Does Being a Language Student Make You a Better Language Teacher?

It is in no way essential to be a language student to be a better language teacher...but there are certainly times where it would come in handy!

Let me explain.

If you teach English online, or in a classroom, there may be times when you have found an ESL student looking back blankly at you after giving an instruction.
You were absolutely certain that you spoke clearly in a way they can understand. So why are they confused?

In the Mindset of a Student

It wasn't until I started learning taking Japanese classes that it suddenly dawned on me...I was speaking to that student with too high of an expectation.

My Japanese teacher stood there waiting for a response to her question...and I had no words in my mind. I felt a fool. And the teacher expecting a response from me made me feel even more pressure to give an answer I simply had no words to give.
Now whenever I teach English online to Chinese students, I always put myself in the mindset of a student.

A teacher can get so caught up in performing well as a teacher and doing their part...that they just automatically expect a student to perform their role as well.

But this is not always the case!

If a student is staring back at me blankly, I don't automatically assume that they are not in the mood to learn that day...maybe they just don't know. Or my instruction wasn't clear...or maybe I just wasn't making the activity engaging enough to give them confidence to answer.

There are so many variables! And now as a language student myself, it has given me infinitely more patience and understanding as a language teacher.

That is exactly why I recommend every language teacher to give learning a new language a try. You can have your own ESL "Freaky Friday" epiphany! And subsequently improve the educational experience for both student and teacher.

Check out the DigiNo guide on how to learn a language fast! It's loaded full of resources for language learners (including none other than Verbling).
May 8, 2019