Rethinking The Teacher

Over the years, methods of teaching and how we think about the process of education has changed a lot. This is especially evident in the sphere of Business Language teaching. Here the traditional idea of the teacher as the disperser of knowledge has been replaced by the idea of the teacher as the facilitator of learning.

The modern day language teacher resembles the Socratic idea of teaching more than anything else: they help people to uncover what they know and broaden it. They do not export knowledge by arcane means from their own brains those of their learners.

Facilitating Learning

In this way, the modern language teacher is a motivator, advisor, guide and facilitator more than a traditional teacher. The role has more in common with a skills training facilitator. The emphasis in language teaching has also shifted from technical control over a language (learning grammar, syntax and vocabulary) to gaining fluency in conversation and understanding.

These facts, combined with the emergence of English as the dominant Business language of the 21st century, mean that not only has the demand for English changed, but the potential pupils and the methods of its delivery have also changed.

In a room full of business people, one cannot be drilling grammar, correcting the minutiae of pronunciation and practicing vocabulary as a language method. Language teaching instead has evolved to more closely adopt the notions of adult education while also re-thinking some of the basics of educational method.

Business as Source Material

In practical terms, this means there is a lot less emphasis on rote-learning, and a lot more emphasis on doing. And not just completing random tasks, but contextual doing. This entails relating the language tasks to everyday work life in the strongest possible way. In Business Language courses this would mean using the work place and materials as an ongoing classroom environment where greetings and social conversations, writing and listening skills can be honed and exercised.

This change has also meant that language teachers need to be more than just teachers. They need to know more about business and business environments. The ability to relate to different industrial sectors and assimilate the important challenges and characteristics is also a key teaching skill.

The Independent Signpost

This new-look teacher is someone who creates a space in which an individual or a group can try out new ideas and thoughts in a safe space and experiment with what they need and already know. The emphasis lies very much with candidates doing things and guiding the course content in directions that their jobs and industries require, rather than slavishly following an existing curriculum that decides what is to be learned.

This highly custom approach tailors the knowledge and experience of the teacher into a package that delivers a language solution to the specific needs of each candidate. It means that what each person learns on a business language course can be radically different to the next person. Not only do people learn in different ways, but they learn for different reasons and with different goals. The modern business language trainer knows this and sways with that breeze to deliver unique, targeted training.

TalenInstituut Free Tip:

If you’re thinking about a business focussed language course, think about the specific goals and areas of importance that you require, rather than just about improving that language generally. This will make you more motivated, your goals more likely to be achieved and give your language trainer far more to work with.

At TalenInstituut Nederland (The Dutch Language Institute) we understand the needs that companies face as well as the fears individual learners feel. This is why we offer flexible, fully customised Business English training to businesses and individuals. Through a process of interviews and meetings we establish the unique needs and competence of our clients and design each and every course around those. To find out more about our Business English and other language courses, visit our website and ask us for a quote:

© TalenInstituut Nederland

By: David Chislett
Trainer Business English