понедельник, 28 июня 2010 г.

My roman with English

I have a very long roman with English. And it's not an easy one, so I still don't feel good while I use it.

I have been studying English for a long time at school, for 6 years. And I was a good student; so good that after the 10th grade I went to the courses for people who would like to study English at the University as their major and was the best one among them, as I had been told by teacher. There are 11 grades in Russian school, so I had one more year to study English in the high school. It was clear I had a chance to pass exams to become a student at the language institute. But I went to another area, to the faculty of journalism.

So I continued to study English at the University, at the faculty of journalism. And I don't think the classes were good. We took articles from the English paper called Moscow times and translated it, and it was for a long period. We had no practice. We didn't listen to radio or watched TV, we had never seen the native speaker. We didn't talk much, at all. There were some rare forigners in my life whom I spoke with. That's it.

By the way, I think, the system of language education in Russia seems at least very strange. People can spend years on studying it but to have problems just with chatting with the native speaker. They can't communicate! I'm not telling the same about institutes where English is a major but in general high educated persons might write in their CV that they can read English texts "with a dictionary".

And it was America which helped me a lot to improve English. I was here in summer programs in 1999 and 2000. And after that it was silence for years. Me and English lost each other. I didn't know people who speak English and had no chance to use it at my work. I took some tutor's classes as well but I've got a complex from her to speak it. She always told me that "nobody needs my bad English", so I began to scare to do mistakes. that meant I scared to speak at all.

So when I've got the journalist fellowship in Michigan University last year I was completely unhappy with my English before coming. We could audit any classes at the University but it was a limit of English, so I couldn't take as many English as I wished.

For the whole life English was my dream. I always imagining myself as a successful woman in connection with the perfect English. But I spend a lot of time and money and haven't reached the goal yet. I don't know, if it would ever be possible for me to be perfect in English but I really want too!

So I have some particular tasks to reach to fill myself closer to my general goal. After two sessions here I would like to understand clearly time frames and be possible to do for example "if" or other difficult sentences without grammar mistakes. I want to be able to write information requests for my job or requests to do the interview in different countries and to be replied successfully. I want to enhance dictionary as much as it possible and be able to use those new words in a real life. I think, I need at least 30 words weekly to learn in your class.

My roman is at the height of, I can speak, read, listen to it, and hope I'll do, I will, some visible progress. But will I reach the goal at the end of the program? I don't know.

2 комментария:

  1. Hello Nataliya,

    This is P.J. Wow, I am so amazed by your determination and strong "romance" with English. What a story! There are a couple of things that I want you to know. Around the world it seems that schools have been using the "Grammar and Translation" method to teach English. This was ok when the only need for learning a language is translating books, but it fall far short for people who need to communicate. We now know in the field of Second Language Acquisition that students need to communicate and interact with the language. Here are something to keep in mind.

    1) Comprehensible Input and Scaffolding: To learn a language we need some kind of input that we can understand, but we also need more than that. We need teachers, friends, learning strategies that can help "lift" us up to the next stage of learning. You'll be happy to know that it was a young Russian Psychologist who founded the idea of "scaffolding" and revolutionized the way we look at learning. His name was Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lev_Vygotsky.

    2) Input is not enough. We need output and interaction to help us advance our ideas and test our language theories. Every student learns differently and in a different order, and it's your job now to recognize how you learn and the how you can accomplish these goals.

    For your next blog on Wednesday, I want you to write specifics on how you will accomplish your goals above. What do you need to reach your goals? How will you measure your progress?

    You might want to keep a blog to help you organize your thoughts and progress. This is what this blog is for.


  2. There are several ways to reach a goal.

    As for grammar field. You can read grammar textbooks but still be not be able to use correct grammar while you are speaking. I'm sure I have to reread all rules in which I don't feel myelf comfortable, but at the same time I need to be said about mistakes in my speeches and in blogs. I think I need it as much as possible. Sometimes it would be helpful to say me why it's better to say so-and-so. I've noticed that a lot of American teachers don't really feel comfortable to tell students about their mistakes. I guess, they try not to offend students. But that's why students keep doing mistakes all the time! We are here to learn. I'm sure, that the learning process needs that kinf of feed-back.

    I know for sure that I also have to keep reading as much as possible and auditing, but I guess the second one should be less for those purposes. So, careful reading should help a lot.

    I don't know how I can get the purpose to learn how to write requests about providing information if not ot be learned how to do it. I think I need some special knowledge about it. It can include knowledges how to address the letter, how to make sentances, how to finish it and mostly what is the best way of asking about it. Usually if you have no insiders at the company you would deal with public relations departments, so I need to know how to deal with them.

    As for the third goal to know new words the reading is unlimited resource for it. I think, some quizes at school also might be very helpful for that purpose.