Language learning myths/misconceptions for ESL teachers
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As a trainee or novice ESL teacher, you will no doubt have some cherished beliefs and ideas on how children learn a second language (L2). This article looks briefly and simplistically at five myths/misconceptions (which could also be some of your cherished beliefs and ideas) about how children learn an L2.
The first popular myth/misconception is that children can learn an L2 more quickly and more easily than adults; however, research has shown that adults and adolescents perform better under controlled conditions, except perhaps in pronunciation. The second myth/misconception holds that the younger the child the more skilled it will be in acquiring an L2.
Again, research does not support this view in school environments, but pronunciation seems to be one area where this view has some validity. In view of the foregoing myths/misconceptions, the ESL teacher should not be overly ambitious: children will experience at least as much difficulty as adults in learning ESL; they may even experience more difficult because they do not have the experience in learning that adults have.
The third myth/misconception seems to be entirely counterintuitive: the more time children spend in a structured L2 environment, the quicker they will learn the language; if ESL students are placed in a purely L2 speaking class, they will learn faster than in a bilingual class. Research, however, would tend to indicate that increased exposure only to an L2 class does not necessarily lead to a more rapid acquisition of English.
Thus the ESL teacher should not prohibit the use of the mother tongue (L1) in the classroom since its use also functions as a social link between the home and the school. The fourth myth/misconception holds that once children can speak, they may be considered to have acquired an L2, i.e. some ESL teachers assume that if a child can speak English, it has acquired the language.
Unfortunately, this does not guarantee that the child will be able to engage in more cognitively demanding classroom activities; therefore, as an ESL teacher, you should not be overly impressed simply by a child’s everyday spoken English, and you should avoid streaming a child purely on the basis of oral assessment because it does not reveal any difficulties the child may have in reading and writing.
The last myth/misconception takes the view that all children learn an L2 in the same manner: this is one myth/misconception which can definitely be debunked. ESL teachers must recognise that the children’s cultural experiences influence their values, patterns of language usage, and interpersonal behaviour. As an ESL teacher, you should always try to encourage the values of the children’s cultures – this will produce a more appreciative and amicable classroom environment.
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LAST UPDATED: 27th August 2021
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Personal information used for direct marketing
If we are using your personal information to send you direct marketing, you have the right to object at any time. If you exercise this right, we will stop processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes. However, we may keep your information on a “suppression list” to ensure your information is not added to any marketing lists at some point in the future.
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- Please note, Everything TEFL Ltd is allowed to carry out automated decisions with no human intervention where you have given your explicit consent to this processing (although you have the right to withdraw your consent).
- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
- The automated decision is necessary to enter into, or perform a contract, or complete a contract involving you and the Everything TEFL Ltd.
- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
- If you have provided your information to Everything TEFL Ltd, you have the right to request and receive a copy of that information in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- You also have the right to ask us to send the information we hold about you to another organisation.
- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
Everything TEFL Ltd
28 – 32 Pembroke Street,
Republic of Ireland
Telephone: +353 (1) 554 6227
Email: [email protected]
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.