Aug 4, 2008

Recruiting: Learning English Online.

My girlfriend is thinking of leaving me.

Don't worry! Aika isn't thinking of "leaving me" figuratively ("to leave someone" is an English metaphor that we use when people break up") but literally leaving me, for a few hours a week, to learn English in a language school.

Although this isn't much a blow to my masculinity as figuratively "leaving me" would be, it's still weird for me, since I've been an English teacher for four years!

But there are quite compelling reasons for the girlfriend of a language nut like me to go to a language school. For one thing, at a language school, one meets other learners of similar levels. This is important for Aika since all the other English speakers that she knows either speak English much more badly than she does or much much better. Her English is better than our Chinese friends, since she speaks to me so often, but, as one might expect, is much worse than our foreign friends, since most come from English speaking countries. So she either picks up bad habits from bad English speakers or can't follow what is being spoken. At a language school she'd probably be somewhere where she would understand most of what is being said.

Also, in a language school, curriculum is the same for a group of people so they help and encourage each other. Language is after all a way to reach out to people, and the more people the more sense of community.

But there are also downsides to going to a language school. Firstly, they cost money. And although things in China are cheaper than many places in the world, a course at a language school still isn't free. Secondly is the convenience factor. Enrolling in a language school involves actually getting to the school, signing up, then attending lessons.

I'd been weighing the pluses and minuses of attending a language school, when I decided that it was too much bother. Although the sense of community in language schools is great, it's not worth paying money for. Particularly since online communities are so numerous. All one would need to do to teach English to someone would be to find said communities and harness their power. But where are these communities? That's where you come in!

I've been teaching using Side By Side's textbook number three for a few months now, and I've found them really good. I'm going to be taking Aika through this textbook. But I'll be needing your help.

Each "lesson" will just be a post, written by me. It will be a few instructions or questions, and contributors will be asked to write something as a reply to each post. I'll write the first lesson after this introduction!

If you're a native English speaker, or speak English well enough to qualify (and let's just say that if you've followed everything that I've written so far that you do qualify!) and you're willing to help, I'd appreciate it if you just clicked "reply" and wrote something.

If you're learning English, feel free to contribute as much as you want. We will correct you when you're wrong!

Ok? Understand? No matter, I'm sure everything will be clear after the first lesson. Here we go!!!


Hyunwoo Sun said...

Too bad that Aika is not taking full advantage of her multilingual boyfriend, especially when he's a native speaker of English! Hehe, but like you wrote above, she's got her reasons, and I'm sure that little signs of improvement in her English will come to you as nice surprises!

And thank you for taking the initiative to start this project! I'll be sure to join in and let more people know about this! Thank you Max!

Nicholas Cripps said...

Good luck on this project, I'll try to contribute as much as I can...

Yiwei said...

How lucky you are!
I'd love to have a multilingual boyfriend and I'm dying also to have a multicultural family...learning all the time from another one,nothing could be better than this...

I'll follow your English lesson and thank you very much! ^^