It's obvious that human beings share many similarities. Love for life, pursuit of one's dreams, intimacy with others, the feeling of acceptance and so on. I have traveled extensively both privately and professionally as a trainer and an owner of a language institute. Therefore, I have met many people from various backgrounds and have witnessed these truths firsthand. On the other hand, it seems equally apparent that we are all so uniquely different. This has always struck me in my very long teaching career. So here is my advice: When it comes to learning languages, I think it is time to wholeheartedly embrace our individual differences and focus on learning while playing to our strengths.
THE KEY FACTOR
If there is one thing I have learned over my long stint as a teacher, learner and promoter of other languages and cultures: If you want to learn a language successfully, the most decisive factor is motivation. If the learner is not motivated to keep learning outside the "lesson", the process is stunted. Equally negative for the learning progress is if the learner feels bored or specifically demotivated by the teaching method or monotonous activities during the “lesson”. So motivation is definitely the key!
TIME TO REALLY LEARN
Although sometimes it is not possible for the learner to turn up the "motivation dial" regarding outside motivation, but it is very possible for both teachers and students to be aware and mindful of reducing demotivation during learning time. One frequent mistake is that language teachers as well as students often choose a one-size-fits-all approach. Teachers plot through a language course book just to cover the contents requested by the school or the student. Students emotionlessly drill through stereotyped exercises. Here my message is again: It's time for a paradigm shift so that the teachers adapt their methods to the students’ learning styles and the students first define their preferred learning methods and embrace them accordingly.
I propose we start with the learners’ needs rather than the subject. That means we have to help them find out how they learn best. Understandably, this might not work out conveniently well with larger groups of language learners, but I can only encourage you to invest the time nevertheless because it is worth the effort. If you work with smaller groups and design individual lessons for them, this is easily accomplished. So the main task of the trainer is: get to know your students as fast as possible, their needs and their personality, to see what makes them tick – and then design your teaching materials. Of course, you should not forget yourself, the trainer – remember we are all different! Therefore, you should also take into consideration your own preferences in terms of teaching style and materials – because you have to like what you are doing and not just apply a theory or a pedagogic approach!
WANT TO know your personality profile?
Then take the test below. You will answer a few simple questions about yourself and then in the end you will be given four key letters which is your profile. (Example: ESFJ - Short for Extraverted | Sensing | Feeling | Judging)
NOW USE IT
Once you know your personality profile, it's time to apply the insights you received! Whether you are learning a language in your company, online or during personal study - learn the way you learn best and the results will be amazing!
Since our foundation, BCU has stood for individualized and customized language learning experiences. Not one course should look the same as another – even though you work with the same book. Because remember: We are all magnificently different with our different needs, wishes and goals. What could be more fulfilling for you as a trainer than working with highly motivated students who perceive learning as a pleasure and thereby reach their self- defined goals without any problems. Satisfaction guaranteed on both sides!