Essay: English Language And Its Importance Today's World

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  • Published on: 14th June 2012
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English Language And Its Importance Today's World

Language is the source of communication. It's the way that through the use of it, we can share our ideas and thoughts with each other. Every country has their own national language, and then they have different local languages spoken and understood by their people in different regions because there are plenty of uncountable languages in this world. One of the global languages is English language. There are several factors that make us learn English language to go through in the current time. First of all, it has international standard, that's why everyone needs to learn English in order to get in touch on the international level.

Review teaching and learning language in Iraq
In Iraq, English language is recognized as the second language. In fact we use it just for the purposes of study, work, and other obligations. It is a language that is learned after the mother language which is the Arabic language. We use English language because of its dominance in important affairs. Students start to learn the language from the age of 7th. Despite the difficulties that the students face it during the learning for instance keeping vocabulary, and applying grammatical rules, understanding what is taught. The students should be good at it to pass. Otherwise this will restrict them and make them do not pass from the exam. From other side, English language teaching requires using a syllabus but sometimes the syllabus is to rich to be covered within the limited time. Applying this kind of syllabus will put a pressure on both the teachers and the students. The students cannot cope with the entire requirements that want to do it through out of the lesson. Some other schools add other foreign language for example French to learn which is apart from the English.

The method that is followed in Iraq is Grammar- Translation technique as a method for teaching the target language in the materials. The using of this method backs to the logical thinking, learned abilities to achieve a by educational impact, and a capability to read original texts in the language concerned. As Howatt (1984:131) states that grammar and translation is not far away from one another by utilizing sentences instead of authentic materials to make the language simpler for the students. The significant of this method that help the students, decisively as its name proposes, concentrate on learning the rules of grammar and their implication in translation passages from one language into another. Vocabulary in the target language is taken in through immediate translation from the native language.

The features of this method of the teaching and learning language in our classes focused on that classes are taught in the mother tongue which is Arabic language, with little active use of the target language. Much vocabulary is taught in the form of lists of isolated words. Long elaborate explanations of the intricacies of grammar are given. Grammar provides the rules of putting words together, and instruction often focuses on the form and inflection of words. Reading difficult text is begun early. Little attention is paid to the content of the texts, which are treated as exercises in grammatical analysis. Little or no attention is given to pronunciation. There are many typical techniques that are used for the teaching. The translation of the passage is from the target language in to the native language. Through reading a text the students find information, make an inference, and then relate it to the personal experience. Antonyms and synonyms are used to find words. The grammatical rules are used to understand and then apply it in other examples that are new. Students are asked to write a paragraph base on the subject that is discussed.

In this method, while teaching the textbook the teacher translates every word and phrase from English into the Arabic language. Further, students are required to translate sentences from Arabic into English language. These exercises in translation are based on various items covering the grammar of the target language. The method emphasizes on the study of grammar through deduction that is through the study of the rules of grammar. A contrastive study of the target language with the mother tongue gives an insight into the structure not only of the foreign language but also of the mother tongue.

Despite the Grammar-Translation Method has basics which get the students' benefits but the Grammar Translation Method makes the students the language learning experience uninspiring and boring. The Grammar Translation Method may also left the students with a sense of frustration when they travel to countries where the studied language is used, and they can't understand what people say and have to struggle mightily to express them at the most basic level. This method neither approaches nor encourages the students' communicative competence. This is my opinion because I face that as a teacher and when I am a student.

Background information

I taught the second grade in the secondary school. The students are false beginners. The age is between 13-15 years old. The knowledge that the students have it is just a little information about vocabulary and the structure of sentence for instance; subject+ verb+ complement. As mentioned that in Iraq we most of the time follow the indirect teaching process which is more about grammar. The grammar- translation method is used in my class beside the little use of direct teaching processes which is the forth skills (listening, reading, speaking, writing) .

Analysis the survivor game in the classroom

Some teachers think that language games are something that wasting the time of the students and it is not allowed to use it in the classroom. Since now and then they have been used for its only one component which is fun. Actually, games can give EFL and ESL more than that. Many strategies that are used to improve student's proficiency such ads role-play, drama, and visual aids. Games are alternate useful strategy to promote student's capabilities.

What is a game?
Byrne (1995) gave the definition to games as a form of play governed by rules. They should be enjoyed and fun. They are not just a diversion, a break from routine activities, but a way of getting the learner to use the language in the course of the game. Similarly, Jill Hadfield (1990) defined games as "an activity with rules, a goal and an element of fun."

Continuously, Games include numerous variables: rules, relaxation, competition, and learning. The main focus of using game is to help students learn and have a fabulous time. However, to utilize game in the classroom, it is similarly essential that before playing the rules of the game unmistakably clarified and well understood by the students. There should be only a few, well-explained rules. Demonstrations also can be very helpful because it can help students understand the game and help them follow the rules. Otherwise, they will misunderstand the purpose of the game and they may not get the benefits they should from the game. For example, if students do not understand the rules of the games called "Dictation Game" and just write without following the instructions, then it is just an exercise in copying, and it doesn't help students with accuracy, pronunciation, or spelling at all.

In playing games, competition is very important because it can stimulate and encourage students to participate in the activity since naturally they want to beat the other teams. As it happens, in the dictation game students run as fast as possible, remember as much as they can and speak as loudly and clearly as they can. They run quickly back and forth, trying to memorize the content as much as possible. While playing, students have fun, relax, exercise, and tease their friends. Apart from having fun, students learn at the same time. They acquire new vocabulary along with its spelling and pronunciation. Students begin to realize that they have to speak or pronounce the words clearly if they want others to understand what they are saying.

The advantage of game
Even though games are often associated with fun, we should not lose sight of their pedagogical values, particularly in second language teaching. Games are effective because they provide motivation, lower students' stress, and give them the opportunity for real communication. The main reason why games are considered effective learning aids is that "they spur motivation and students get very absorbed in the competitive aspects of the games; moreover, they try harder at games than in other courses". Naturally when playing games, students are trying to win or to beat other teams for themselves or on the behalf of their team. They are so competitive while playing because they want to have a turn to play, to score points and to win. In the class, students will definitely participate in the activities. Therefore, it is possible for a teacher to introduce students.

Students' attention and participation, they can motivate students to want to learn more. Moreover, they can transform a boring class into a challenging one. Another reason why games are often used in language classes is that they lower students' stress in the classroom. In conventional classrooms, there is a lot of stress put on students trying to master the target language. There is a high level of stress in the classroom because students have to face unfamiliar or unknown grammatical structures, words, texts and so forth. Therefore, students often feel uncomfortable and insecure in class, which inevitably affects their ability to learn. As a result, games can help lower their anxiety, make them feel comfortable, and want to learn more. It is believed that when students play games, they relax and have fun. Since students know that they are playing games and want to communicate efficiently t hey do not worry about making mistakes and do not try to correct them in every single sentence. When students are free from worry and stress, they can improve their fluency and natural speaking styles.

Another advantage is increasing students' proficiency. Playing games in the classroom can enormously increase students' ability in using language because students have a chance to use language with a purpose in the situations provided. Hadfield (1990) confirms that 'games provide as much concentrated practice as a traditional drill and more importantly, they provide an opportunity for real communication, albeit within artificially defined limits, and thus constitute a bridge between classroom and the real word.' Like in a traditional classroom, students have an opportunity to drill and practice using grammatical rules and other functions. For example, look at the "Find Someone Who" game in which students have to ask classmate s the questions implied by the chart such as: "Can you swim?" "Do you have a pet?" etc.

It is necessary for those who want to use games as a learning aid to be concerned about how to use them. Hadfield (1990) suggested that "games should be regarded an integral part of the language syllabus, not an amusing activity for Friday afternoon of for the end of the term." Games can contribute to students' skills if they are incorporated into the classroom, particularly if they are used to reinforce or introduce a grammatical rule or structure. For example in the games called "What Would You Do If?" and "Find Someone Who..." students do not only have fun in class but they learn about some grammatical rules; they also have a chance to practice and use it with purpose. In "What Would You Do If?" students learn about the conditionals. In "Find Someone Who," students learn how to form questions and answers. Therefore, as we have seen before, it is quite a good idea to incorporate games in daily classes. For example, if teachers are going to introduce present tenses or conditionals, instead of teaching them in a traditional way, (by simply telling them the rules, have them do some written exercises, drilling and answering questions), teachers may help students understand these forms of grammar by playing games, which can also meet all the requirements of the traditional classes involving learning rules, drilling and repeating. Moreover, students can take this opportunity to use them in real communication.

Survivor spelling game
Level: Any Level, use this activity to review vocabulary:
Make a list of vocabulary covered in previous lessons. Have students stand. Call out a vocabulary word. The first student begins by saying the word and giving the first letter, the second student the second letter of the word, the third student the third letter, and so on until the word is spelled correctly. If somebody makes a mistake they must sit down and we start from the beginning again until the word is spelled correctly. The last student must then pronounce the word correctly and give a definition in order to stay standing. The student who is left standing is the "survivor" and wins the game. I usually give them some type of prize. The students love it and it is a great way to practice vocabulary.

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