English Teacher and Student; Empathy and Experience

English teacher and student of language

Learning other languages makes me a better teacher

Being both an English teacher and student of language is a good experience. I have been studying Vietnamese for four months and I believe the experience makes me a better English teacher. My first language is English, my second was Japanese and now my third will be Vietnamese. I started learning Japanese about thirty years ago and used it for my job for over twenty years. My Japanese is fluent, so it comes naturally now but I feel like a new student with my Vietnamese study.

Do the English teacher and student understand each other?

As an English teacher and student of Vietnamese I can see both sides of the experience. Sometimes it can be difficult to understand why students don’t learn as fast as we want or why they don’t try as hard as we would like. As a new student of Vietnamese I have gained a first hand understanding of students. I can understand how difficult it is to find motivation sometimes. Their confusion about grammar is clearer now. Most importantly, my understanding of effective teaching methods is improving.

The English teacher and student both need to study.

I am always trying to improve as an English teacher. I do TESOL courses for teachers and try to learn about the language tests some of my students take, like IELTS or Cambridge. By studying teaching methods and another language my methods, empathy and understanding of students improves. I can understand the students experience and I get first-hand knowledge of what is effective as a student.

The teacher and student partnership

Teaching should never be a one-way process. The student and the teacher should work together like partners. Teachers give students feedback on their speech and writing and students should give feedback about what they enjoy or find effective. Being a new, and sometimes confused, student of a language definitely helps me understand and become a better English teacher.

More information about the importance of understanding students’ experience in study


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