This informal CPD article How Teaching A Foreign Language Can Enrich Your Own Life was provided by Centre of Excellence, a worldwide online training provider.
The range of personal benefits of becoming bilingual are abundant, from better cognition to confidence in communication. But have you ever thought about the joys experienced by those doing the teaching?
Well, language is a gift that keeps on giving - especially if you’re the one sharing your knowledge. If you grew up speaking English, this may come as a surprise, but English is one of the most difficult languages to learn. Armed with your innate skill, you can share in the joy of communication and potentially change lives.
Beyond the outward benefits, here are some things that teaching English as a foreign language could do for you:
Learn Different Ways of Teaching
One of the primary roles of a language teacher is to guide students on their learning journey, rather than to simply impart knowledge. Students will no doubt continue their language learning experience beyond the confines of the classroom, in conversational encounters that can be greatly beneficial to their language development. After all, they want a practical grasp of English! For this reason, teaching a language is an incredibly subjective experience for learners, depending on the modes of education they receive.
In English language teaching, the inductive approach is generally favoured, in which you would act as a mentor to prompt, confirm and correct, rather than lecture, your students. This maximises the amount of time your students can enjoy guided practical learning.
Although this kind of teaching might not be time-efficient in other subjects, teaching a language is a good chance to engage with hands-on teaching.
Develop Your Communication Skills
In becoming an accomplished teacher, you’ll learn that communication is vital to your students’ success and wellbeing in your class. This will involve listening to students’ needs and personalising your approach to them as individuals – as you would with friends and family – to create positive relationships. This will help to create fruitful interpersonal group dynamics suited to the environment of learning. Remember, this may be different to what you were used to at school!
All these insights will help you to become a great communicator and develop a good rapport with your class. But teachers aren’t expected to be perfect all the time! You’ll learn to apologise and fix your mistakes to gain the trust of your students. All of these skills have applications across the various facets of life.
Improve Your Grammar
The English grammar system is built on four pillars: morphology, phonology, semantics and syntax. You will need to develop a good understanding of these concepts to guide those wishing to learn English. They are complex concepts but it’s important to remember that in teaching language, you mustn’t be too prescriptive with your students.
They must be exposed to a range of written and spoken grammar, allowed to produce their language freely and spontaneously, and, where necessary, encouraged to improve accuracy. In this flexible and supportive approach to teaching you will learn to understand and love the nuances of grammar.
Build Your Conversational and Public Speaking Confidence
In teaching, you’ll have to proceed with a strong discourse structure - keeping your phraseology intelligible, approachable, and culturally empathetic, while picking up social response cues and demonstrating good etiquette. You’ll also develop an excellent ear for pronunciation, intonation and emphasis, as well as a deep appreciation for dialects and accents, which should be wholeheartedly embraced.
Expand Your Horizons
If you’re reading this, we’re betting you have a certain degree of wanderlust and your itchy feet can’t wait to stomp the open road and see the world. Yes, travel is a fantastic way to broaden your horizons. But to get to know the rich and various wonders of our world, you must make visceral connections to understand people and their culture. Teaching is a great way to make profound professional connections to others and to gain a deeper insight into different ways of life.
We wish you all the best in your future classroom – wherever that may be!
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