My Foreign Language Learning History
Talking about learning history, it is a big chance for me to review my English language learning memory. I will tell you when and why I started learning English?, how my learning about this subject from the start till now, working experiences, brief summary of learning and teaching strategies.
Of course, when I was in primary school, I only focused on the required subjects in my level such as Khmer, Mathematics etc. At that time, English was not included in primary school’s programme, so I did not even plan to learn this language, though I knew that It is one of those subjects in secondary school. In 2006, I was in sixth grade; I have a friend who started learning English before me. From day to day, he persuaded me to study a free English-class with him at one local pagoda. Because of his convincing, finally I decided to go to study with him by saying that “ yes, I will try to go to study with you a day. If it is easy, I will continue learning with you. He said yes, OK. ”On that day we went to learn English together with a monk who was our teacher. In my first day of learning English, I couldn’t even know and read letters A, B and C. Anyway, I felt that I was really interested in learning this language.
One year later, it was time to move to secondary school. I was happy when I started learning in my seventh grade, because I could read around thirty per cent of the English book, Bok One , and speak a few sentences of English, classroom language. Although I studied hard in my secondary and high school, English was still my problem because I could not speak it out. Learning English almost seven years, from sixth grade to twelfth grade, I observed that it was slightly increased, but it was the main capital for me to pursue my Bachelor Degree.
In 2013, I started continuing my Bachelor in English Literature at the Institute of New Khmer; it was also the time when I started my job as a teacher of English at a language centre. Working while studying it was a hard time, but it really helped me because I had a great chance to practice what I had learnt. Finally, I found that I had a dramatic improvement.
Talking about learning and teaching strategies, I want to focus on two aspects, my teachers and myself, and two contexts, in high school and university. For my language learning, from sixth grade to twelfth grade, I usually repeat words or sentences, sometimes grammar rules to remember due to no one to talk to, I mean I rarely do a real practice, and I often imitate teacher’s speeches because I want to be like the way teachers do. Moreover, I believed that repeating and imitating were good for me. For teaching, teacher centered was applied mostly during that time, so students have less time to practice with each other; they just sit and listen to the teacher and copy what he/she writes down on the chalkboard. In opposite, It has dramatically changed when I was in university because I have more chances to practice such as group work, presentation etc. Teachers just play role as a guider or helper. It seems that he/she tends to use the student center in the context. As mentioned above, I couldn’t judge which one is better whether teacher centered or student centered. For my everyday teaching, I mix these two approaches, and I have to be flexible. Finally, I want to say that being a teacher is not easy as people think.