If you were held to the same standard as English learners….

The other day I got to thinking of the standard to which English language learners in my community are held every day.  I wonder how well I would measure up if the shoe were on the other foot?

Regardless of your performance on standardized tests, If you’ve developed some competency in another language, do all of the following describe your level of comfort in that language?

1. Able to write coherent text, explaining somewhat complicated circumstances? Able to do the same verbally, over the phone.
2. Able to persuade, teach or train?
3. Able to calm a tense situation?
4. Aware when you are being misunderstood, and able to get conversation back on track?
5. Develop professional rapport with someone who initially doubts your abilities?
6. Write a comprehensive report?
7.?
What makes a few of these difficult (I’m sure there are better examples), is the cultural context in which they rest. Added to that, the consequences of ‘getting it wrong’ tend to rattle your confidence and, over time, it get’s harder and harder to step out of your comfort zone.
Which part is ‘hardest’ will be different for everyone; however, in terms of being able to think on your feet in a professional context, I think the fourth one is especially valuable— and probably the one over which you have the most control (or at least practice).
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3 thoughts on “If you were held to the same standard as English learners….

  1. Great post! This is a topic that often came up in graduate school. My fellow teaching assistants and I often discussed whether non-native English speakers should be held to different standards than native speakers. I still think it is a sticky issue. But having tried to learn Japanese myself and having watched my boyfriend (who learned English later in life) adjust to work in the U.S., I am inclined to be generous to such students. Thanks for your post! Jessy

  2. Pingback: 2017 top-page sticky FAQ | Wordsummit

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