Natural Learning – Just like your Mama used to do it…

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All along the long path of over forty years of teaching English and other languages –and learning other languages- I have realised teaching has come a long way and most of all has gone a long way from teaching…

Material and support has evolved but the questions and the challenge remain the same… there was a time when some people thought technology and remote teaching would rule the roost and classroom teachers’ days would be counted… but technology came… and went… while teachers stayed on…

I have kept my technological and pedagogical watch on… while I was always favourable to a natural –more human- teaching approach… being human is also what makes us teachers… and our material is human…
The older I get the less I teach and the more I listen… listen to my students and have them speak more… so they work exclusively on what they need… there is so much to learn for a teacher from what the students learn…

All my work and writing go that way… to use the human potential to its advantage…
To do that I made every endeavour and took every opportunity to study how our brain works… how we react and how we communicate… how Languages work… and realised after so many years that if teaching is a technical way to pass on knowledge and craft… and that all my work had undertones of that…
My teaching took on a more and more natural approach to learning…

Too often too much precious time is wasted in trying to teach students things they don’t need… and will never use with every bit of luck… in a way that doesn’t agree with them… while there is much they are not taught and yet would need… most books are responsible for that…
Students don’t need long lists of irregular verbs or phrasal verbs… let’s face it, students will, more often than not, communicate in English with non-natives… who experience the same challenges as them… and will bring communication down the easiest common denominator… and most of the time over the internet or email… and will Google translate their texts…
And all that time the teacher will have tried and tested – and tortured- the students to get them where he/she wanted… sometimes a teacher’s job only goes so far… and so does a student’s…

Communication today offers us a wealth of tools to use and choose from… and we never know what’s to come… teachers may take years to get students there… only to realise by the time they get it right… it’s no longer useful… like the word ‘modem’ today… sometimes it pays to call it a day and sleep on it… let the sleep learning process take its course… close the book and let the students do the talking and the teaching… teachers will then need to check they get there in the best possible way… and make sure the students can actually do it in some autonomous way or another… or find the best resources to do it…
While wondering and pondering on how to best translate the Bible in German Luther remembered his mother telling him ‘do things in the way you know best to do them’… and so he went on to translate the Bible in his own German dialect among the German dialects that were around then… and the funny thing is he’s probably responsible for making the national language of all German speakers to date… and he made the Bible understandable to all the German people who didn’t speak Latin… he did what came naturally to him…
I was given students to teach most of my colleagues had given up on… and had to reengineer my teaching approach to find new ways to get the message to them… all the approaches, books and material proffered to them and amounted to no avail… I remembered my lessons from Edward de Bono and his Lateral Thinking… and took it from there… but I must confess most of my work was stirring all knowledge was dormant in them and couldn’t wait to get out…

Continue reading :
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Comprehensive-Teacher-TEFL-Companion-English-ebook/dp/B00LWXBNJQ/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

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