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the level of English of Polish teachers of English. What do you think of it?


cracovian
21 Feb 2011  #1
just as in the topic

please for god's sake, pay attention to the forum you choose when creating a new topic. cleaning up after people is no fun.
michaelmansun 11 | 135
11 Jun 2011  #2
I have known many Polish English teachers, and they were all really good at thier jobs. Some students complained about accent, and I just told them that they can learn to speak English, but will always have an accent, as well. Fact is, Polish English teachers are better because they actually train to be English teachers. They have the skills for it. Native speakers often do not even know how to speak well, how to spéll correctly, and their vocabulary is often limited. Polish English teachers study the language. Native speakers may not even have the required university degree. I know several who just provide a fake diploma and a fake certificate.
Wroclaw 44 | 5,388
11 Jun 2011  #3
Native speakers may not even have the required university degree.

one doesn't need a degree to teach. one needs understanding and knowledge.

Polish English teachers study the language.

this may be true, but in most cases it's not to the right level. there are gaps in their knowledge, which is one reason why students seek out native speakers.

students are not going to waste time with any teacher they can't understand. be he Polish or native.
pawian 159 | 9,497
11 Jun 2011  #4
the level of English of Polish teachers of English. What do you think of it?

Aluzju poniał.

Here you are.

My English is terrible and I am perfectly aware of it. My greatest deficiency is idiomatic and colloquial expressions, as well as collocations. I need to frequently look them up.

However, I am good at vocabulary - whenever students inquire me about new words, I don`t need to use a dictionary to satisfy their curiosity (they love playing such games with me, btw). Also my spelling is OK. Grammar, too, I suppose.

Fortunately, Polish teachers of English work with textbooks in class. A good textbook and a clever teacher (despite certain deficiencies) are still able to provide a quality course for students.

One sad observation of mine. I noticed my English has been getting progressively worse over the years. When I peruse the posts which I made on various forums a few years ago, I am amazed at the complexity and richness of the language I used then. As if another person had written them. I can`t believe it was really me.

Now it is all gone - I am aging. :(:(:( Is it home-made wine which I gulp every day in large quantities?

please for god's sake, pay attention to the forum you choose when creating a new topic. cleaning up after people is no fun.

Do you mean you don`t enjoy Clean Day campaigns?

Strange. My students love it.
michaelmansun 11 | 135
12 Jun 2011  #5
My English is terrible and I am perfectly aware of it.

Did you know that you do not have to pay for English lessons? For example, I have weekly conversation, grammar and pronunciation sessions with a fellow in Poland over Skype. He reads English stories and I correct his pronunciation and we learn some new words. I read Polish stories and he does the same for me.

There is a website.

mylanguageexchange.com

I found this guy through this site and we have been having lessons for quite some time. Polish has always been difficult for me, and I lived in Poland for quite some time. It really helps me to have a one on one with a Polish native speaker, we learn for free, and I have a new friend.

there are gaps in their knowledge, which is one reason why students seek out native speakers.

Yes, a native speaker is great, but he or she really needs to know how to teach and possess some sort of education beyond secondary school. I suppose that is why a legitimate certificate of teaching is necessary to get a job these days.

I've seen some native speakers who just made it worse for the student. Polish students love grammar exercises and they will school you quickly if you slip-up on grammar rules.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
12 Jun 2011  #6
MM, it has been different in my experience. I often keep the Polish teachers straight on grammar. They often come to me with queries and sometimes I'm surprised at how unsure they are of easy things. Don't get me wrong, it's great to be sure but some things should be bread and butter, like riding a bicycle.
PennBoy 76 | 2,437
12 Jun 2011  #7
Some students complained about accent, and I just told them that they can learn to speak English, but will always have an accent, as well.

I think it's after age 12 0r 13 your accent stays with you.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
12 Jun 2011  #8
In my experience, they tend to talk too much in class. Their TTT is way too high. That's fine with lower levels as they need to hear the language and get the translations but higher level students can be denied the chance to maximise their STT.
ItsAllAboutME 3 | 270
12 Jun 2011  #9
I think it's after age 12 0r 13 your accent stays with you.

it's possible to lose it later, but it requires A LOT of work, and you need someone to work with, one-on-one, like a speech pathologist or a phonetician. I've seen it happen but the tutor has to be really good, and the student has to be very diligent, and it costs a lot of money.
farticles
12 Jun 2011  #10
English is terrible and I am perfectly aware of it.

No. It is, 'English are terrible and I am perfectly aware of it.'
Seanus 15 | 19,706
12 Jun 2011  #11
The English (as a group) are, English (as a language) is. Now can we get back on track, please!?

One thing that gets me about some Polish teachers of English is taking what their teachers taught them as gospel when I know full well that it isn't. It's hard for them to admit they may have been wrong. My current Polish co-teachers don't fall into that bracket, thankfully.
Lyzko
12 Jun 2011  #12
In Poland, as throughout most of the world, people learn English, not from English-speaking natives as ought to be the case, but from Polish native speakers! If the teacher has an atrocious accent, as is usual in my experience, stilted speech and antiquated to non-existent idomatic control of the language, this will be merrily passed down from generation to generation!

Here in the States at least, in order to be a board certified foreign language instructor at either the grade school as well as university level, one MUST be (and hiring is usally based upon such) from the country of the language being taught. The rueful exception remains of course, ESL, in which practically any foreigner with a degree in deal making can teach, not matter how broken the English sounds!
delphiandomine 83 | 17,626
12 Jun 2011  #13
Here in the States at least, in order to be a board certified foreign language instructor at either the grade school as well as university level, one MUST be (and hiring is usally based upon such) from the country of the language being taught.

It simply couldn't happen here - salaries are way too low to attract foreign professionals. Heck, they're too low to even attract good Polish individuals.
ItsAllAboutME 3 | 270
12 Jun 2011  #14
f the teacher has an atrocious accent, as is usual in my experience, stilted speech and antiquated to non-existent idomatic control of the language, this will be merrily passed down from generation to generation!

that's very true. I might have mentioned it before at some other occasion already. There are people who come here, they think they speak English because they learned it at school (not only in Poland, in other countries, too), but really they can't. They were taught by someone who learned their English decades ago from someone else whose knowledge was even more outdated, and they use funny pronunciation and outdated idioms. It's really not helpful when they try to find a job.

First, it depends on the purpose of the tutelage: if the intention is to be conversational while visiting another country as a tourist and being able to order a meal at a restaurant or navigate through a city, non-native speakers will be sufficient instructors. If the goal is to be able to function as a member of a foreign society, permanently or temporarily, native speakers are necessary. For most people the best solution is access to both.

Here in the States at least, in order to be a board certified foreign language instructor at either the grade school as well as university level, one MUST be (and hiring is usally based upon such) from the country of the language being taught.

I really have no clue what the requirements are, we had German classes in college, the teacher was definitely not German, but maybe that's why I didn't learn all that much. Thankfully, this is such a diverse country, you can find native speakers of virtually any language here.
Lyzko
13 Jun 2011  #15
ItsAllAbout Me, I agree! My wife and I live in the diversity capital of the world, Queens, New York, and so we truly have our pick of the litter, as regards foreign language teachers, anyway-:)

Delphiadomine, the fault then lies with the government which sets the wrong priorities by freezing such laughably low salaries. I probably wouldn;'t want to do it either. And then we wonder why you all speak such poor English, even university grads!
al111 13 | 89
13 Jun 2011  #16
In everything i've read on this topic previously and currently it all just boils down to the fact that there is no Magic formula to learning a second language.The most important thing from a student of a foreign language(in disregard of what the language is) is their INPUT and secondly DISCIPLINE. No matter how good or bad you're as a teacher if that is lacking from the Students it defeats the whole purpose of learning a foreign language in the first place. Then on the other hand you have very good teachers both Polish and Foreigners in Public Schools who are being labeled as bad teachers because of the flaws in the teaching methods they're forced to adopt. Public Schools only have time to teach children how to pass the foreign languages (paper qualification) and not how to use it to communicate effectively( coz that is considered to be a luxury the government can't afford). That explains why most of the teachers are taking up tutoring after school to compensate for poor salaries and in the process to teach their students better ways of learning not only foreign languages but other school subjects as well.
Dysydent Miodek 3 | 4
13 Jun 2011  #17
I have one pet peeve with my partner's former English teachers: they taught her too many American terms and expressions. She often refers to tomatoes as "tomAYtoes" and to lifts as "elevators" etc. It can be very frustrating at times but, other than that, her accent is barely noticeable, her range of vocabulary is magnificent, her spelling is very near perfect and her grammar only ever fails in the smallest ways.

Other than that, Id like to add that I find it very hard to learn Polish due to lack of exposure to it and imagine that it's the same for Poles learning English without holding regular enough conversations with English speakers. I'm sure that this applies to all languages and a wonderful example of native speakers being the best source for picking up a language was recently highlighted on a Michael Palin documentary in an interview with a British ex-pat in the Polish fire brigade. He said that he learned Polish mainly (if not exclusively) by sitting down for a drink with Polish friends as often as possible.
scottie1113 7 | 898
13 Jun 2011  #18
tomAYtoes

I say toMAYto, you say toMAHto. Guess what? Americans say both. It depends on where you're from and what your parents taught you when you were young.

I'm American, and I speak American English which means that you can hear the R when I say "I drove my car to the airport and parked in the car park".

No big deal. My books are British so I teach British English, but I also teach the difference between the two. Boot and trunk etc.
Marynka11 4 | 675
13 Jun 2011  #19
Even the native speakers come with all kinds of accents. My first nave speaker-teacher in Poland was from Scotland. After one year he was replaced with a person form Texas. Neither of them was any help in learning pronounciation. Both were quite useful when in came to improving comprehension. Over all they were a fun diversion from the hard work we were doing with the Polish teacher (who by the way taught me the most).
Lyzko
13 Jun 2011  #20
Having a non-native teach a language at the college level is different from learning the basics in, say, English from, say, a Pole, Spaniard etc.. who cannot hear the difference between 'pill' vs. 'peel' or 'peal' for that matter, who cannot comprehend the difference between the phrase "to be in office" vs. "to be in THE office" etc... This is where the problem comes in. Such would never be allowed in France, for example, when teaching French? Why should English be the catch basin for all language incompetents?!!
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,884
13 Jun 2011  #21
my 2 cents:

level of english with Polish teachers? sub-par but maybe i set the bar too high.

for the most part, once a student can really rock and roll in english, a polish teacher is quite obsolete. what a student needs, more than anything (this is just my own opinion) is to be able to understand everything a native says. you can ram vocabulary down their throat and nit pick their grammar then throw a CPE exam at them but they cram and it's gone a month later. if a student doesn't live in an english speaking country, native exposure is essential, otherwise, your english is just going to sit stagnant and the new fancy words you have been studying.....you won't use them because nobody is going to understand it anyway. good luck going to a company with 2nd language english speakers and spouting off idioms, complex adjectives, etc. it's a waste of time and you'll fall right back into your core words and structures and poof, you forget the new stuff. also, for what it's worth, native exposure is your only hope at ever really understanding what's going on with english speaking films.

I always used to say, Polish is brutally difficult but the one advantage I always had is that because it's so difficult and the country is so homogenous, every Polish word I hear spoken....is being spoken by a native so I can trust it's the right way to say it. If you were to go to the USA and study english, especially if you were down south or inner city, half the things people say are things you shouldn't ever repeat.

All the power to you if you're Polish and you teach English, I've met some great ones through the years....but you have limitations.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,626
13 Jun 2011  #22
Ever found that some Polish teachers have a terrible habit of over-exaggerating their English accent?

I work with one who drives me nuts - it sounds like a British person in an American film.
Wroclaw 44 | 5,388
13 Jun 2011  #23
Even the native speakers come with all kinds of accents.

i don't. even brit folk can't place where i'm from. there are quite a few folk who have travelled and have a neutral accent.

i was told that the best speakers of english language come from northern scotland or the islands of scotland. the reason being that they weren't affected by the mixed language of those to the south.

i also found that those on the falkland islands have a clear voice/accent, with a slight touch of new zealand. possibly for the same reason as northern scots. no-one ever visited them and influenced the language in a negative way.

i sure someone will tell me this is bollocks though.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
13 Jun 2011  #24
Um, don't believe everything you hear, Wrocław. Islanders are pretty tricky to follow.

As for the thread, well, I wouldn't want a Polish teacher if I were a high level student. They often guess the phrasal verbs and their pronunciation is wide of the mark sometimes.
Trevek 26 | 1,702
14 Jun 2011  #25
no-one ever visited them and influenced the language in a negative way.

You're kidding? Many areas were colonised by Irish and Scandinavians. The Orkneys and Shetlands were under the Norwegian crown for a long time.

I'd heard it was east Scotland, around Fife which had the best English. Don't forget, many islanders speak Gaelic and (especially if they learn Gaelic first), have a Gaelic mouth when speaking English. We had a literature prof from Lewis when i was at Glasgow Uni. He spoke something like this, "Tooodey ve are going to shtudy forms of transhendence in the poetry off Percy Shelley and hish 'ode to the vestering vind' and 'Adonaish'" The young guy from Lewis sitting next to me leaned over and said, "Trev, I don't understand a f**king word he's saying!"
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,884
14 Jun 2011  #26
delph wrote:

Ever found that some Polish teachers have a terrible habit of over-exaggerating their English accent?

the majority of Polish teachers I knew spoke with a "neutral" accent aside from those that went to the UK for several years.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
14 Jun 2011  #27
Some overdo it but they can't keep it up as your natural accent will often shine through.
Lyzko
14 Jun 2011  #28
Would a Pole really want to learn Basic English from someone who sounds like:

Goot morrrnink, ahverrijbahdij! Aj vill titch yoo bajsic awff Eengleesch longvich!

Think about it-:))
Seanus 15 | 19,706
14 Jun 2011  #29
Why bring Germans into it? ;) ;)

If native speakers were actually exceedingly accurate then Polish teachers would have their work cut out but, as things stand, they do really well in getting most learners to whatever level of accuracy their potential lets them get to.
Maaarysia
14 Jun 2011  #30
Would a Pole really want to learn Basic English from someone who sounds like:

You mean from Borat?


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