Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Reflections a month from graduation

While reading a chapter in Christison and Stoller (2012), I remembered something that has gotten lost in the shuffle during my MA-TESOL: language learning is hard--and a little scary.

I was acutely aware of this during my first semester at NAU because I was a TA for German 101. Having to tap into my own anxieties as a language learner, as well as my insecurities as a new teacher made me empathetic to language learners. Yet, here I am, a month from graduation, and reading this passage made me realize how far student affect is from my mind on a daily basis:

"The very process of second language learning places students in high-stress situations, thus creating the potential for crises to develop" (p. 108).

In my own experiences as a language learner in Austria and Cambodia, I experienced this high-stress feeling every day. The frustration that accompanies not being able to express yourself clearly the first time (or second, or third) can be overwhelming, annoying, and demotivating.

The point of this entry is for me to never lose sight of the challenges of learning a language--not necessarily linguistic, but affective. Especially in an ESL context, students are under a lot of pressure just going about their day-to-day lives. I'm setting a challenge for myself to remember this, and to not lose my admiration for the courage it takes to be an international student.

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