I am continuously seeking to improve my training in order to help the learner more effectively.
In the following pages I summarise some key points of my philosophy and methodology, which have developed out of my own experience of what works in practice, rather than from language teaching theories:
- understanding language learning as a practical skill
- being very sensitive to the pace of learning
- making the content very relevant
- allowing the trainer/coach to use their skills, experience and judgement
- moving beyond training into coaching
One useful way of describing my approach to language learning is to compare it to learning to play a musical instrument. How do people learn to master a musical instrument? Over years, with lots of practice, guided by a teacher to selects appropriate exercises according to their abilities and needs. It's hard to imagine learning to play an instrument alongside thirty other people, all taught at the same time by just one teacher. Yet that is exactly how language teaching is often delivered.
This classroom approach has its roots in the school education system where children are taught in classes - and it is commercially more profitable. However, for professional adults who have limited time available and who expect results, this class model is usually almost totally ineffective and I believe should not be used for language tuition. Furthermore, even with small groups, it is all too easy for trainers to fall into the trap of becoming facilitators of published resources and activities which do not correspond to the needs of the individuals in front of them.
My approach is to focus on my customers and to use my skill and experience to tailor every single lesson to their needs at that time. It requires first and foremost that I listen to the learner, and then that I be flexible enough to deliver precisely what is most beneficial to them individually. This is coaching, and it is a method that I have developed myself, as I aim to help people learn the English language in the most effective way possible. It works.