Learning a language is like learning how to ride a bicycle, we normally need side wheels, which are a great way of learning, but there’s a moment in which we have to dare to go without help.
My classes are going very well, and my students are mostly getting good results. There are people who don’t because they’re not really interested, or because we don’t get well with each other or whatever. The good news is that’s the exception.
Guide them, push them
When I’m teaching, I normally guide them through the new content, but the way I like to do it is like releasing them as soon as possible, at least just a bit.
If we learn a new expression in class, like giving your opinion, once we’ve done it, I would ask my students to give me their opinions about a lot of different topics. It can be very simple staff like TV, football or broccoli.
The first question is always difficult. You can normally find the content on the board and you would only have to change a couple of words to express yourself, but it’s still difficult.
Once we’ve done it, we can repeat it, and we should without looking at any content, and that’s the point where students struggle. They never risk themselves!
When riding a bicycle for the first time, once you get rid of the side wheels, daring too much can be dangerous, as you may fall. It seems students get that scared when they’re in the class, as they may fall.
Fear of failure is a total misperception in class. We tend to think we’re going to fall off the bike, but we’re not! We are supposed to fail regularly and we are supposed to take our chances and take some risks.
I find very difficult to make adults answer a simple question without looking at their notes, remaining silence or trying to get from a class mate. We should all take some risks.
When we are breave enough to risk our answers is when we start learning significantly, and we’re not merely memorizing. This is the moment when the Dormant Giant wakes up and does his duty.
Once again, babies hold the answer. What does a baby do when he or she doesn’t know what to answer? they just spit whatever that comes through their minds.
If they don’t make it right, it doesn’t really matter, but the funny thing is they normally make it right!