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ERIC Number: EJ936089
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 7
ISSN: ISSN-1559-663X
Lessons from the Other Side of the Teacher's Desk: Discovering Insights to Help Language Learners
Westbrook, Frances
English Teaching Forum, v49 n1 p2-7 2011
Most language teachers become teachers because they are fascinated by language. They like the way languages work, they are intrigued by differences between their native tongues and other languages, and they enjoy the process of helping their students learn. Most language teachers have had positive experiences as language students themselves somewhere along the paths to their own classrooms. Positive experiences learning a foreign language certainly contribute greatly to the attraction of teaching one. Most language teachers have learned a language in a classroom setting (and many have also learned a second language in more nontraditional settings, such as immersion in a new language either because of travel or while living in foreign countries). The author is an English language teacher who has been teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL) for many years. However, until recently, it had been many years since she had learned a foreign language in a "classroom setting". And that is what she did for six focused months. As a requirement for a job, she studied in an intensive language training program. It was a fascinating and often difficult experience that gave her a renewed understanding of language learning: there will always be a distance, however subtle, between teacher and student, even in the most student-centered classroom. That experience of once again being a student in a language classroom caused her to reexamine her beliefs about classroom practice. Some of her beliefs were confirmed, and some were challenged. In this article, she examines those beliefs. The language that she studied was Russian, but she believes that her experience as a language learner can be generalized across most language learning experiences.
US Department of State. Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Office of English Language Programs, SA-5, 2200 C Street NW 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20037. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A