08 Jul What’s Your Next Language?

Ever had a day where you think: “That was a good lesson, the grammar wasn’t too difficult and there was plenty of practice, so why didn’t they get it?” Ever felt a sense of frustration as blank, confused faces look back at you and a session that you thought would be finished in the first hour has suddenly taken up the whole two hours?

I would certainly answer yes to that and I would be very surprised, if not skeptical, of a teacher that answered no!

When you are new to ESL teaching or even if you have been teaching for a while, it’s easy to underestimate time required. Or to find that something that you think is relatively easy in ESL content is found difficult by learners. Just as grammar rules always have exceptions and anomalies, there is sometimes no rhyme or reason as to what learners will find easier. Reported speech, for example, seems quite straightforward to a native speaker, but it can very tricky to learn. The back one tense rule combined with the use of “to” for some verbs and the difference between “said” and “told” cause more problems than you would expect.

This is one of the reasons that it’s recommended that TESOL teachers learn a new language every four years or so. It reminds us what it’s like to be a learner and makes sure we remember the rule of repetition. The second reason is, of course, the more languages we are exposed to broaden our own understanding of our learners and L1 interference problems.

This is why we also make sure that learning a new language is part of the TESOL course.

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