in this short entry I wish to share some insight about my PhD dissertation, along with the topic that currently fascinates me in relation to language teaching and studying.
For a starter, I’m a teacher of English and as such, have experienced quite a few obstacles of reaching proficiency in teaching English to different levels of students. The most crucial aspect of this was – in my personal point of view – the difficulty arising from speaking a foreign language fluently – or with just a minimal level of hesitation – despite all the years spent with practising English. And to our shame, the current Hungarian scene is no better either: despite teaching English as a foreign language since the 1980’s the current level of knowledge regarding foreign languages is pretty pathetic for us Hungarians, with only 6% of students learning two or more languages at our local schools.
And only a fraction of our teenager and adult population speaking at least one language actively (besides their mother tongue, of course).
To make matters worse, the current Hungarian government has just officially announced that all those who wish to enter higher education in Hungary, must be ready to have at least a B2/intermediate level of knowledge of a foreign language by the time they enroll on their very first course. All this should come to pass in 2020. To be fair, they have also announced that all those, who couldn’t acquire a language certificate up to the present moment, shall not fear, for their diplomas will be released to liven up the current labour market.
With bearing all that in mind I came to the conclusion that I need to focus my English teaching on speech fluency, as well as not neglecting the other skills required. However, last year my life came to a change: I withdraw from the teaching profession for a number of reasons and found myself in the social sphere instead, working as a legal guardian. Despite this shift in my professional life, I’m still deeply concerned with the issue of speaking a foreign language properly and effectively and as such, choose an adequate topic for my PhD dissertation: the role and usage of communication strategies in teaching English. To my thinking, these techniques are a possible boon for any language learner regardless of the language they must study in school or are studying for their own purposes and have a hard time holding their own in a conversation.
But what are communication strategies? To put it simply, they are methods and techniques that enable one to become a more fluent speaker of the language by helping them avoid the phenomenon called, “communication breakdown”. A perfect example of such methods is the use of synonyms and antonyms when the proper word simply doesn’t pop up in our head.
If you are further interested in the topic of communication strategies, feel free to like this post or leave a comment pushing me for further information and I shall describe these techniques and methods in detail in future entries.
Let me hear what YOU think about the issue of speaking a language fluently. How do YOU resolve situations where the cat got your tongue and YOU have to say something but YOU can’t? Do YOU feel that YOU are prepared for such occasions? Leave YOUR feedback in the comment section below.