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Sink or swim?

Updated: Oct 2

Before teaching as a freelancer – and therefore choosing my own teaching tools – I’ve found myself many times in a situation where I'd been given the wrong level coursebook/grammar book for the students I was teaching.


For a while, a new approach was very popular with language schools, that of ‘sink or swim’. I was told that students ‘would catch-up eventually’, which felt spectacularly counterintuitive, counterproductive, and unfair. Why should students be made to feel that they’re constantly behind and why make their learning process harder than it has to be?


You probably won't be surprised to hear that, since I take language teaching very seriously, I prepared instead my own content, which actually suited the level and learning pace of my students.


To many, learning a new language feels scary to begin with. Speaking to a stranger, using a language they’re learning feels like jumping off a cliff or swimming in the open sea, when they’re scared of heights or waves.


My job as a teacher is to not only explain to my students that what they feel is entirely logical and normal, but also that I am their parachute/buoy. In other words, that they are not alone, that guidance and support are always here. And that swimming will eventually take place, slowly at first, with absolutely zero risk whatsoever of sinking.


Results cannot be forced out of learners. Fear and stress are not teaching tools. Only a collaborative approach where students are seen, supported, and respected produces tangible, meaningful, and long-lasting results.


More about my teaching approach


Don't hesitate to send me your questions.

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