On teaching

I have been teaching Dutch for about one month right now. I have learned some things I would like to share in this post. Teaching gives you the opportunity to see the learning process from a different perspective. It also gives you the challenge to see if you are able to help people, who are having problems with their learning progresses. It also gives you the opportunity to really “test” how much you actually know.

Some students tend to be very lazy, they are not really interested in the language, they don’t do their homework. When you ask them why, they will tell you that they had no time. So how do you deal with those kind of students ?

These are usually the students that have the wrong expectations from the lessons. They think something like “If I take 3 lessons a week then I will speak fluently”. But, unfortunately, the truth is nothing like that.

Teachers need to be seen as a mathematical function. It has an input and an output. In this case the input being the language of the student and the output being tips on how to speak better. That’s all. It’s the students job to assimilate the information given by the teacher. What this means is that the real learning starts AFTER the lesson, not during the lesson. The lesson is nothing more than the starting blocks of learning. It’s like a warming up. It gives a direction, a course to strive for. Even if a student would take 3 lessons a day, it will still not help at all. It’s all about having the right attitude to the learning process.

An interesting question for the teacher in this situation would be “what can I do to motivate my students ?”. But is this even possible ? Isn’t motivation something that comes from inside ? Something deeply personal ? Something that can’t be affected in any way at all ? Or could social support help to increase the motivation of the students ? What is needed ?

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