Friday, 19 August 2011

The 5 biggest problems in teaching a foreign language

Every subject has issues and problems. Every teacher has complex situations that must deal with. It is normal, but sometimes, those situations just really make you feel upset, angry or just giving up. Well, don't worry, it is part of teaching. I myself, have dealt with many difficulties in teaching English as a foreign language. But I will share with you which, in my opinion, are the biggest problems in teaching a foreign language as English. And I will tell you some possible solutions.

1.-Lack of Motivation: The first problem is trying to deal with the apathy of the students. Most of them are really not interested in learning a new language. Actually, they don't see the point in learning another different language. And this is obvious, if my students speak Spanish, and we don't have English speaking countries as neighbors, big chances are that they won't feel motivated to study it.

Solution: Forget in teaching English, just to speak English. It is a lost battle. What you have to do is teach the usefulness of learning English. After all, it is the students who will know how they will use the language and its purpose.

2.-Being away from the source: And by this, what I mean to say is the problem of just seeing the language in the class, and from then on, nothing. Students don't have the chances of practicing the language outside of the classroom.

Solution: Use other ways, like music, movies, chat, internet. Some students like listening to music in English, so use that to continue practicing English. My experience says that homework doesn't work, it is an obligation, and they don't enjoy it.

3.-Behavior: Bad behavior brings distractions and causes a messy class.

Solution: Conduct that behavior in other ways of releasing energy, like activities, games, contests. Students will enjoy competing.

4.-Mother Tongue: It is too strong to deal with a new language. Students tend to think in their native tongues, so the result is a kind of Spanglish grammar.

Solution: This is really hard, but one way is giving them the steps, the form, the patterns of the grammar. So, even if it sounds a bit boring, they will follow the steps to write a sentence correctly.

5.-The isolation: It seems that English subject is like an island, away from the rest of subjects which tend to share something in common, Spanish language.

Solution: Create networks with other teachers, even if the subject seems to be so different, do it, because you can use their contents to be worked with the English language. It will seem more relevant because the students will be studying the same twice.


  1. This is an interesting post, Julian! definitely agree with you!

  2. Thanks for your comment Jonah. It is difficult trying to teach English, considering all those walls. But as a teacher, I must try to find a solution and a way to help them in learning.

  3. Learning foreign languages is indeed very important nowadays.

  4. I just would like you to be aware that there are several spelling mistakes in your post. The first situation should be situations. It also should say . . . in teaching English. posible has two s' = possible. Under the first solution it should read . . .What you have to do is teach - instead of teaching. Number 2 problem and solution should be spelled practicing not practising. And it should read . . .listening to music - not listening music. Under third problem distraction should have an S on the end and I would make it read . . . causes a messy class or classroom. I hope this is not offensive but something I always appreciate is someone fixing my mistakes so that I can learn from them. Hope this is helpful

    1. Camille, I really don't feel offended. Not at all. I really appreciate people like you who can help me to improve. Even the post is old, I appreciate that you have read it and have left a comment. I corrected all the spelling mistakes, I hope. It is just... sad to know even though I teach English, I still have spelling problems, but well... I am a human :) Most of the mistakes were because I was thinking in Spanish, not in English. thanks again.

  5. The tips that you give are all good. It can help a certain student to improve their writing skills in English. Also, in that way, it may lead them in to a good writer who can write well in English language.

    TOEFL score


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...