Learning English as a Second Language was an awesome experience for a non-native teacher like me.
I am a Filipina, but my country uses English as a medium of education starting from pre-school and onwards. Hence, the students (us) were motivated to speak English and communicate in the class and in most occasions. The conversation practice using another language was just like we were taught speaking various native dialects. Oftentimes, English has become the bridge of our dialects better than speaking “Tagalog.”
When I was younger and went to Philippine Normal College (my elementary education) a lot of Americans visited the school from time to time (some of them taught), and I belonged to the English-speaking sections. Since PNC was a school for teachers, we were always surrounded by teachers, student teachers, and a lot of principals and supervisors who come and go. I don’t know if we had been part of samples but as far as I can remember many times a week we were brought to take IQ tests, Reading tests, Math and Science tests, etc, as early as six or seven years old. We were given time limits and sometimes we even had to skip subjects just to take those IQ, level, etc. tests. From Grade1-Grade3, I think it was kind of strange. We even spoke better than other private schools. How do I know? There were times we rode one school bus.
The subjects we learned were taught by experts and specialists of their own fields. They weren’t just ordinary teachers. Some of them were old, some were young, and other teachers in high school were grandparents, but their stature showed experiences in their field of studies like Literature, English, Music and Arts, Science, Social Studies, Mathematics, and GMRC. Still, others had continuing education and were book authors.
We were always encouraged to visit the library and read a lot of books. And then, the teachers and assistant teachers encouraged us to talk that was why we were always full of laughter in the classroom. The classes were full of excitement and never boring for us. And for me, sometimes – I was on the noisy student’s list.
At home, my mother brought newspapers. I imitated every adult (aunts and uncles who were in universities) in the house. I tried to read the newspapers, too, even if I couldn’t completely understand it. The cartoons section and the big pictures became an excitement for me in place of some news I couldn’t discover then.
Learning English, in that part of growing up was truly fun!