相向英語學校

antipodean

english language school

 

Articles

 

Learning English

Thursday, 14 November 2013

How did you learn to speak your first language? Did you learn it by completing worksheets and grammar exercises? I suspect that the answer to this question is that you learnt to speak by, first of all, copying the sounds and words of your parents, and secondly, by using language to communicate your intentions and needs.

Language, according to “the father of modern linguistics”, Professor Noam Chomsky, is an inherently creative process. Every time we speak, we are creating something new. That makes it very hard to treat language as a set of patterns that can be memorized and recalled as needed. Rather, we need to learn how to use what we know in new, creative ways. And although that sounds difficult, it is possible. We are all born with the ability to use language creatively.

And that’s why conventional English language lessons just don’t seem to work for most people. There is an almost infinite number of possible ways of expressing ourselves. What is needed is an approach that is based on the idea of discovery.

A communicative approach to language learning is based on discovery. The building blocks of the communicative approach are learned by copying native speakers of English, and applying learned language creatively to complete communicative tasks. Feedback from knowledgeable native teachers is reliable and accurate.

Your teacher can’t take the place of your parents. But, in the same way that your parents were your language model when you were young, a good native English speaking teacher can become a reliable model and source of correction for you as you learn English.

© 2013 Antipodean English Language School