The Importance of Learning English
By Dawn KILIC
English is being taught in hundreds of thousands of schools worldwide. Men, women and children of many different social, economic and cultural backgrounds are learning English as a second language for various reasons. Whether they want to improve their economic situations by being able to speak English and find a better job or keep in touch with a pen pal from another country, the English language learners find importance in the what they are studying.
In our own school, Izmir, Turkey, our students are very excited about learning English. A colleague, Deniz Temel, and I gave our fourth and fifth grade students a questionnaire. We asked them if learning English was easy or difficult, if they liked learning English, if they thought learning English was important, if they spoke English outside of school and if their parents or neighbors spoke English. The majority of the students found learning English easy and liked English, stating that their lessons were “fun,” “pleasurable” and that the time in lessons passed very quickly. According to our students, learning English is important because they will have a better chance of earning a living when they grow up, can speak to foreign tourists from all over the world, can communicate with never-before-met family members residing in England or the USA, and even one student said that if everyone spoke the same language, it may stop bad things like war from happening because people would understand each other.
From a teacher’s perspective, while learning English can have the potential to give students an advantage in finding a good job when they’re older (especially in developing and competitive countries) the self-esteem a child gains while understanding and appropriately putting to use the newly learned grammar to practice accuracy and to speak fluently with other English speakers is something every child needs to feel successful in their learning. If a child can get their thoughts and feelings known to another person in another language, from another culture, from another background, they can also learn about that person and where they come from.
Learning another language in this day and age, regardless of which one it is, is important because new doors will be opened and future generations will definitely better from these opportunities.