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Reasons for a Lack of Confidence in English Students from China

Reasons for a Lack of Confidence in English Students from China | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Many Chinese students face the common problem that although they spent 10 years studying English at school, they can't pronounce an English sentence correctly, and they are not confident enough to communicate in the language.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Mengru W. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.

Challenges in Developing Productive Skills

Our students struggle to speak in English, they are good at writing and reading, but cannot speak, even though they studied the language from third to 12th grade. Most of the students also study English at a language center, but they still find it hard to completely reach the goal, even when they go to college, speaking English is just like their nemesis.

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This is a common situation for Chinese students, they only learn enough English to pass examinations, they take English as a subject that has to be passed, when in reality, they fail to be able to communicate.

Family Background

Some families spend a huge amount to send their children to expensive centers with foreign teachers, but most students are still afraid to learn. Some students understand English grammar very well and even score high marks in examinations, but their communication skills are very poor and they are often too shy to even attempt to strike up a conversation.

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Personal Issues

One of my fifth-grade students says: "I like learning English and my scores are high, but when my friends and I joined an English club, I found that I was too shy to speak in front of other people." One of my third-grade students says:" I'm Chinese why do I need to speak English, I can't find any reasons to learn English."

Chinese students are often shy, and afraid that if they make a mistake, others will laugh at them, so they try to avoid speaking English in front of others. This is because, in our education systems, schools often teach English following traditional methods, so they are very passive.Also, we believe stander answers, students are trained to like a machine, they can’t allow making any mistake to get high scores if they can’t get high scores, their parents and teacher will blame them, claim they are not good enough, it shatters kids confidence.

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English Environment

On the other hand, They have no environment for communication. That's why their listening and speaking skills are poor and the students become frustrated by this. Schools and universities mostly focus on grammar and don't spend enough time focusing on the four basic skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

In my training center, I have been preparing for this for the past two years by organizing seminars and designing lesson plans in English. I want to provide a fun, friendly environment for the kids, motivate their interest in learning English. Having a drama class is also an effective way to practice listening and speaking. Children enjoy the class, we don’t have a strict teacher, we don’t have a whole bunch of worksheets, we don’t judge, we allow kids to make mistakes. This is to prepare for the next step. When they have grown up we may help them to go further afield.

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I believe that a suitable, friendly environment for them to speak is a must. Learning theory attached to practice, patience, and knowing how to nurture a desire to study English are the necessary elements for a student to be successful.

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