What matters most in language education?
- Is it the latest audio/visual technology?
- Games? or that loathsome word “gamification”?
- Classes supported by robust academic research?
- The latest coursebooks published by the largest international publishers (preferably based in the UK or US)?
- Native speakers to teach the language?
- One on one teaching? Group teaching?
- F2F? or Online?
“What matters most in language education: PEOPLE”
Learning takes place where three factors are interconnected: motivation; cognition; emotion.
Motivation – if learners are not motivated, no matter how many virtual or real somersaults a teacher may do, they won’t get anywhere.
Cognition – Google’s dictionary defines it as “the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses.” there must be a transfer of knowledge and understanding between Teacher and learners – actually, this process is a 2-way street – it’s not a passive experience – both learners and teacher will be developing and growing in understanding each other.
Emotion – Teacher and learner must have a positive feeling regarding their relationship. Students should “fall in love” with their teacher – nothing sexual, take it easy. But they must be infected by the teacher’s passion and enthusiasm. If the teacher approaches the subject with a jaded attitude – it will not result in any excitement on the learners’ part.
Rita Pierson once said on a TED Talk: “People don’t learn from people they don’t like.” She went on to say that psychologically wise language teachers will do 3 things:
- develop relationships
- focus on positivity and growth
- nurture their own professional development and well-being.
There you have it… starting point towards developing a healthier relationship between teachers and learners.