Where Language Teachers Fit for Independent Learners

There are countless apps, programs, and services available that facilitate independent language learning. With promises like “Learn any language for free,” questions are raised about the necessity and place of foreign language teachers in this self-guided world. Although I feel the Internet has turned the world of language learning on its head, there’s still an important place for real language teachers, albeit the role is slightly different. Let me explain.

Proficiency Ratings and Achievement

With all the hype surrounding them, why aren’t more schools and institutes adopting fluent in three month language courses? Although I won’t rule out a conspiracy to promote monolingualism, there has to be some reason why schools still use standard textbook methods.

Developing Accurate and Fluent Speech

To speak a foreign language quickly and clearly, you need practice. Unfortunately, opportunities to actually speak with other people may be rare depending on where you live. So why then do I suggest treading lightly when it comes to discussion clubs?

Listening vs Comprehension

Despite the amount of time we dedicate to listening, it is still, as a skill and process, in a kind of fog; theories contradict one another, study results are ambiguous, and testing methods are a bit questionable.

Considering all of this uncertainty, how can I tell my students with any sort of confidence that they won’t become amazing listeners by just watching Game of Thrones in English and listening to the BBC?

The Funny Thing about Slang

Colloquial language is fun. It’s different, it’s edgy, it’s a pie to the face of “stuffy” textbook stuff. It can better reflect a person’s character, mood, and attitude. So why don’t I push it in my classes?