The two articles in this week really strike a chord with me. They remind me of many things about my English learning. In this blog, I would like to talk about how attitudes and ideologies from diverse groups affect my English learning experience.
Attitudes and ideologies from my parents
My mother told me, fifty years ago, in China, as long as people can speak English, it is very good. But since twenty years ago, with the development of Chinese economic reform, not only should people know how to speak English, but also they need to speak Standardized English (Native English). My parents perceived and predicted that speaking native English will be a survival tool for me in the future. Why is English a survival tool? Because they think native English will make me adapt better in a globalized environment so that I can live better. They demonstrated their beliefs by sending me to a bilingual (English-Chinese) school in another city when I was six. I guessed that was probably the toughest time in my whole life but I indeed learned a lot.
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This summer, I worked for seven weeks with a company called LbE Japan. This company works with the Japan Tourist Bureau (JTB) and Guy Healy Japan to provide intensive 3-day English summer camps for students. By inviting about 40 university students from America, they aim to give Japanese students the experience of living in America. The students got the ultimate ‘American’ experience – complete with American carnivals, dance parties, and campfire. By the end of August, we had undergone 30 USA Summer Camp sessions, and had had over 1000 attendees. “Let’s go change some lives!” was our unofficial motto – we were ready to help the kids learn to love English.
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Having been learning English for more than 17 years, I have been appraised for multiple times, “Hey, your English is good.” Considering my English learning process, I believe that Your English is Good conveys more information and reflects my English improvement in different places. However, as I am doing my Master in Canada, I realize that I still have a long way to go before I am able to say My English is Good confidently.
Initially, Your English is Good was connected with pronunciation. I started to learn English when I was 4. As an English teacher, my mother suggested that I should watch the videos and listen to the tapes very carefully so as to master a good pronunciation. Her words were powerful and impressed me deeply. I thereby won many English speech competitions throughout my primary and middle school years. “Do you know him? His English is really good!”; “He is really like an American when he speaks English!” I used to enjoy these words, which indicated that I was really born with the talent for learning a foreign language well.
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