The International House Intermediate class is a mixed genre class, with student ranging in age from 25 to 50+ years old. It contains a combination of abilities and levels from lower intermediate to higher imediate. Class Profile The first language of the students varies; covering such native languages as France, Spanish, Italian, Mexican, Arabic, Somalia, Portuguese and Russian. The students have a wide knowledge of other languages as well as their native language with the exception of an older female student who has no formal education in English Language and only her native Language.
Education The level of education in the class is very high. For example, Student S has 8 years experience in the English Language as it was part of the national curriculum in her school in her home country. This would be the same for all of the younger students in the class. Student L has also had the school system but also attended private lessons to further his knowledge. The older students have no formal grounding in an educational sense but have gained knowledge of the English through the a synoptic approach by travelling and life experience.
When speaking with the students it is clear they are very highly educated, holding degrees in various fields – History, Graphic Design and a combined degree in Arabic and History etc. Student N is a Religion teacher in her native country. It is evident that some students learn a new language more quickly than others; there are many factors which maybe affecting their progression. Such as cultural factors i. e. the shock of being in a new environment where you are no longer the native speaker. The students’ expectation of grasping the English language could be disappointing and exhausting to themselves causing a negative effect .
The students have highlighted the Northern Ireland accent is a major difficultly. Also many of the students get to only practice their English in the classroom, this is because they do not get the opportunity to speak to the local community or native speakers as often as they would like. Native speakers are linguistic models and can provide appropriate feedback. Clearly, second-language learners who have no extensive access to native speakers are likely to make slower progress, particularly in the oral aspects of language acquisition.
The several students appear to in the Intrinsic category in relation to motivation. This kind of motivation has been found to correlate strongly with educational achievement. Clearly, students who enjoy language learning and take pride in their progress will do better than those who don’t. The class also contains Extrinsic motivated students, for example, those students who need to learn English in order to take a place in the local working community or to communicate with a new English speaking boyfriend are likely to make greater efforts and thus greater progress.
Students such a Student F who have acquired general knowledge and experience are in a stronger position to develop a new language than those who haven’t. The student, for example, who has already lived in 3 different countries and been exposed to various languages and cultures has a stronger base for learning a further language than the student who hasn’t had such experiences. The motivation varies in the class there is a student who is learning to improve his everyday English fluency in order to interact more effectively in the work place and in social situations.
His approach to learning is very different to the more articulate student whom wants to become proficient; when he returns to his native country he will get a much higher paid job and status because he has both spoken and written English. The preferred learning styles within class are flexible the student choose more grammar and analytical information in relation to the language and appreciate a breakdown of such on the White Board by the Teacher. Some of the class could be categorised as Active and moving toward Studial.
They prefer the classroom but from there want to find out more about the language. You also have older students who have come to the country and have only had experiential study of the Language. This is evident in the Text/Written exercises where they struggle with comprehension but are good with Listening and Vocul. As an intermediate class Listening and Reading are their major strengths. This is evident in the exercises carried out during class. The student can pinpoint themselves where they feel they need to improve. The student are eager to learn and this shines through in class.