English course is a part of mandatory education in China, so Chinese students have to take the English test in their entrance exam to university or high school. Almost every Chinese student is required to take English course since they are in elementary school. I have learned English for ten years. During the ten years, there are many stories about my English learning experience. There are two different attitudes that I met in learning English. The first one we called it “aim at communication”, and second one is called “aim at exam”. The learners with first attitude consider English language as a tool for communication, so they prefer to learn English by watching films and TV shows in English. On contrary, the learners who hold the second attitude treat English as a science just like math, physics and so on. They pay most attention to what is required for test and almost ignore what is not included in test. Their goal of English learning just is to obtain a high score in English test. As a Chinese student, I struggle between the two attitudes in my entire school career. I would like to talk about the story between those two attitudes and me.
The first period of learning English is when I was in elementary school. In the beginning of learning English, I did not realize the meaning of it. I was required to learn, so I did not treat English learning with a positive attitude. I just remembered the new words that the teacher asked me to remember, read what teacher asked me to read. We often use a very sample conversation to practice our oral English and do some exercise, making sentences with particular grammar or new phrase, in order to help us to acquire the new knowledge. I seldom studied English stuff for my own will, because there was no internal motivation to learn English. I can not say that I really enjoy the process of English learning during this period, but it is still good to know a new language.
The second period of my English is not as enjoyable as what I experienced in elementary school. It is pretty horrible and painful, even a nightmare. In my middle school and high school, the English course aim at getting a high score in Entrance exam to high school and university. In China, there is a large population who want to seek for a bachelor degree, but Chinese universities can not offer the opportunities as many as needed. As a result, the Education Department of China has no choice but to enhance the difficulty level of the Entrance Exam to university in order to select more outstanding students to receive higher education. It means that the Entrance exam to university requires students to show a better academic ability, only to reach some particular requirement is not enough. This phenomenon directly leads to the emphasis of grammar that rarely used and writing ability for particular passage form, also ignorer of pronunciation and oral English. There is little interaction in our English class. The way we learn English is not different from the way we learn other sciences, just accept what teachers give us. In my high school career, I studied English for test, just like most of Chinese students. After three years’ hardworking on English, I still have to watch English movie with Chinese subtitles and talk to English speaker with a lot of gestures. It is very boring to do grammar exercises, but we have to do it for opportunity to enter a good university. This period of English learning make me fear about English, because it is not a good memory.
The next period is a turning point in my English learning experience. I undertake to apply for university in United States. Now I consider English as a tool for communication, so I concern more about my listening and speaking which are my weak points. I started to watch TV shows to enhance my listening and try to simulate the way that native speakers talk with each other. “Friends” is my favorite show, I have seen all the ten seasons, I acquired not only oral English, but also American culture. The movie “Forest Gump” also is my favorite, not only because the dialog in this movie is relative slow, normal and easy to follow, but also for the touching story. It is ideal material for English learning beginner. You will find pleasure in learning English by watching Forest Gump. To practice my oral English, I also try to chat with English speakers as often as possible. I really enjoy talking with them. In process of English learning, nothing can be more amazing than making others understand your points in another language. It will bring a feeling of achievement to you, and make you feel that your payment for English learning is paid back now. It is COOL!! During this period, I started to love English learning and studied English with a positive attitude. This attitude make me learn high efficiently and enjoyable. Personally, this situation is supposed to be the best mode to learn English.
Now I arrived at United States. It is a great opportunity to improve my English level. In daily life, everything I read, everything I hear, everything I write and every chat I have will be helpful for my English! My English learning period, to be continue…….