Issues in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (Tesol): a Review of Literature

English has become the global language (Crystal, 2003; Murata & Jenkins, 2009). English is a language that is used in news, advertisement and films even in non-English speaking countries. In addition, English has become important in the world of employment. Many job seekers in non-English speaking countries are required to master English. They have to prepare application letters, other documents and interview in English. More and more non-English speaking countries use English for their daily communication as a second language, and even as the official language in academic settings and government offices (Crystal, 2003). For example, Singapore has used English in academic settings since 1816 and it has become more and more popular in other settings such as employment since 1900 along with Malay, which became Singapore’s national language in 1959 (Lim, 2004).

People have always referred to English as British or American English, but since English has become global, there have been a wide variety of Englishes (Crystal, 2003). The English used in Singapore is usually called Singapore English or Singlish (Lim, 2004; Crystal, 2003). Singlish has its own characteristics such as its strong cultural influence, which make it different from English used in other countries. As the need for English language ability develops, governments in non-English speaking countries try to introduce English as early as possible. For example, the government of Turkey introduces English to fourth graders (Kirkgöz, 2008) and English language teaching has become a great industry (Crystal, 2003). In addition, the teaching of English to speakers of other languages has become of interest to a large number of researchers and there has been no agreement on the best way of teaching English. Teaching English in the 1960s and 1970s focused more on grammar lessons (Soler & Martinez-Flor, 2008). In the early 1980s, Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) became popular because it focused on the communicative competence of the students rather than on accuracy (Widdowson, 1979; Hughes, 1983).

Technology has also influenced the way English is taught in schools. The development of the Internet has encouraged some teachers to take advantage of it. Computer-assisted Language Learning (CALL) has made big impacts on teachers’ ways of teaching. In addition, many teachers use blogs, computer software, and other media to work on students’ creativity and confidence to communicate in English because the media provides authentic materials for the students to learn (Yang, 2009; Mitchell, 2008). Because English is often a foreign language, not used in daily conversation, it has attracted scholars to do research on the languages used to teach English. Is the use of the first language recommended? What is the ideal portion of the first language in foreign language classes? Should English be used all the time during the lessons? How would teachers avoid misunderstandings in English classes?

This article outlines the three major issues in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL). The first part of the paper will discuss the techniques considered effective in teaching English. The next part will outline the use of technology in teaching English and the last part will explain the use of first languages in TESOL classrooms.

Name : Sri Rejeki Murtiningsih

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