How do I coach language learners?

In the title sentence above there is a word that I want you to focus on. That word is “coach.” I am a language coach. You are the learner. I help you learn by being a good guide, coach, facilitator. Let me tell you about some premises of language learning and about “my” methods.

Premise 1: Adult leanguage learning is not too different from infant/child first language(s) learning. Except that you already know about the world and you have words and grammar to describe much of it.

  • Thusly we use a variety of materials such as Graphic Novelscoursebooks from the target language, social media (Instagram, etc), novels, newspapers and other authentic materials to study.
  • A large component of our work is in helping students seek out native speakers to converse with.
  • I help students learn ways to manage intercultural/interlanguage conversations to learn better and minimize misunderstanding.

Premise 2: Adults learn better than kids. It takes kids the better part of 20 years to become competent, articulate, productive members of modern, Western, Middle-Class society. An adult could do the same thing if he/she had the time! Adults have so much to do that they very rarely can devote themselves to re-learning the world in a new language the way kids do!!

An adult can learn a foreign language in 4-5 years and be as competent as a college graduate! That’s 4-5 times faster than children.

  • I help students make the most of their lone-study time by helping them ask the right question.
  • I help students learn what reources there are “out there” and how to use them!
  • I help students manage expectations: Why are you learning language? How will you use it? With whom will you speak?

Premise 3: Language is culture. Students have many cultural and linguistic assumptions which impede, hinder or otherwise limit their learning of a foreign language.

  • I “teach” students about some basic concepts in linguistics and anthropology which should translate in a calm, easy experience in language learning.
  • For each student we create a STUDY PLAN as part of creating a clear plan to learn and reach goals. 

Premise 4: Adults struggle with pronunciation in foreign languages. In fact, this seems to be the only thing adults consistently cannot do better than child language-learners.

  • With expert guidance adults can develop a polished, good-sounding accent -even if not a perfect one.