I’ve just finished my TEFL course which I’m not really satisfied with (knowing the best language learning techniques makes me just laugh about the taught principles :D)
Question: how many teachers are there here on LingQ who actually uses LingQ in his class to teach? Or any other “input method”? I’m just trying to find my own style and I would appreciate a few ideas to start off. Thank you!
I’ve been teaching English here in Korea for a year and a half and have taught all levels of elementary and middle school students.
For me personally, when I study, I use the LingQ approach. However, in the classroom and this is the case for pretty much all Asian private academies, I teach the curriculum that they have chosen. This seems to be strictly adhered to here, as there are always ‘open classes’ (where the parents come in and watch your class). With the public school system, their lesson plans are not as predetermined.
To be completely honest (and this may cause a bit of controversy) most places that teach ESL are at the end of the day, a business. So what works best in theory for an individual to learn may not be in the best interests of the actual class as a whole, or for business. This is one of the reasons why there is a gap between theory and application.
I think if you are empathetic with the learner and a strong motivator, then it will encourage the student to do better in and outside of the class.
Also, what’s your context? Who will you be teaching and where will you be working? Different things work for different situations…
I’m hoping to use LingQ in classrooms but I’m way behind you Balint…I don’t start the course until September!
If you’re interested in teachers who use comprehensible input methods, go to MoreTPRS.net or the Yahoo group MoreTPRS or BenSlavic.com. You’ll find more links at those sites…As far as I can tell, there are few Lingqers there, but these teachers use methods based on Krashan’s ideas.
Edwin: thanks for the insight!
Yes, my opinion is the same, the teacher has to motivate the student, ispire him. But in that sense: after a few classes technically students don’t need the teacher.
I would imagine my role as a teacher (I’m talking about one-to-one here) that I would explain how the English language works, explain how to get input, plus a few “tricks and tips” then end of story. The student might come to class once a week to practice speaking but that’s it I guess. Looks like we don’t need teachers.
Skyeblueteapot: Yeah, using LingQ in classroom seems to me a good idea. Although one has to take into consideration that most (ie) Asian countries don’t have the facilities to use computers in classrooms (I’m interested in teaching in Asia). But yes, technology is a big advantage and we have to make use of that. Why do you start the course in September? Will you do that online or in class? I did the online version and it was very disappointing…
Jingle: Thanks for the links I will study them!
“To be completely honest (and this may cause a bit of controversy) most places that teach ESL are at the end of the day, a business”
Businesses exist to make money. No controversy there. If they are not trying to make money and they have no other source of funding, they will not last long as businesses.
I think the reason that this seems controversial, and I am not insensitive to this sense of dissonance, is that selling education seems different than selling hammers, cars, package tours, or entertainment spectacles. People want education to be above the melee of transitory need or greed because that is how the word “education” is defined in most languages.
Yet, maybe education suffers from not being more of a commodity, with all the variety and creativity and publicity that attends to commercial products. Maybe the new information age, with entrepreneurs coming up with various educational offerings and apps, will change that.
I think that is true for language education, without question.
Why limit it to language education?
I think language education as a whole is still way behind with the times.
It seems so logical, that to learn a second language in the most effective way, you must learn it in the most natural and stress-free way, while using your native language to your advantage.
But the majority of language schools around London, and I’m guessing around the world, insist on teaching from boring textbooks, teaching grammar, and unnatural dialogues that would never be heard in the real world.
I do think that language schools are offering a product that they believe to be the best, like the latest phone or computer, but that they simply don’t know enough about Steve’s and other’s methods which share similar methods.
…but that they simply don’t know enough about Steve’s and other’s methods which share similar beliefs.
Anthony, you are right. But there are many and strong economical interests in not changing the traditional approach: textbook sellers, English schools, teachers, …I mean that Steve thinks that the learner should become independent, and this is not an interesting idea for the lobbies affected.
Yes, I totally agree with you Oscar.
I think that the language schools are not interested, nor are willing to look at, other ways of teaching their students.
The majority of language schools are stuck in their ways and will not change their methods at all because that’s what they sold in the first place.
But, how about they looked at othey ways? This is the problem. When you step outside the ‘norm’ you end up getting ridiculed and told “no, that’s not normal”, so you step back inside the ‘norm’ box.
I think the teacher fronted classroom as sine qua non of education is the notion that keeps all the traditional language schools in business. Public schooling does a lot to support this notion. Students therefore demand it from private institutions, who supply it.
I agree with Edward. I’m not a big fan of conspiracy theories, although I know there are lobbies and vested interests here and there. But as a somewhat restless teacher, I can say that the students themselves are not that open to novelties. Most of them are simply too comfortable in their passive positions.
The other day I was discussing with a colleague - someone that I consider quite a smart guy - about the (lack of) usefulness of traditional language teaching, and I was appalled by how fiercely he defended the traditional classroom - despite of all the evidence on the contrary. In fact, I observe that most people feel well about themselves going to a boring course twice a week and doing drills and taking meaningless examinations, because this way they feel they are doing their part anyway. Some of them need to do official exams, and even those who were a little suspicious that I could be right, seem to feel more secure going to (and paying for) these courses. In any case, if they fail, they can then blame the course, the teachers, the books or the colleagues who delayed the course.
As I already said somewhere else, I guess we will need a generation or two of new teachers AND new learners to see some real changes in the way most people educate themselves…
“In fact, I observe that most people feel well about themselves going to a boring course twice a week and doing drills and taking meaningless examinations, because this way they feel they are doing their part anyway.”
This is so true. I’ve me many many people who said that. It’s simply just not taking the responsibility for your language studies. I went to a language school, I studied hard, I failed the exam - I did everything, couldn’t make it. Bah.
As a new teacher I would like to teach one-to-one and show people that language can be learned in a totally differenty and most importantly fun way. But language has to be learned by the student - there is significantly smaller to chance to succeed for a non-independent language learner. I think the new learners (as Steve put it) need to have a totally different point of view. Maybe we, the new teachers can help them to form it. It’s interesting how people react when I tell them that I taught myself Spanish (how? you didn’t go to a language school?) - they can’t even imagine that there could be other ways.
For me, I’ll try to focus on: fun, using technology as much as possible. I think these two things can greatly help to improve very fast.
Balint: Where in Asia do you want to teach? I have friends that are teaching in Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, China and here in South Korea. If you need any info, feel free to msg me. As to what you said, it is great to raise awareness on other approaches on learning a new language. A lot of learners just don’t know about the big community of language learners, materials and systems that can be found online. Informing your students of the available tools out there that helped you succeed may inspire them to go out and give it a try.
Also, while I don’t like tests, if it is a students goal to take the TOEFL for career purposes, then sometimes it is a must to look at these ‘boring’ TOEFL books and to study up on past tests.
Edwin: I’m interested in teaching in Taiwan (I have a friend there). I need every bit of information that I can put my hands on! Can I e-mail you? In case you don’t want to make your email public I’m giving you mine: korosibalint at yahoo dot co dot uk. Could you send me a mail so that I can reply? Thank you!