ELL: Reasons and Benefits for Using Examples When Teaching
Jan 14, 2012 English Language Learning (ELL) 2673 Views
As an adult English language Learner, one of the greatest teaching tools my teachers used in helping me understand the language was with the use of examples. In this article I'd like to share the reasons examples are used and the benefits examples provide when learning the English Language.
In your own learning, try to think back on how you learned English? Have you ever noticed that you're able to grasp just about any type of concept a lot better when you see, hear, or read an example? Adult teachers like to see, hear, or read examples when attending a teacher workshop, just as much as interpreters do when attending an interpreter workshops; the list is endless.
The using of examples when teaching or learning are invaluable tools for both the student and the teacher. As an adult ELL myself, I'd like to share some reasons and benefits as to why examples may serve as a tool for both teaching and learning.
Reasons for the use of examples:
- To clarify a concept
- To expand on an idea
- To explain in greater detail
- To draw from experience
- To justify the reasoning
Benefits of using examples:
- Attaining credibility
- Attaining new information
- Learning recognizable patterns
- Learning to process concepts
- Inciting awareness
The purpose of an example is to provide a scenario, to provide an instance, or to provide a situational case. An example represents typical features of the information being transferred and serves as a model to follow. Think about this: When learning a new language, everything that is said or written appears to be abstract, actually it is abstract until the language is learned. In order to go from abstract to concrete a path must be created by supplementing the newly learned information with examples. Those examples must prove the language concepts and justify the reasoning behind the newly learned concept. One such concept is learning the structure of the English Language, learning when and how to use punctuation, learning how to write paragraphs, learning appropriate word usage and the reasons behind using correct grammar when writing, reading, or speaking.
When we learn our alphabet, whether as a child or as an adult, we learn there is an appropriate order in which the alphabet is laid out. Later we learn that we can create words by rearranging that original alphabetic pattern. But, how do we learn? We learn from examples or models presented to us by our teachers, it makes no difference whether this learning takes place in a formal an informal setting. The teacher uses models to help us learn.
The above list of reasons and benefits is drawn from personal experiences and observations as a former preschool teacher, community volunteer working with ELL students, and having learned English as an adult. In just about any type of learning setting, the best results have always been achieved through the use of examples.