English essay on:Language learning approaches
English is one language that every person, from any part of the world, needs to know so that they can communicate their thoughts with people around them. Right from the first day of school, teachers start teaching the kids regarding how to read and speak English. People from different parts of the world speak English with a different accent but this is not the right thing to do as English has its own accent and that should be followed universally. There are various language learning approaches that will allow the kids to speak, write and read proper English. Different people have different opinion regarding the approaches and different schools opt for different approaches as per their requirement. Parents, today, are very particular about the English that their kids are going to speak because they know that English is the future and this language cannot be replaced by any other.
Phonics is one of the common approaches that are used by teachers for language learning. This method is used in schools so that the children are trained, right from the starting to speak correctly. Phonics approach can be stated as an approach that allows the learner to understand the connection between the alphabet and the sound that is created. Embedded phonics is one of the methods of phonics approach. This approach is used by teachers only when they think that a particular child is not able to pronounce a particular word or sound. Second is the synthetic phonic approach; this approach deals with pronouncing and reading at the same time. The best part about this approach is that it allows the child to even read an unknown word properly. Third one is the Analogy Phonics approach; this approach is different than that of the other two. In this approach the teacher will collect a list of words that sound similar so that the children can understand the similarity as well as the difference. For example, a teacher will collect words like that of can, man, ran, ban, fan, pan and others so that the kids can understand how to spell ‘an’ and at the same time, they can also understand the different sounds made by ‘c’, ‘m’, ‘r’, ‘b’, ‘f’, ‘p’ and others (AStepAtATime).
Phonics has a lot of advantages as compared to that of any other language learning approaches and hence, it is used widely. Phonics approach allows the child to understand and pronounce words accurately. With the help of this approach, the teacher need not teach the student to spell each word individually as they will learn the art of pronouncing all the possible words in English. Phonics not only deals with words, it allows children to spell the complete word rather than just reading the bits and pieces of it. Phonics approach also helps the children to write new words. If a teacher is dictating notes then the children, who have learnt English by way of a phonics approach, will write the proper spelling as they can concentrate on the pronunciation and write it accordingly (SuperPages).
It cannot be said that phonics approach is perfect as it also has certain disadvantages. Many researchers have said that this isn’t a perfect method to learn English. There are various alphabets or a group of alphabets that needs to be spelled in a similar way but if a child uses a phonics approach for learning then he will not be able to understand the difference. For example, in English “F” and “Ph” is spelled in a similar manner. Pronunciation of long and difficult words also becomes a difficult task by way of phonics approach. If a person is delivering a speech and if all of a sudden, he comes across a long word then pronouncing it will be a difficult task and hence, the speaker will be disturbed for at least a fraction of seconds (eHow).
The whole language approach is defined as an approach which allows the learner to read, write and understand the language. Many teachers who are passionate about departing knowledge to students prefer this approach rather than that of anything else. This approach allows the learner to read and write simultaneously thus, the writer need not follow any instructions blindly without understanding. This method simply believes that the learner needs to understand the language that they speak and hence, this approach ignores errors like that of spelling and grammar because the followers of this approach believe technical correctness is not the only thing that completes the language (ReadingHorizons 2010).
There are various advantages of whole language approach and hence, many schools are adopting this method. Whole language allows children to read and write at the same time. If a kid is trained by way of whole language approach then they don’t need to pronounce the word in the mind and then read it aloud. The whole language approach improves the understanding of the learner by way of allowing the learner to read and write about things that they know thus, allowing them to improve their language. If a kid is asked to write an essay about mango tree then there are possibilities that he might not be aware about it but if he is asked to write about his family then he will be aware about it. This allows the writer to express the thoughts, by way of using a variety of words, that they have in their mind rather than that by using the words that they know to complete the sentence (NFB 1994).
There are certain disadvantages as well to whole language approach and hence, many parents aren’t comfortable with this approach. With this method, a kid never understands what pronunciation is. They are just asked to memorize the word, till the time, they can find this word in between the pool of other words. This approach assumes that every kid can learn the language by way of seeing it but this approach forgets that every kid cannot be a visual learner. If a kid is having Dyslexia then they don’t get an idea regarding what they see and hence, learning by way of whole language approach becomes a very difficult task for them. Whole language approach ignores technical correctness like that of spelling and grammar and this can be a constraint to their growth in the future (eHow).
There is a lot of debate going on between teachers, parents and experts regarding the language learning approach, phonics or whole language, being used in classrooms. Many parents support phonics approach as they believe that this approach will allow their kids to spell English appropriately and at the same time, many parents support whole language as they allow the kids to understand the things that they read and write. As a solution to this problem, many schools have started using phonics and whole language approach together. The usage of both the approaches allows the teachers to provide the benefits of both the approaches to the children (Children’sBooksAndReading).
It can be said that learning English will tend to remain incomplete without phonics or whole language approach. Both the approaches have its own advantages and disadvantages. It can be said that phonics approach is the foundation of the house and whole language is the house itself. The house cannot stand without a foundation and at the same time, the foundation is useless without a house. Phonics allows the person to pronounce English properly and whole language approach completes English by way of making alphabets as words. Kids, who learnt English by way of combining both the approaches, will be much smarter than kids who just use a single learning approach (Helium 2010).
Kids at different age group, learn things differently so one should understand it before they choose on the approach. Infants do visual learning as they learn the things that they see so infants can be thought as per phonics approach. Toddlers repeat the word that adults speak so they should be trained by whole language approach. School kids learn the language by way of observing the things around and at the same time, they pay attention to sounds that they can hear. Preschool is the foundation of a kid so they should be trained to observe the language so that they can pronounce it accurately and they should also been given access to new words every day so that they can improve on the communication as well. Phonics doesn’t train the kids to see a group of alphabets as words and whole language approach doesn’t allow kids to learn the technical correctness but this problem is sorted when both the approaches are combined. With the help of combining both the approaches, the kids speak English accurately and at the same time, they remember and learn new words so that they can use it as and when required in the future (ParentSmart 1996).
Every kid is not same so one need to understand that an approach that is suitable to one kid may not necessarily suit the other kid as well. Parents should, first and foremost, understand each approach and its advantages and disadvantages so that they can decide on the approach that their kid should use to learn English language. Many experts have researched and found that one approach can never replace the advantages of both the techniques and hence, it is always better to opt for both the approaches than that of any one. If English language learning isn’t given right importance at the right age then this lack of ability will be seen in the kids for a lifetime.
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