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Unread Jul 12th, 2009, 11:42 am
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Default ESL/EFL Teacher qualification - Skills in other languages

A few days ago we had a debate about whether it is important for ESL teachers to have abilites in other languages. This debate came up because it seemed that in our school, ESL/EFL teachers who had learnt or speak another language seem to have better teaching skills and a deeper understanding of student needs. It also seemed that teachers who didn't have skills in other languages, always seemed to have the most complaints from students. The most interesting of all was that the non-native English teachers seemed to do a better job than native English teachers. Has anyone observed this phenomenon? I'd like your thoughts on this.
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Unread Jul 22nd, 2009, 08:48 am
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Default Re: ESL/EFL Teacher qualification - Skills in other languages

Generally, teachers who have experienced first hand the "trials and tribulations" of learning a second or foreign language tend to develop a greater sensitivity towards students’ needs and have a better understanding of some of the difficulties students encounter.
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Unread Jul 23rd, 2009, 09:40 am
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Default Re: ESL/EFL Teacher qualification - Skills in other languages

I agree with ICAL Pete. . .

But I also think that speaking the students' native language isn't a drawback. It can become a crutch, and if that's what happens, the students don't learn much. . . because the impulse to learn (people, I think, have an instinctive need to communicate. If you will only understand English, they'll try to communicate with you.) will be diminished.

But I've been glad to be able to 'check' understanding by saying "What's the word for 'unless' in German?" Often, students will understand 'without,' and it's good to know they aren't understanding you and to correct that from the get-go.

A final difference I've noticed is credibility. I live and work in Germany. Many of my colleagues don't speak any German. . . and the students notice this, and wonder where they get off telling them HOW to learn a language, when they're living in the country and don't seem to be able to pick anything up.

Okay, that became a ramble and a rant. Sorry for that.
-Toby
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