I listened to an episode of Akimbo yesterday. A podcast by Seth Godin who is basically my inspiration for most professional endeavors these days. With consistency he delivers always the right amount of inspiration, which is a reminder to keep pushing out of my comfort zone and do what feels difficult and prove to myself that it’s possible.
Getting our students in school or even our own children to solve interesting problems is something Seth was talking about in this episode and I listened intently. Because even if we all want to agree with that it isn’t easy to find such tasks, is it?
For those of us who teach language, we have an opportunity to offer challenges instead of problems and accept multiple solutions to how our students can express themselves (interesting) when using the language. Language expression is complex and varies and that is the beauty of learning it. Our students, ultimately, have to decide how they want to express themselves and how they want to be perceived when they speak.
- As a fluent speaker
- As a native speaker
- As an academic
- As a communicator
- To understand and be understood
There’s many others I’m sure you can list. But it’s important as teachers to recognize this and prepare lessons and teach accordingly. I try to think of myself as a guide for my students, to show them the tools they can use to express themselves the way they choose. No language teacher should tell their student there is only one way to say something. We can be sarcastic, direct/indirect, humorous, polite, cryptic and so on. I think that is important to remember. I always try to tell my clients to avoid the word “problem” and use issue or challenge instead.