3 types of student every language teacher will recognise and the best way to reach them
Kia ora koutou amigos,
This blog post is dedicated to our language teachers and librarians, though if you studied a language at school it’s totally worth a squiz too - you might even recognise yourself!
( ↑ Mum back in her school days ↑ )
#1 The advanced student
This is the ‘Shelley’ student aka my mum and Lingogo co-founder; they do all of their homework, they ace assessments, they pay attention in class, they're brilliant, clever, keen, and miles ahead of the pack.
A teacher’s dream right?
Well, maybe, if you were tutoring one-on-one. But mixed in with a multi-ability class, keeping these (amazing) students busy and challenged can be a bit of a nightmare. They absorb everything you tell them and before you have time to put the next lesson together - there they are, waiting for your next pearls of wisdom. How do you keep them keen and stop them getting bored?
You could clone yourself. Or you could engage them in independent study by pointing them to Lingogo every time they finish an exercise early. Ahhhh, breatheeee, and enjoy sweet peace of mind knowing they’re still exercising their noggins while you bring the rest of the class up to speed.
#2 The unmotivated student
Unfortunately for Mum and my high school French teacher, I can relate to this type a lot easier than the last. Fortunately for you, my real life experience of being totally unmotivated to learn French means this solution is thoroughly researched.
The reason I spent more time passing notes in class than learning conjugations was because I couldn’t see the point. I’d never been in a situation where I could apply French outside of the learning environment which meant I couldn’t see its value.
Praise and a pass mark meant diddly squat. I needed a way to experience that spark I found years later when I realised I half-understood a reply to my (now atrocious) French on a Parisian street. Your challenge as a teacher is to try to bring a sense of that moment into your lessons. It doesn’t matter what you use to teach - Language Perfect, workbooks, the latest, most phandangled, new best thing - your unmotivated student will not try until they see the point.
It’s an amazing feeling to be able to read a book in a different language - a game-changer as those funny words become sentences you can understand. It feels like you’ve cracked a code, like you’ve just become a member of an exclusive club. It’s exactly what you need to light the spark.
Set your unmotivated students up with some recreational reading in Lingogo’s supportive environment. Watch the light come on. It’s a beautiful thing.
#3 The student lacking confidence
Ever tried speaking and pronunciation practise with a student who is too self-conscious to talk? Or with a class clown who purposefully pronounces words wrong for laughs because they’re scared to actually try and get it wrong? It can make any hour long lesson feel like a full working week.
Learning a language can bring out the shy student in all of us. I’m not sure why it’s infinitely more embarrassing to attach the wrong article to a noun than to get a history date wrong in front of a crowd - but it definitely is. It’s not only hard for teachers but a miserable experience for the poor student sitting there like a possum in the headlights.
Reading and listening is a highly effective and non-threatening way for students to build speaking confidence. Often all they need is time to get familiar with content before they feel confident to try it in front of a group. With Lingogo, they can listen and repeat stories until their heart’s content on their own device away from the classroom and come back sounding like a native speaker. How’s that for a confidence boost?
Lingogo can be used in so many different ways for different learners - this is really only the tip of the iceberg. Discover more for yourself abso-bloomin-lutely free by signing up for a one month no-obligations demo. We’ll throw in a free guide with ideas for games and exercises using Lingogo stories to get you started.
Happy teaching folks, and a great big THANK YOU for doing one of the most important jobs in the whole wide world.
Lizzie and Shelley Dunn