Critical Appraisal Of My Own English Learning Experience Critical Thinking Sample
English Learning Experience
In the concept of Linguistic Imperialism, there is the idea of centre-periphery. The center means core countries where English is spoken as a native Language for instance Britain and the United States of America (Phillipson: 1992: 41). The periphery is composed of countries where English is used as a second language or perceived as a foreign language for instance in Japan, China et cetera (Phillipson: 1992: 41). People in the Periphery countries are usually driven by the desire to study English for pragmatic purposes leading to the maximization of their successes in the current multi-lingual society (Phillipson: 1992: 43). I believe this argument fits my situation in the sense that my desire to learn in English is basically to succeed in my career in the current multi-lingual society.
Certain scholars have argued that the imposition of English as an official language in countries with other indigenous languages leads to devaluation of other languages (Phillipson: 1992: 41). I do not completely concur with this point of view. My native language is Cantonese; I do not believe that its value has reduced because I have learnt English. However, Phillipson’s argument could be true in some nations. The contemporary society is characterized by myriad cultural products exhibited in form of media i.e. comics, games, Television programs among others. They play do not only play an essential role in creating awareness on certain social issues, but also learning of dynamic facets of language. When I went to Canada, my experience in learning English Language was enhanced by listening to songs, watching movies acted in English Language as well as local Television Programs. Apart from policy making, these are some of the current practices noted to have had significant impacts on English learning in foreign nations (Bison: 1995: 127). On the other hand, the use of such media channels to facilitate the process of learning English in foreign worlds is perceived as a form of imposition of language (Jenkins: 2009: 120).
Jenkins 2009 notes some of the challenges faced by minority groups as they make attempt to learn English as a second language. One of the major challenges faced by minority ESL learners is demoralization resulting from racism that may occur in form of racist chants in classrooms i.e. during presentations (Jenkins: 2009: 115). I must acknowledge the fact that being a member of a minority group in my class, I faced a similar challenge, which occurred in form of inferiority complex and the fact that my classmates as well as the lecturers used to laugh at me whenever I made grammatical errors during class representations. This made is difficult for me to learn. However, I can assert that my person desire to learn English as a second language superseded all these external challenges. English language is becoming a widely accepted international language; many schools are opening up platforms for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. This is one of the factors that acted as my desire to undertake a Master’s Degree in TESOL. Additionally, TESOL has been one of my career dreams, thus my decision to learn it at a master’s degree level. In relation to career prospects, I believe that by taking a master’s degree in TESOL will enhance my capacity and efforts to empower local students in Hong to learn English as a basic language accepted in the international labor market.
Jenkins in her writing quotes that the use of English as a second language in Nigeria has been influenced by a change of attitude towards the language (Jenkins: 2009: 119). That is, Nigerians no longer perceive English as imperialist or colonialist language but rather a language that is internationally accepted. He also asserts that despite the fact that English is accepted as an official language in Nigeria, it has not eroded the traditional values of Nigerians who seem to be well aware of the national interest (Bison: 1995: 127). I would like to associate this argument with my personal learning experience. To begin with, despite the fact that I learnt English in a foreign country to pursue my dreams, it has not influenced my Chinese cultural and traditional values. My desire to learn English as a second language has been driven solely by a change of attitude towards it in Hong Kong and its wide acceptance as an international language. English is considered as a language of creative work (Bison: 1995: 129). I believe that this is the reason why so many schools are currently considering the provision of ESL courses to their students i.e. in Hong Kong. Language choice in schools has also been attributed as one of the main factors, why English is becoming an internationally popular language (Jenkins: 2009: 119).
During my learning experience, I faced several challenges, which in most cases are faced by minority students as they learn foreign languages in foreign countries. I must admit that I was very shy and to some extent I felt inferior owing to the fact that my classmates and lecturers used to laugh at me as I made my presentations. This is a major challenge that has been documented by scholars, who assert that many minority students’ efforts to learn English have been thwarted by psychological challenges (Jenkins: 2009: 114). Jenkins claims that minority students learning English in foreign countries may face challenges such as racist chants that affect their cognitive learning capacity (Jenkins: 2009: 114). Some scholars have also argued that persons who learn languages in environments where they play dominant role are victims of linguistic imperialism (Phillipson: 1992: 131). I would like to provide a counter-argument based on my experience. To begin with, it is important to acknowledge that English plays a significant role in the current global job market, however, it does not play a dominant role in Hong Kong, thus, I cannot, consider myself to be a victim of linguistic imperialism. I am a person driven by a desire to learn English as part of personal interest and motivation to achieve my career goals.
Bisong, J. (1995). Language Choice and Culurarl Imperialism: A Nigerian Perspective (pp. 120-122). British Columibia: RAPID.
Jenkins, A. (2009). Post-Colonial Africa and North America (pp. 104-118). Berkeley: University of California.
Phillipson, R. (1992). Linguistic Imperialism (pp. 40-42). Oxford: Oxford University Press.