DIFFERENT Countries, DIFFERENT ESL problems

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Depending on where you are learning English in the world will definitely have some impact on what your special ESL problems will be.

I am going to put together some countries and what I know of the ESL learning issues are, and please feel free to react, add or deny anything written here as I haven’t worked in all these places but do know some people who have.

Country ESL teaching experience
ASIA
Japan –          Have a problem pronouncing certain letters – ‘l’

–          Find it hard to meet native speakers to practice with unless they are in the largest cities

–          Find learning English expensive

–          Still have a lot of pressure from culture to stay within the norm

–          Must follow the rules of the family without question, sometimes to the negative of their English skills

 

Korea –          Have a problem some pronunciation

–          Find it very hard to meet native speakers to practice with unless they are in the largest cities

–          Find learning English expensive, but it’s getting cheaper

–          Still have a lot of pressure from culture to stay within the norm

–          Have a lot of social pressure from peers to be cool and not speak

 

China –          Have a problem pronouncing certain letters

–          Find it hard to meet native speakers to practice with unless they are in the largest cities

–          Find learning English now easier due to the influx of native speakers into primary and secondary schools

–          Still have a lot of pressure from culture to stay within the norm

–          Thanks to the government’s push on English, now most people have something to a lot of English ability – particularly in the big cities

 

SOUTH EAST ASIA
Vietnam –          Have a problem pronouncing a lot of English words and as a result suffer from poor communication ability in English

–          Find it hard to meet native speakers to practice with unless they are in the largest cities

–          Have a big desire to learn English but to learn it with natives is still very expensive

–          Still have a lot of pressure from friends to not do something uncool

 

Thailand –          Have a problem pronouncing certain letters

–          Find it hard to meet native speakers to practice with unless they are in the largest cities

–          Find learning English expensive, the people who can speak English have often been to international schools and are form rich families, but the poor people find it difficult to afford it, so pick up a lot of English from the street only

 

Malaysia –          Have a problem with the pride of the Manglish they speak, and so for a native speaker to listen to them they find many deeply engrained grammatical errors in the speaking that will never be corrected because it is part of their Malaysian identity

–          Find it hard to meet native speakers to practice with unless they are in the largest cities

–          Find learning English expensive if they want a native speaker

–          As Malaysia was a British colony most people of the older generation can speak English perfectly but the young people have lost the language and are trying to get it back.

 

AFRICA
Generally –          Find it hard to meet native speakers to practice with unless they are in the largest cities

–          Find learning English very expensive if it is with natives, however as there are a few old British colonies there, the English is still present and considered important and easy to learn due to the number of local English teachers

–          Find the speaking of English better than writing of English

 

SOUTH AMERICA
Generally ?
US/CANADA/UK/AUSTRALIA/NZ
Generally –          Though full of natives, the accents often are difficult for ESL students to comprehend (particularly in England)

–          Often face cultural issues in the western world that don’t fit with their own cultural and religious backgrounds

–          Often suffer from culture shock and home sickness

 

EUROPE
Generally –          Easy to find natives to talk with however in some countries learning English is not culturally considered publicly acceptable due to cultural tensions e.g. France and England

–          Those who need English courses can’t usually afford them

–          People speak a lot of ‘street’ English

–          Some people are native speakers and have never set foot outside their country! All thanks to the internet and social media.

–          Do a lot of one to one business English as time is of the essence

MIDDLE EAST
Saudi Arabia –          Have a problem pronouncing certain letters – ‘p’ and ‘a’

–          Find it hard to meet native speakers to practice with unless they are in the largest cities

–          Find English language schools in most cities

–          Understand the importance of learning English and so do what they can to learn it

–          Still have a lot of pressure from culture to stay within the norm but this is changing fast

–          Are much better at speaking than writing because they are not shy to speak or say what they think

Yemen ?
Oman –          Many people do speak English because it was a British colony, but still some people in the remote areas struggle with it
Kuwait/Bahrain

/UAE

–          Same as Oman in terms of the British influence however most people learn English through high school and language centres

–          Most students can afford to learn English but Arabic is still the first language

–          Same issues with pronunciation as the rest of the Arab world

–          UAE in particular have a very diverse range of nationalities from Asia and Africa, so the issues related to those countries are still present in their English pronunciation

Iran –          Used to have a problem with accessing anything English however this is changing now

–          The drive to learn English is so powerful they will do anything do get it and use it

–          Persian still the first and only language outside the cities

–          Most people now are finding the English courses less expensive in the cities but still difficult to find native speakers to practice with inside Iran

India –          Though a British colony over half the population don’t speak English, saying that at most schools English is taught like a first language and all professionals today can speak English as their first language

–          The poor still find it difficult to find people to speak English with and difficult to afford good English language schools, but this is changing too

Central Asia –          Nobody speaks English much and most have a very negative reaction to learning it

–          Still cannot see the value of learning English

–          These countries are still in transition in all respects

 

So as you can see there are a lot of different types of English issues out there. Let me know which you think are true or not true or different to what you believe.

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