A natural approach to language learning: guided conversation
Is it possible to learn a second language in a natural way?
What is understandable information input?
How can you find the right level of language to understand it?
Well, that’s where the teacher comes in – she’ll be the one who adapts the language level to your level of understanding.
A good teacher will be able to create conversation sessions for learning purposes taking into account the following points:
The teacher will use a level of language proficiency appropriate for you in terms of vocabulary and grammatical structures, taking into account that you can understand it but that it is still rich enough to give your level a boost and help you continue learning.
The teacher will ensure that the content is relevant to you, the student. This does not mean that the content does not matter, but simply that you feel that the communication has a value, that you find useful, not as a lesson, but as a situation where you will have the opportunity to use it in real communication..
The teacher will focus on the student’s ability to communicate in a useful way. For example, if the student is telling or retelling a story, is he or she managing to effectively convey his or her main ideas? Does he or she use idioms in the same way as native speakers do? Does his or her speech sound natural and correct? These are the issues that will be in the teacher’s hands in this type of session.
The teacher will make thoughtful and reasonable decisions as to when and how to correct the student’s mistakes, because nobody likes to feel that the person they are talking to is more interested in criticizing than in listening. The teacher must be the one to determine how to provide correction in each particular instance; when to make a correction and how to do it, as well as the type of errors that are worth correcting, according to the student’s level of understanding, learning style and goals at any given time.
The teacher will offer a series of challenges that are reasonable and interesting for each specific student. This could mean, for example, asking a question in which he or she uses some colloquialism. Then, she will listen carefully to the student’s answer to determine if the colloquialism has been understood; Or it might mean introducing a word that is difficult (but related to the student’s interests) in a context where the student is likely to understand and remember it, thus creating an opportunity to enrich his or her vocabulary.
About the author:
Jackie’s educational background in Linguistics and Psychoanalysis, along with her experience as an English/Spanish Translator has given her a solid base from which to approach English teaching.
Jackie understands each students’ learning style, gained through her specific combination of education, work experience and creativity.
Thanks to her experience working in business environments Jackie is in her element when she helps business executives, scientists and professionals improve their English or Spanish language skills.