The Difficulties of Teaching English Language: The Relationship between Research and Teaching

By Derakhshan, Ali; Shirmohammadli, Marjan | International Journal of Linguistics, January 1, 2015 | Go to article overview

The Difficulties of Teaching English Language: The Relationship between Research and Teaching


Derakhshan, Ali, Shirmohammadli, Marjan, International Journal of Linguistics


Abstract

Researchers have conducted a large number of studies to solve problems and help teachers to overcome their difficulties. They have also tried to find the relationship between the result of research and their teaching. Learning English as a second or foreign language has received a lot of attention, so teachers have to find some well-planned and organized ways to facilitate the process of learning and teaching. This paper is a brief review on teaching English as a foreign language and why learners are interested in learning English. It also discusses why teachers have difficulties with teaching English language, and what they should do to facilitate the teaching process. It shows the relationship between language pedagogy and research as well as research and teaching. It also deals with a set of strategies and methods that teachers can apply as instruments to improve their students' learning English.

Keywords: Teaching English, Second language acquisition, Methods and strategies

1. Introduction

English language is a global language. Learning English improves the individual's status and opportunities in education, technology, global trades, and business. Moreover, English plays an important role like a channel of communication (Kannan, 2009). Teaching English has been an important issue in countries where English is not their first language, so learning second language is difficult for L2 learners because they cannot use English in real life situations, because they should learn sentences in textbooks not in a real environment. Therefore, teachers should always look for useful strategies to reduce the difficulties of teaching English language (Long, 1969; Chen, 2007; Nunn, 2011), and they have to deal with many challenges and often have questions about the best ways to teach. Some of these common questions are as follows:

* How can teachers teach English as a foreign or second language in different situations?

* What do teachers know about second language learners with different abilities?

* What are the benefits of learning English language?

* What can teachers perform in the classroom to facilitate the procedure of second language acquisition?

* What should teachers expect the second language learners in the classroom to be able to do?

Teaching is a multidimensional process, and teachers should pay enough attention to all skills of students such as: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. These skills are educated by teachers and learnt by students. There are various strategies that researchers have introduced based on their studies (Oxford & Green, 1996; Philp & Tognini, 2009; Williams, 1995). These strategies may involve all skills. Researchers have different opinions about various strategies in teaching. For example, Nassaji (2012) believes that there is a relationship between teaching and research, so teachers and researchers learn from one another. Researchers (Crookes, 1998; Jenkins, 2000; Zaman, 2004) have conducted several studies to prove the interplay between research study and teaching, and they have suggested helpful strategies to facilitate teaching and learning process.

2. Review of the Related Literature

2.1 Conducting SLA Research

Teaching English as a foreign language is a general issue and researchers have investigated problems in all aspects of teaching process. Some researchers have disputed that one of the vital reasons to do SLA research is to facilitate second language teaching (Larsen-Freeman, Long, & Pica, as cited in Nassaji, 2012, p.338). Learning strategies is generally defined as "the special thoughts or behaviors that individuals use to help learners comprehend, learn, or retain new information (O'Malley & Chamot, as cited in Ganbarzehi, 2014, p.385). Lightbown (as cited in Nassaji, 2012, p.385) stated although researchers assume that many studies in second language acquisition are fruitful for language teaching, but the implications of such strategies should be done judiciously. …

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