INTEGRATING ENGLISH LANGUAGE IN YOUR CLASSES
It is impossible to deny that we live in a globalized world. Everyday, frontiers among countries are less clear. Today, we are able to access information that has been generated in the other end of the world in a matter of seconds, or work with colleagues in other parts of the world easily. And in this process, one of the competencies that has become fundamental is communication.
Now, how can people communicate if there are so many languages? Well, whether we like it or not, nowadays English has been considered the international language. It is no secret that is has become the language of business and of many industries, like tourism. English has spread quickly around the world, to the point that there are more people who speak it as a second language than those who do as their first language.
So, if speaking English is so important to get along in this world, why shouldn’t we, as teachers, emphasize its use? It could seem that the only place where our students are not practicing their English is in the very same classroom, which is a contradiction, given the fact that they are going to need it for their professional development and career. Yes, we all know that speaking English is an essential requirement to get a good job in any country’s market.
Therefore, integrating the English language in your curriculum could be a great step towards your students’ development as professionals. And how can you do it? Well, everything is a process, so you should take it step by step, progressively. You could start with small things, such as videos or readings in English, which can illustrate the point that you are trying to clarify in class. Small articles can lead to the reading of chapters, and finally to full-length books; as well as a video or a reading, can lead to small assignments that must be completed in English, or even debate and an oral report.
You have to remember that not all students are familiar with these practices, so a planned progression is the key to success. Other important considerations to keep in mind are:
Make sure you fully understand whatever material you are presenting to your students. You have to be able to explain any doubts that may arise.
Before planning anything, make a diagnosis to see your students’ level of English. If it is too uneven, you can provide different options of material to meet every student’s needs.
Be accessible and flexible enough to accompany your students during the process. At some point, you will have to clarify some technical language, explain certain paragraphs, or correct misinterpretations.
Constantly evaluate students’ attitudes and perceptions towards this practice, so that you can ensure they are comfortable and actually learning.
Remember that integrating English to your curriculum is not an end in itself, but rather an important means to achieving a higher end: the learning and the integral development of your students.