31.12.10

Why should English teachers be English learners?

There are a number of reasons why it is good for an English teacher to have as much language learning experience as possible.

One reason is that the more experience English teachers have learning languages, the more they will know about how to learn languages. They will learn what study methods are most effective - and which ones are not very effective. They will also learn how to plan and use their time for language study. And they will learn how to discipline themselves for the long and sometimes difficult task of language learning. One of the most precious gifts a language teacher can give students is a good understanding of how to successfully study and learn a foreign language, and the best way to gain this is by studying language themselves.

English teachers who have lots of experience as language learners can also better understand the difficulties students face as students try to learn a foreign language. Teachers who have struggled to learn a language themselves remember how it feels to struggle to learn the language, and they know what is most difficult for students.

Thirdly, language teachers who learn a foreign language well are good role models for their students. In other words, language teachers who have done a good job of learning a foreign language encourage students by showing them that it is possible to learn a foreign language well.

But perhaps the most important reason that language teachers should be language learners has to do with self-respect. English teachers who have learned English well will have more confidence as they teach. They will also have more pride in their skills, and this will encourage them and make them feel better about their teaching.

Word and phrase list:
to discipline yourself (to do something): to make yourself do something you don't want to do, but that is good for you. Ex: If you want to be a good runner, you need to discipline yourself to run every morning.precious: valuable
a role model: someone students should try to be like. Ex: Prof. Wang is an excellent role model. She not only tells her students to study hard; she also studies hard herself.
to have to do with: to have a relationship to. Ex: Practice has a lot to do with how quickly students improve their English.

Source: "Learning English: A Textbook for English Teachers", Don Snow

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