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Een beeld van een leraar in Amsterdam

Learning languages means learning to communicate with people who don’t speak our mother tongue. So how do we go about it? And how do teachers go about it? Are there fool-proof methods, perhaps one method that could be perfect for every learner, and most people just don’t know about it? Or is even this question, well, amateurish? There’s a lot of research going on about the problem of helping students and of students trying, or quite often not even trying, to use ways that help the memory, the understanding, the spoken or written communication, the correctness which most call, correctly or less so, grammar. As a student of English in Hungary and a teacher ever since, I’ve listened to lots of wise thoughts about it all at university and at conferences, and even sometimes contributed somewhat. I’ve attended very many classes by other teachers too, mostly while it was my job to train young English teachers at my own school for the university. But most teachers would attest to it that teachers learn to do their job mostly by doing it as best as they can. So here I don’t want to pursue research projects, only to share experiences about this whole process, and mostly with a view to the situation in the Netherlands, which I’ve come to find, well, strange, in spite of this nice statue in Amsterdam.

After working in language education for so long, and getting so little response in the Netherlands, I’ve decided to open up to the world and put my ideas to the test on this site. I would like to receive comments on what I say because I would like to go on learning about language education here or anywhere.

I would advise my readers to go about the articles in chronological order, it would make more sense I think. If the reader finds them provocative, it’s because I intend them to be so. I believe that my provocation has a better chance to provoke or invoke contrasting ideas, without which my own ideas, coming from one person only, may prove to be limited, or one-sided, therefore not true or realistic enough. Besides, feedback is a central tenet of the British teaching ethos, right?

by P.S.

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