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Language learning is collaborative

Updated: Jul 20, 2022

At school, we were taught languages passively, sitting at our desks, mostly reading and writing, with rare occasions to use the language we were studying. And it often felt isolating. It's no wonder that most people are uncomfortable and anxious when they're about to speak in another language!

The first thing I tell my students, whether I am teaching a young adult or a seventy four-year old person, is that effective language learning is collaborative.

This means being on an equal footing, even if one person is the teacher and the other, the student. I'm the teacher, because I happen to know things my students do not know... yet.

My job is to turn them into confident, independent speakers, with an understanding of how the language works and of the tools at their disposal to make the most of it in any given situation.

In order to achieve that goal, my students and I get to shape their learning process together. I adapt to their needs while they create the conditions for a full immersive experience, in between lessons, with my guidance and encouragement.

While I always point out the fact that I can't learn the language for them, that they need to take charge and own their learning process, I also make sure they always know where we're going, what the plan is, and to change or adapt it, where necessary. So if I'm teaching a new tense, or a new language point, I explain why they're learning it at that particular point and to what end.

But I also check, every lesson, that everything is clear, if they have questions and/or want to study/revise any particular language point. I start each lesson with a plan, and 9 times out 10, I change it! Because my student is tired, distracted, hasn't had the time to practise the language point they've just learn, needs explanations, or is asking a particular question, which tells me that revisions are needed.

A collaborative approach is the basis of one-to-one tuition and it's fun! By trusting each other, we make the most of the lessons and my students build the confidence they were previously lacking to embrace their learning and speak.

Don't hesitate to send me your questions.

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