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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Sep 8th, 2007, 01:10 pm
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Default British versus American

Hello
I am an American Masters student living in Greece. For extra income I am tutoring students in English.
The most common problem that I am running into is the form of English.
The schools here teach British English. I prefer American English. Not only am I used to it, but I also believe that the usage is widely in practice.

The students are having problems with their professors in school because I am saying organization and they are saying organisation. On one occassion I had to call a students teacher and ask her not to penalize her on a test. She had put Mom instead of Mum and it had been counted wrong.
This was an extreme case, but the students are also being confused. I believe that I may be doing more harm than good.
HELP
linn0099
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  #2 (permalink)  
Unread Sep 9th, 2007, 11:25 pm
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Default Re: British versus American

hi there. There is a lot of confusion regarding american vs british english. I think because of the curriculum there being british english, then this is what you must teach, irrespective of what you believe in.
As for the teachers marking things wrong ie mum vs mom, then they are correct in doing so, and as you are correctly assuming, you probably are doing more harm than good. If very young children or even older children of lesser capabilities, they will be getting very confused, hope i've helped a little.
Den
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  #3 (permalink)  
Unread Sep 10th, 2007, 01:18 am
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Default Re: British versus American

I agree with Dennis. You are going to need to be more British. You probably don't need to adjust your pronounciation too much, but it would be best to use British spellings and the British term where A.E. and B.E. conflict (use football instead of soccer.)
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  #4 (permalink)  
Unread Sep 10th, 2007, 02:28 am
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Default Re: British versus American

Actually, British English is probably more widely used - you've got the UK, Australia, Canada, South Africa, not to mention all the former British colonies that will be using the same spelling system. It would be really cool of these English teachers could acknowledge that both British and American English are correct, but since that probably isn't going to happen, you're going to have to cater to them. If your students want to know both systems, then by all means teach them both, but just make sure they know that they're going to need the British spelling for their tests.
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  #5 (permalink)  
Unread Sep 10th, 2007, 07:14 am
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Default Re: British versus American

thanks for the replies, I know I need to suck it up, but I guess I feel a duty to my own language. Not only that, but things such as soccer, I believe should be taught, with special attention given to the fact that this is only in one country. However, I worry that since I am not so great with the British way, I may be teaching incorrect sentence structure. I also disagree with the view that the teacher is correct in marking mom wrong. These kids are 8-12 and I believe this is a little bit harsh.
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Unread Sep 10th, 2007, 07:57 am
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Default Re: British versus American

Quote:
Quote linn0099 View Post
Hello
I am an American Masters student living in Greece. For extra income I am tutoring students in English.
The most common problem that I am running into is the form of English.
The schools here teach British English. I prefer American English. Not only am I used to it, but I also believe that the usage is widely in practice.

The students are having problems with their professors in school because I am saying organization and they are saying organisation. On one occassion I had to call a students teacher and ask her not to penalize her on a test. She had put Mom instead of Mum and it had been counted wrong.
This was an extreme case, but the students are also being confused. I believe that I may be doing more harm than good.
HELP
linn0099
I am an esl teacher and an examiner for Cambridge ESOL exams. The rule for us as examiners is that both are acceptble because English is an international language and more than one form does exist. I personally believe that if students are having to produce one form in school and to get it wrong affects their school grades then I would try if possible to teach them that form as it is very difficult to produce one form for one teacher and another for another. If the school teacher accepts both forms then it doesn't matter. Hope that helps.
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  #7 (permalink)  
Unread Sep 12th, 2007, 05:37 am
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Default Re: British versus American

Hi
I am also teaching in Poland, and found this part a problem. Just like you, I stand by my language and will not like to be told after soooo many years of school that my English is incorrect or that I should switch to British. I did however found that most of the teachers in school that are not native speakers of English are the people that correct the difference and state that one is wrong, where the other form is correct. I believe American English is more popular, and starting to be more used with people. JUST look at the TV what do people watch British released movies sitcoms ETC... No American TV, and what about stores etc.. and most important of all BUSINESS who leads that field Americans. Therefore, lets take a look, why should we change to British English. American English I have been told is easier to learn because it floats and people are more relaxed and fun. I think we, as teachers should be able to teach the language we are good in, one that can benefit our students. Explain to students that there is a slight difference and let them choose, and as for teachers I think its time to reeducate the once that are still stuck. We need to make sure that all are differences are good and that learning but is even better more power for the students and not critics each others English. What will happen to the poor soul that goes to American and asks to purchase a Rubber I will bet its not an eraser they will get right. I call schools and teachers for my students and inform them that I am American, I teach both, and because English is International, the students are in powered to the choice and comfort. We the teachers need to start revising and meeting in the middle. Thanx
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  #8 (permalink)  
Unread Sep 13th, 2007, 12:42 am
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Default Re: British versus American

firstly, let's just look at your English(sorry.. American!)
you say you are a teacher in Poland...
I dont think I would like to be or have my children in your class. look at your posting here
1. I did however found that most of the... (find that)
2. Starting to be more used with (used more with)
3. most important of all BUSINESS who leads that field Americans (?? this must be American grammar, is it?)
4. reeducate the once that are still stuck (re-educate the ones that...)
5. We need to make sure that all are differences are good and that learning but is even better more power for the students and not critics each others English. (again American grammar??)
6. the poor soul that goes to American and asks to purchase.. (American or America??)

Sorry to have to point out these irregularities, but if you are a teacher and teaching like this I wouldn't be shouting about which one you have to teach. The thing is, the initial post is not about the teachers method, but what the individual school in question reguires. If you take a job that requires you to teach British English then there is no argument in your favour. The only thing you can do is either accept it, or find another job that does not require teaching grammar or spelling. I think you have a poor argument here.
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  #9 (permalink)  
Unread Sep 13th, 2007, 07:36 pm
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Default Re: British versus American

football is also called soccer in australia.... something that i thought more people knew... but it turns out it's not that common knowledge :P
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  #10 (permalink)  
Unread Sep 14th, 2007, 02:27 am
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Default Re: British versus American

Keep perspective. Perhaps follow the British guidelines at school and with referred clients, and advertise for private clients who want to learn American English. Just a suggestion.
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  #11 (permalink)  
Unread Sep 14th, 2007, 04:16 am
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Default Re: British versus American

I personally believe that if students are having to produce one form in school and to get it wrong affects their school grades then I would try if possible to teach them that form as it is very difficult to produce one form for one teacher and another for another.
In France, students have to be taught : British-English.
( English grammar, vocabulary ect...)
But as some of my students are American Tv series addicts, I teach them some American words but advise them not to use them when they have to write an English essay at school. American versus English makes me think of French versus Canadian French, French is more widely used than Canadian French and some Canadian words doesn't mean the same in French. Example : Char ( chariot ) ( Canadian) = voiture ( car ) in French and "gosses"!!! ( testicules in Canadian French) means kids in French !
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  #12 (permalink)  
Unread Sep 15th, 2007, 03:10 am
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Default Re: British versus American

Hi, I teach English in Turkey in a small village for students from kindergarden to age 13. The main style used here is A.E. As a Brtish national I found just a few hiccups along the way. My only real problem was with "Bring"
For example the sentence: "The milk truck is leaving to bring everybody the milk that we make", for me this is incorrect, it should be "take" everbody the milk that we make. apart from that the few spellings that are different are really negligable and the teachers here do not mark them wrong, however as A.E is used in the course books it is this that is taught wth B.E shown alongside any differences. So far the students haven't had any problems. Pronunciation and Intonation can be a slight problem but the aim is to get the children speaking English so if it's Americanised or British let them speak loud.

For me, I feel the reason A.E is being taught more and more is Non Native English teahers and students may find it easier, especially with spelling. I.E COLOR instead of COLOUR.

You expect students to follow the school rules, lead by example. You have to teach the children according to the schools rules or you may not teach them at all which would worse?
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  #13 (permalink)  
Unread Nov 25th, 2007, 04:41 pm
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Default Re: British versus American

I know this is an old discussion but thought I'd add something that hasn't been mentioned.

Students/schools should be allowed to choose one way and STICK WITH IT.

I actually came across the opposite to the original poster when teaching in Japan. Teachers there seem to prefer the American way and I had to adapt to this. I wanted to correct 'color' but held myself back! But the message we gave to students was that they could choose British spelling/words but not to mix and match.
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  #14 (permalink)  
Unread Nov 29th, 2007, 12:47 am
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Default Re: British versus American

Reading through all these posts, it's quite clear that people have different opinions and some of them are sparked or triggered by emotions.

In regards to a prior post about American English being more popular than British English because American sitcoms are more popular, that argument doesn't hold any weight. The popularity of TV programs doesn't equate to the popularity of a language. I don't think you will find a strong audience who would argue that America is NOT the home for the most popular TV series and movies. That's the result of billions of US dollars being pumped into its industry. Similarly, Chinese movies are known for their great action scenes, but this doesn't mean that because Chinese action sequences are good, the Chinese language is popular.

Moving right along, I don't think it is fair to hire an individual from one country, tell them to teach their native language but from the standpoint of another country's English. What this shows is the employer's insensibility to the person they hired and the ignorance of the employer. If you think an English speaker should know every English-speaking countries' grammar rules, spellings and word choices, that is absurd. English is spoken in 69 countries worldwide. This doesn't even include America, Britain, Australia and New Zealand where there is no official language.

I believe an English teacher teaching English in a foreign country should not be required or asked to teach an English other than their own. If a country wants to learn a specific country's English, they should ONLY employ people from that particular country. At the point that they hire from multiple countries, they should accept that country's English.

Maybe I'm a radicalist, but I think ESL teaching is still up-and-coming. Yeah, the term 'ESL' has been slung around for a long time but I don't think we have yet figured out how to teach English from a IESL perspective. I believe English-speaking countries need to first get together and come to a consensus as to how to teach English from an international perspective...get on the same page, so to speak.

However, I don't see this happening because currently there is too much quarreling amongst English speakers from different countries. We have Americans saying, "We invented Phonics and greatly added to the English lexicon so American English is better." You have British saying, "Well, Americans stole their language from us so you wouldn't even have a language if it wasn't for us." While other countries are screaming out, "What about our country's English? English is the only language I've spoken since birth. What makes your countries' English more precious than ours?" There's too much bickering going on in the English-speaking community. I think we need to solve the bickering before we can start looking towards solutions.

Another thing adding to the problem of teaching English from the international perspective is that language is living and constantly changing so you can't go about teaching it in a formulaic method. This problem compiled with every culture in the world being completely different, it is virtually impossible to employ the same English strategy for every culture.

I feel sorry for the British teachers teaching English in Japan because Japan predominantly uses American English and the Japanese learn English in a very mathematical forumlatic way, so when the English doesn't fit into their English cookie-cutter, they have a hard time adjusting. I'm saddened when I've talked to some of non-American-English friends and they tell me they mold their English to the textbooks. Unless you've lived outside your country in another English-speaking country or studied the linguistics of other Englishes, it's preposterous to assume that the person should know any other English other than their own country's English.

That being said, I think it's beneficial for English teachers working in a foreign country to know other countries' Englishes because it gives their students a broader perspective on the language but I don't think it's necessary, and the employer should know this when they hire you.

As our world is rapidly becoming a more closely bonded society, I think we all need to strive for a little bit more cultural and language sensitivity and understanding.

That's my 2 cents...
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Last edited by EngliPatrick : Nov 29th, 2007 at 02:20 am.
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