The Importance of Friendship in an ESL Classroom
I firmly believe that as a non-English speaker it wouldn't hurt to make friends in the classroom. and besides, it would be very advantageous for both parties too. There is a lot of reason why an individual is hesitant to approach their classmate. He/she could be self-conscious, intimidated to engage because he/she is not confident in their English ability, they are afraid to approach just because they are too shy.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Odessa M. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Role of a Teacher
That's why Teacher's role is very crucial in breaking that barrier. A simple activity such as engaging students to talk and think about a certain topic. Playing games would be a good start to make the students more comfortable with their classmate and continuous discussion among them will follow. Teachers can also facilitate group activities to motivate shy students to engage. it would be nice if a shy student can befriend a very engaging classmate and that student can influence him/her to learn English better.
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Practicing in speaking English with a person that you are comfortable with is a great start in honing your English ability. just a simple informal conversation will help,(like talking about their favorite food). if the student is well-motivated and has the goal to be fluent in Speaking, Writing, Comprehending in English that would be a good reason why they need to make friends in the classroom.
Although with our technology there are a lot of resources wherein you can learn English but nothing beats the activity of practicing it with someone especially when you're at school. It also applies when you're at home although your family members don't speak English. it could be a good opportunity to practice with them the lesson that they had learned from school. Practice makes perfect. Fun communication will also engage the students to participate and therefore they are building a friendly relationship. Having friends in the classroom makes you feel that you belong to the group. and having a friend is a part of life. being isolated in the classroom won't do good personally.
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Challenge and Support
Having a friend in the classroom especially in a large group will be a big help as both of you can interact and study together and can ask questions comfortably. although having friends can influence a person in two ways (good and bad way) but it is up to that person to decide where the wall ends when it comes to friendship. if the student is having a hard time coping with the lesson having a friend in the classroom can help them understand the lesson better in a manner on how he/she understands the lesson. but I think the teacher should be present to listen to. just to make sure that what he or she is teaching with their classmate is correct.
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Making friends in the classroom can partially give the students the motivation to come to class. just because they are excited to see them again and chat with them and learn together. Every person's character is unique in every way. therefore there might be several solitary students in the class. and it would take awhile for them to come out of their shell. but in the end, it's all about their desire to learn that matters.
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