the pronunciation. The main reason that can explain their lack of proficiency is that in these countries students are not ‘immersed’ enough in English language.
According to David Elmes’ words in his thesis “The Relationship between Language and Culture”: “Understanding that languages and their cultures do possess relationships central to the acquisition of linguistic and cultural competency is a good starting point for any approach to language education.” (p.15)
It may seem strange to many foreigners, but neither Spaniards nor Italians are accustomed to listening or watching any kind of media in a language that is not their own, so they can sometimes even have problems with recognising the difference between various accents of English language. But of course, as in any other country, there are always individuals that make the exception.
To sum up, there is no general rule that can define educational success in EFL. Instead, the success depends on a series of factors that are different from speaker to speaker. While some might find motivation to be the crucial factor, numerous other speakers have proved that the immersion into the foreign language itself might suffice. But we must not undermine the role of the educator, who can influence the educational outcome to a great extent.
- Elmes, David. The Relationship between Language and Culture, 2013, p.15