While on my community service work in teaching the Arabic language near Ohio State University, I met different students who had difficulties in the different aspects of the Arabic language. The main challenges I observed included grammatical mistakes and problems with pronunciations in Ericka and Dylan whom I helped in their ho. Arabic being a second language to them, pronunciation difficulties were caused by the influence of English being their first language. The grammatical mistakes included verb arrangement and adjective formation among others. The volunteer experience in teaching the Arabic language was completely fulfilling and fun with many things learnt within the short period away from the United Arab Emirates.
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During my volunteer service work, I learned many things particularly the English language that is my second language and improved my pronunciation, vocabulary, as well as learnt some idioms among other aspects of the English language. I also experienced my fair share of difficulties especially in pronunciation, which made my teaching experience more fun and enjoyable due to the two way learning process where there was mutual benefit between the learners and the teacher. The active and keen learners enhanced my motivation making the whole exercise a success.
Ericka was a fast learner, ambitious, industrious, open minded, and an eager to learn student who actively participated in the lessons. I helped her in the Arabic grammar and pronunciation as well as her homework that she improved with time becoming more fluent. She was due to graduate in 2014 and she put much effort in her studies whereby she even visited some Arabic countries like Egypt and Jordan in order to become more proficient in the Arabic language. Her concerted efforts in learning the language was a motivation that made me feel excited and encouraged in helping her improve the areas she had trouble.
Dylan was another student at Ohio State University whom I helped whom helped in studying the Arabic language. He was also a good student with great interest in the language willing to improve every aspect of the language he did not understand. However, he experienced major difficulties in pronunciation because of English language influence compared to Ericka but his efforts and motivation were evident. Learning a second language can be extremely challenging as manifested by the first hand experience I received in my volunteer service work. In addition, there are some aspects of a language that are greatly influenced by the first language, which can affect the language fluency completely like pronunciation. For instance, Dylan was a good learner who did not have trouble in writing the Arabic language but pronunciation using English as their first language and therefore the introduction of a second language at the age posed a serious challenge.
There are major differences between the English language and the Arabic language and therefore numerous challenges present themselves to learners of either language. However, just like the learning of any other language there are key areas that help a learner master a second language despite the challenges. I was able to teach Arabic language with competency to these students counting this as one of my greatest achievements in life. This is because of the many challenges I had to overcome, not only because English is my second language but also due to cultural differences between my country and the Americans. I managed to adapt effectively and fitted well in the social and cultural life of the Americans making friends from all over the world who had come for different missions. It was an experience of a lifetime as well as an achievement.
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