Focus on the Learner: Language Learning

Most of them have learnt the language at school and/or university for at least years (often with long breaks) and were taught by teachers who used both Czech and English in the classroom. The lessons were teacher-centered and focused on grammar, dictation and homework, leaving few opportunities for speaking practice. One student has also been attending English course offered by her employer, and also learns English independently. Two of the students are multilingual (they speak either German or French).

A number of them have attended English lessons at Accent II in the past, which they enjoyed because they were exposed to various accents of native speakers. They prefer lessons where only English is spoken and are very receptive to CELT teaching strategies. Students are happy to work in pairs or groups, though some would like to be corrected more often and feel they learn more when talking to the teacher. They enjoy a mixture of speaking practice and grammar work, which most perceive as difficult, but easier than listening or speaking “because grammar can be learned”.

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They are all eager to communicate effectively with native English speakers, develop their listening skills (difficult because of accents/talking feeds) and speaking skills (fluency, improving their accents). The students also want to broaden their vocabulary and improve their writing skills. All students are passionate about traveling, music, dancing and sports, and actively pursue these hobbies.

GRAMMAR Not using the correct proper noun when referring to a particular country It is the same in Britain or in French. It is the same in Britain or in France.

Most likely a slip, though possibly student doesn’t know the right word for the entry or hasn’t had enough practice using it. Omitting “-s” in the present simple 3rd person singular She drinks lot of coffee. She drinks a lot of coffee. AS are aware of the rule but haven’t internalized it yet. Probably confusing for them because the verb form only changes in the 3rd person so.

VOCABULARY Using the wrong adjective (meaning) hard luggage heavy luggage Al interference: hard and heavy are the same in Czech Using wrong verb (collocation: you ride a bike, but drive a car) Do you know how to ride cars? Do you know how to drive a car? Drive in Czech (Fit) is similar to ride. Student learned the meanings of drive/ride in the past but mixes them up.

PRONUNCIATION Wrong sounds /even/ / went/ Student hasn’t had enough practice using the sound /w/, which does not exist in Czech, and uses the sound ‘v/ instead. Wrong sounds + incorrect word stress /GA:pan/ /adapt/ 1 interference: in Czech, word stress is always on the first syllable. Student would also benefit from drilling pronunciation to correct the vowel sounds.

The students handle listening for gist and specific information well if the context is very clear from the start, tasks are graded to their level and the activity is engaging (as was the case when listening to a song). Essential vocabulary must be clarified before the listening task. Because they are not exposed to spoken English outside the classroom very much and have had little listening practice in their previous learning experience, they sometimes struggle with the different accents of English speakers (natives who speak quickly are particularly difficult to understand).

Speaking Speaking tasks work well with the group, especially if the topic is something the students can relate to (like New Year’s traditions, or their hobbies: traveling and holidays were particularly stimulating themes) and have/are taught the necessary vocabulary. Free speaking tasks work best when preceded by guided practice. At times, the speaking tasks progress slowly and students are hesitant to talk. They often stop to think about the accuracy of what they are going to say and always benefit from discussing their ideas in pairs before engaging in the activity.

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Focus on the Learner: Language Learning. (2018, Jun 01). Retrieved from