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May 03, 2006

Teacher Development - How Languages Are Learned

Hello Everyone,

In every profession, we can all bet on one certainty: change. And the ESL teaching profession is no exception. Think of it as having three principle (sic) branches:

  • The teacher

  • The student

  • The language
  • New teaching techniques, a plethora of different types of students and the always evolving English language make change inevitable and professional development vital. With this entry, I’d like to focus on the branch you have the most control over: the teacher (yup, that’s right: YOU).

    Okay, so there are a . . .

    . . . million and one ways to self-develop, but this month I’d like to focus on putting yourself in THEIR shoes. And by THEIR, I mean the students’. When we take on the role of the teacher, it’s oh-so-easy to forget what it feels like to be a student. Instead of asking ourselves: How can I best teach this particular grammar point?, perhaps we should be asking: How can this particular grammar point best be learned?

    Trial and error, without a doubt, will play a roll (sic) in finding the answer, but before beginning with this touch-and-go process, check out Oxford’s How Languages Are Learned by Patsy M. Lightbrown and Nina Spada. I wouldn’t call it pleasure reading exactly (it’s no Dan Brown novel), but it offers some exceptional information about how language students best soak up the finer points of a language.

    Happy reading and do let me know what you think.

    Until next time,

    Smyth Johansson
    May 2006 Guest-Writer for ESLemployment

    Looking for more articles that focus on teacher development for the ESL instructor? Click HERE!

    About the author of this entry:
    Smyth Johansson (B.A. English, TEFL Cert.) has taught ESL in both Spain and Sweden, where she lived and worked for four years. Recently having moved back to the States, Smyth now works as an editor for an educational publishing company. Her work includes editing teaching materials and ancillaries for English language learners.

    Posted by ESL Lesson Plan at May 3, 2006 12:06 PM

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