Engaging with Learner Motivations
The first task of a language teacher is to unlock the motivations of the students. Language learning is beneficial for unlocking job opportunities, connecting to new cultures, or understanding one’s own heritage. Motivations can be either intrinsic, inward facing, or extrinsic, outward driven. Intrinsic motivations are generally found to be stronger motivations such as desire to connect with the target culture and communicate with people in their own language. Extrinsic motivations can also be compelling, such as requirements for school or employment. A wise language teacher will help to deepen whatever the student’s motivations are by giving the students a chance to fulfill at least part of their goals early in their language learning process, whether by connecting to the target language community, or showing practical examples of how these language skills will be useful in their career.
ACTFL World Readiness Standards
As a language teacher guides her students toward increased language proficiency, the ACTFL World Readiness Standards for Learning Languages offer clear objectives for increased linguistic functions in the target language. While “communication” is a clear objective of language learning, the ACTFL...
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...erwhelmed by the linguistic challenges they face. However, by offering insightful feedback and genuine compliments, a language teacher can help students increase their motivation and realize how far they have progressed in their language journey.
While the language teacher is an important role in the development of one’s language skills, the best language classrooms are student-centered, allowing students to deductively discover language patterns and applications. In this setting the teacher becomes an insightful guide, leading the language learner all the while teaching the student how to learn. For in time, good language teachers will carefully decrease the student’s dependency on themselves, in exchange for a self-sufficient, motivated language learner who can learn the language in the real world with only minimal guidance and support from the language teacher.
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