Learning a language is not like learning Math or History, is it? It’s not so much about knowing as it is about doing something. Like learning a musical instrument or a sport, it’s more about performing. And using the analogy of a sport, I am like your coach. I can help you with drills, motivation, strategies, and direction. But as with music or a sport it is your responsibility to do the following:
- Have a good attitude and give your best effort.
- Practice as much as possible outside of class as you can. You don’t have to be gifted to learn a language, a musical instrument or a sport. You just have to put in the hours of practice on your own to perfect your skill.
- Practice performing. Like the music recital or sports game, your experience performing in the real world helps you improve.
To use another analogy, as a teacher I do not see my students as vessels to be filled with knowledge, but rather as little plants to be cultivated. It is my job to nurture, inspire and motivate my students.
However it is the learners, not the teacher, who have the most control over their language development. The best learning comes when students take initiative in directing their own learning and use their knowledge to interact with the real world. As most of us have probably experience in some point in our lives, people learn better when they can make more decisions about their learning and when it has a practical connection to their lives. Therefore, as a student it is in your bet interest to take control of your learning – you decide what and how you want to learn – and actively seek out new ways to practice English and improve your skill.