Skip to main content

Student expectations - too high or unrealistic?




How long is it going to take me to speak English fluently?

I've virtually lost count how many times students can ask me this question. The problem is they usually ask not only teachers but administrative staff with whom they come into contact first and in whose information they trust and believe.

Then they come into the classroom and ask the teachers the same question. The answer is normally quite different. To be honest, though, there is no right answer for two main reasons.

First of all, it is hard to truly quantify a student can learn in the space of a year or two: most language schools prognosticate that at the end of X years, student A will be at level Y. And there are countless examples of students having taken the same course and are at very distinct language proficiency levels.

Second, learning a language is an ongoing process. That means even studying five or six years, there is always something you can and will learn, IF you are willing to do just that. There is no end road to the process, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Think of language learning as a journey with new and enjoyable paths along the way, not as a race course with a finishing line.



To end, some advice to students to keep motivation high and disillusionment quasi null:

1. Set realistic goals about what you want to learn

2. Constantly check what you have learned and understand what you can do with the language

3. Know your part in the process: the language school you choose is important, the teacher is fundamental, but you are what you learn.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

My takeaways from BrELT on the Road

Just in!





Coincidence or not, propositions and concepts echoed through the plenaries and concurrent sessions I attended (apologies in advance to those I could not even attend in spirit at the same time).
Jamie Keddie encouraged us to use video to let students create their own narratives and not to limit this resource to practicing target language. Thru video, students can see there are multiple perspectives that contribute to a story and we have individual interpretations of that story. In so doing, they understand there is no right or wrong - we construct meaning based on our pre-conceived notions of reality. This awareness pivotal to critical thinking. The beauty of it all is that we benefit just as much from this method as our students.
Prodding students to see differently or see the unobvious was at the heart of Claire Venables' session "Not a box". By asking students to find new uses and meanings for a box, we are giving young learners a chance to learn language that i…

Yes we can speak English

Guess I'm a sucker for projects and project-based learning. Although this latest endeavor might not be considered a project in itself.
A simple Google search on the use of Whatsapp or other instant communication tools for English-speaking skills development came up with an extensive list of results.
The idea of creating a group to practice speaking had a specific target group - English teachers who are taking an online postgraduate course on language teaching. Many of them miss the chance to brush up on their oral skills, for the simple reason that the classes are online and interaction with the professor and colleagues comes only through text. 
The initiative rekindled a professional goal I had set for myself when I created the blog Help a teacher with their English (it has been discontinued - all related posts will show up here in the future). Nothing like being able to follow through on an idea and see it materialize into something you had not even fathomed in the first place.
Wha…

Learning is truly ongoing - practicing too

https://twitter.com/CHitch94/status/1002905413778583552?s=09