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Teacher influence


lushlala
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To what extent  do you feel your teacher can influence how well you enjoy and succeed at learning a foreign language? What qualities do you look for that you'd say make someone a good teacher?

Personally, I place a lot of importance on the quality of teaching I receive and the teacher as well. I like a teacher who's confident and knows what he's doing, an impartial and attentive teacher who divides his time across all students accordingly, someone who boosts your confidence and also not afraid to push you, among others.

I once too some French lessons at this place where the teacher was native, but seemed rather distracted by one of the girls in my class. He obviously had a crush on her and would relentless flirt with her and concentrate most of his time and teaching on her, which left a very bitter taste in the mouths of the rest of the class. Needless to say, we never really learnt much, didn't enjoy the experience and I left after one term. I found his conduct very unprofessional to say the least.

 

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I would prefer someone who is aware of the different types of learners and how certain people learn. Needless to say that the teacher must be able to create a lesson and or approach base on the said types of learners and their behavior. Some teaching techniques do not work for certain people and so on and a teacher should be aware of that. The teacher must do some efforts to get to know the students well. 

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If you're being taught something, anything, by a teacher, naturally the teacher and his or her skills in formulating advice, and employing effective teaching techniques are decisive in your learning experience. I don't think there's any argument about that.

One of the most important qualities any teacher can have, I think, is the ability to communicate complex material in a simple format. That's the real challenge.


The second quality is the ability to convey the material in an entertaining way. For any teacher to reach that level, is incredibly difficult.


Most teachers and their teaching methods are similar, boring and bland. It's always the same, and it's certainly not entertaining by any stretch of the imagination, and not really interesting either.

An interesting way of teaching (that might even be the future) are holographic projections and video games: visual stimuli which promotes learning.

I think that would totally revolutionize the entire concept of teaching and learning.

Now that's something I want to see.

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A teacher can definitely influence the way you learn a certain language. For example: you could learn English the British way or the American way, depending on your teacher. And also, how easily you learn a new language depends very much on the encouragement of your teacher. If he or she does not really put much interesting in teaching you, it makes it that much harder to learn the language in my opinion.

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To me, there isn't much of an impact. Firstly, it takes thousands of hours to reach a high level in a language, and most of us only spend a small portion of that with a teacher. Secondly, I personally only use teachers for conversation practice, so they play a lesser role in my language learning than in many others'. But if you're stuck in a class, of course a good teacher will make a big difference for that period of time. 

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On 07 December 2015 at 2:28:17 PM, JackStonewall said:

If you're being taught something, anything, by a teacher, naturally the teacher and his or her skills in formulating advice, and employing effective teaching techniques are decisive in your learning experience. I don't think there's any argument about that.

One of the most important qualities any teacher can have, I think, is the ability to communicate complex material in a simple format. That's the real challenge.


The second quality is the ability to convey the material in an entertaining way. For any teacher to reach that level, is incredibly difficult.


Most teachers and their teaching methods are similar, boring and bland. It's always the same, and it's certainly not entertaining by any stretch of the imagination, and not really interesting either.

An interesting way of teaching (that might even be the future) are holographic projections and video games: visual stimuli which promotes learning.

I think that would totally revolutionize the entire concept of teaching and learning.

Now that's something I want to see.

This sums up exactly the reason teaching is often described as being a calling. A teacher who's passionate about teaching and the outcomes they can potentially bring about through their teaching, will possess some if not all of the skills you've listed above and more. It's interesting how some people actually believe anybody can teach, but I don't think it's as simplistic as that. I mean, we've all had good and bad teachers, right LOL?

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Well, this has nothing to do with languages.... but I will share it anyway, because I believe it will illustrate my point well.  Back when I was a third grader I had a teacher that thought the way to ''help'' his students with attention issues was to embarrass them in front the class.  It was much worse when he taught math, as a result I started really loathing the math class and going to school in general.  Even well into my adult years I loathed math and linked to feelings of fear and even panic, because my failures back in 3rd grade were magnified by that awful teacher. 

It wasn't until a few years ago when I found a good tutor to help me pass some exams (needed math tutoring) that I stopped fearing math :)  He noticed I was terrified to make mistakes, but thanks to him I started to like math again and I no longer feel panic when I have to solve an equation or something like that.  

So yes, having a good teacher (and not a bully who pretends to be a teacher just like the one i had to endure) can make a huge difference.  

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2 minutes ago, Trellum said:

Well, this has nothing to do with languages.... but I will share it anyway, because I believe it will illustrate my point well.  Back when I was a third grader I had a teacher that thought the way to ''help'' his students with attention issues was to embarrass them in front the class.  It was much worse when he taught math, as a result I started really loathing the math class and going to school in general.  Even well into my adult years I loathed math and linked to feelings of fear and even panic, because my failures back in 3rd grade were magnified by that awful teacher. 

It wasn't until a few years ago when I found a good tutor to help me pass some exams (needed math tutoring) that I stopped fearing math :)  He noticed I was terrified to make mistakes, but thanks to him I started to like math again and I no longer feel panic when I have to solve an equation or something like that.  

So yes, having a good teacher (and not a bully who pretends to be a teacher just like the one i had to endure) can make a huge difference.  

I also had teachers like that in High School. They usually presented themselves as people you don`t mess with, or who could mess you up for good if you messed with them. I usually tried to prove them wrong and tried to excel in their particular class. Getting an A from such a teacher and showing them that you don`t back down, feels really good. :D

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On 9.12.2015, 15:16:22, lushlala said:

This sums up exactly the reason teaching is often described as being a calling. A teacher who's passionate about teaching and the outcomes they can potentially bring about through their teaching, will possess some if not all of the skills you've listed above and more. It's interesting how some people actually believe anybody can teach, but I don't think it's as simplistic as that. I mean, we've all had good and bad teachers, right LOL?

Totally agree with you! To say anybody can teach is like to say anyone can perform heart surgery :) Yes, anyone can probably take a knife and cut a whole in someone else's body but that doesn't mean they will actually cure that person instead of killing them. Teaching requires special skills and most probably vocation too. I've seen the damage bad teachers can do and honestly, it's devasting and horrible. There are so many people on this planet who could be amazing at certain subjects or skills but don't even know about it because they were put off by a cricizing, shouting and useless "teacher". And vice versa! I cannot underestimate the influence of some really great teachers I've had the pleasure of meeting in my life. I wish I could find their address and send them heartfelt thank-you letters...

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To me, teachers can really make or break how you not only learn a language but how you feel about it as well. When we had to pick high school foreign languages as an elective, I never would have guessed picking German on a whim would have led me to where I am now in my studies. My teacher was so into everything Germany related and actually had the heart and passion to want us to learn the language. He even would take certain students to Germany as exchange students for a month during the summer to help teach them about the language and certain things. Having someone who cares about the language can mean everything; if they are just teaching you because they have to or feel obligated, then there won't be any enthusiasm. I am a firm believer of making something interesting, fun and encouraging to help students not only learn better but to actually want to learn to continue learning. Plus, it can really, really strengthen your conversational skills and pronunciation having an actual human being to physically talk to instead of a text book.

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I think the role of the teacher is to guide the student, much more than just to teach. We can learn in a lot of ways, especially with all the technology these days without any teacher at all. So it is more important now that a teacher knows how to inspire his student, and to actually guide the student on how to study in their own time. You can't do that if you are not passionate about what you do.

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On 12/7/2015, 11:58:56, kurdapia said:

I would prefer someone who is aware of the different types of learners and how certain people learn. Needless to say that the teacher must be able to create a lesson and or approach base on the said types of learners and their behavior. Some teaching techniques do not work for certain people and so on and a teacher should be aware of that. The teacher must do some efforts to get to know the students well. 

This is very important and a lot of teachers can get this very wrong which is a shame. First thing that came to my mind was to say it's lack of empathy, but I think a teacher who's unwilling to do his/her best to teach a student the way the student can learn the best, is just not motivated enough to teach. And that can be really harmful to the student. 

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On 12/11/2015, 1:43:28, Chris_A said:

I also had teachers like that in High School. They usually presented themselves as people you don`t mess with, or who could mess you up for good if you messed with them. I usually tried to prove them wrong and tried to excel in their particular class. Getting an A from such a teacher and showing them that you don`t back down, feels really good. :D

When you face this during high school is different than when you face it when you are a 3rd grader, believe me.  This whole incident traumatized me so badly, but fortunately I got over it and now I am a new person. I still have confidence issues, in which I feel some doubt. Specially when it comes to school, I still fear I might not be able to do certain things, specially if I ever go back to college. 

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18 hours ago, loulou said:

To me, teachers can really make or break how you not only learn a language but how you feel about it as well. When we had to pick high school foreign languages as an elective, I never would have guessed picking German on a whim would have led me to where I am now in my studies. My teacher was so into everything Germany related and actually had the heart and passion to want us to learn the language. He even would take certain students to Germany as exchange students for a month during the summer to help teach them about the language and certain things. Having someone who cares about the language can mean everything; if they are just teaching you because they have to or feel obligated, then there won't be any enthusiasm. I am a firm believer of making something interesting, fun and encouraging to help students not only learn better but to actually want to learn to continue learning. Plus, it can really, really strengthen your conversational skills and pronunciation having an actual human being to physically talk to instead of a text book.

 

Wow... your teacher sounds like the most amazing teacher ever, for reals!   I wish I had had a teacher like that, but I have never had a teacher that motivated and passionate for what he does.   I guess I haven't been very lucky in that sense either.   Are you one of those students who ended up going in a student exchange to Germany? 

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On 12 December 2015 at 10:58:12 PM, anna3101 said:

Totally agree with you! To say anybody can teach is like to say anyone can perform heart surgery :) Yes, anyone can probably take a knife and cut a whole in someone else's body but that doesn't mean they will actually cure that person instead of killing them. Teaching requires special skills and most probably vocation too. I've seen the damage bad teachers can do and honestly, it's devasting and horrible. There are so many people on this planet who could be amazing at certain subjects or skills but don't even know about it because they were put off by a cricizing, shouting and useless "teacher". And vice versa! I cannot underestimate the influence of some really great teachers I've had the pleasure of meeting in my life. I wish I could find their address and send them heartfelt thank-you letters...

Hehe anna3101....your analogy cracked me up LOL I had this disturbing mental image of some clueless lunatic claiming to be a surgeon, and taking a knife to an unsuspecting victim....yikes!

On a serious note though, my French lecturer at uni is a shining example of good teaching qualities. That man knew how to liven up a class and make it more interesting,, he kept us motivated and made sure we didn't waver. He really pushed us without ridiculing or making us feel small. -and I have him to thank for my exchange trip to France during my second year. Each year the top 2 performers in each class were sent to France to study French at a French university, and I went! I was in Strasbourg for 3 months and to this day count that experience as one of my life experiences.  I loved it :)

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Teachers have great influence on young minds. I think the most influential people in life apart from your parents are teachers. So this means a lot of responsibility of molding you into a better human being lies with your teachers.

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My Japanese language teacher is an inspiration for me.  She has trained many other students before me, and one of those who she trained is also one of my teachers as well.  Our Japanese language class is also fun.   She encourages her students to do their best.  Most of my classmates had fun learning the language.  In addition to learning the language, we were also taught how to make origami.  We also watched videos about Japanese culture.  For that, I'm very grateful for the training she imparted on me and my classmates.

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@AExAVF....what a fantastic teacher! This is exactly what I mean; a passionate teacher 'radiates' that sort of eagerness onto their students and the whole learning process becomes smoother, in my opinion. Isn't it lovely that she also taught you about the Japanese culture? I bet your Japanese is fantastic, too. I have always said that if the learning process is made fun as well as interesting, the success rate is likely to shoot through the roof. It works like that for me, anyway.

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7 hours ago, lushlala said:

@AExAVF....what a fantastic teacher! This is exactly what I mean; a passionate teacher 'radiates' that sort of eagerness onto their students and the whole learning process becomes smoother, in my opinion. Isn't it lovely that she also taught you about the Japanese culture? I bet your Japanese is fantastic, too. I have always said that if the learning process is made fun as well as interesting, the success rate is likely to shoot through the roof. It works like that for me, anyway.

Precisely.  Our teacher imparted onto us everything we need to know about the language.  There were some students who dropped from her class because of personal reasons.  Those of us who remained stayed through to the end, though there were others who had to leave for Japan during the middle of the semester.  I wouldn't be too complacent on my Elementary 1 though.  Though I got a high mark, I honestly think I could have done better. 

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You're clearly a high achiever @AExAVF, and that's what will stand you in good stead in your language learning. I'm also of the opinion and agree with you that we should never rest on our laurels and keep the learning process going. However, I'd say don't be too hard on yourself either, because you seem to be doing very well as it stands. I guess it's just human nature though, we're our own worst critics and always to strive to do better. That's not necessarily a bad thing. It's just trying to find a happy medium that can be hard. 

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Language teachers play an important role in your life because many times they are your first contact with a new language, and they may be influential not just in learning, but in the correct learning and pronunciation you will get from them.

This is why I dislike the idea that the learning of a second language in Spanish-speaking countries is commonly provided by a Spanish speaking teacher that may master such language, but may not give the accurate pronunciation, and getting recorded course is even worst because companies tend to use teachers with regional Spanish accents talking an English that doesn't sound like the English Americans or British use.

 

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On 17 December 2015 at 10:52:28 PM, OmniHead said:

Language teachers play an important role in your life because many times they are your first contact with a new language, and they may be influential not just in learning, but in the correct learning and pronunciation you will get from them.

This is why I dislike the idea that the learning of a second language in Spanish-speaking countries is commonly provided by a Spanish speaking teacher that may master such language, but may not give the accurate pronunciation, and getting recorded course is even worst because companies tend to use teachers with regional Spanish accents talking an English that doesn't sound like the English Americans or British use.

 

I know what you mean about learning from someone who may not have the proper pronunciation down pat! It can be very frustrating and you then have to go back and undo all those 'bad habits' you inherited from them. A classic example is of many state school teachers in Botswana teaching English. Although they have English Degrees and all that, sometimes their pronunciation leaves A LOT to be desired, and their teaching obviously falls short. That's why it's easy to distinguish state educated people from privately educated ones in Botswana. Sadly, some people, especially those who haven't travelled outside of Botswana, show no interest to reverse the damage caused by their former teachers. Or they simply don't know what's wrong and what's right, because that's all they've ever known.

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So true @lushlala, and the worst is having people accepting English as they come without realizing of wrong pronunciation and outdated spoken sentences structure, but doing nothing to get themselves updated by listening carefully to native English speakers doing it the right way. As you say, many people may not travel outside their countries, and sometimes not even outside their cities.

Yet they could pay attention to movies and other English resources that media airs to figure our something has to be wrong with the English they learned.

And when I say "outdated structures" I refer to simply things that make a noticeable difference however, when talking to native speakers or correctly taught people.

I remember myself coming with the school-learned greeting "how do you do?" which may still be in used and is understandable, but not commonly used versus "how are you doing." 

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Wow OminHead, I agree with you on everything you've said! There really's no excuse to get pronunciations wrong. I mean, obviously you can't get it all right all of the time. But people can certainly try harder. With advances in modern technology; the internet, TV programs and movies being at their most popular; people could pay more attention through watching and listening to how things are properly said without ever having to leave their country. It's amazing what you can pick up from just those sources! Maybe it comes down to interest and the extent of the passion in relation to language skills for each individual. Maybe some people just don't really care, as long as they can 'communicate' IDK

Hehe I like your comment on the 'how do you do' expression! It's very common for people who've learnt English as a second language to stick to very dated text book English that most English speakers don't use in normal day to day situations. I guess you could say we're taught the proper Queen's language, which can come across as being too stiff and old fashioned. 

 

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