Issues Facing Languages Teachers

I am in the process of writing my short TeachMeet Languages presentation and I want to get some input from other teachers before I get too far into writing it. I want to know what are the biggest problems or challenges facing languages educators in the classroom today. I have a few of my own ideas, but I’m sure there are more I haven’t thought about and I want to make my presentation not just about my personal experience! So far I have thought of: attracting students to language study through to the end of secondary schooling, the increasing emphasis on technology in the classroom, the ‘teacher centered-ness’ of language education, the rise of Google translate…

So, please add what you believe are the biggest issues facing us as languages teachers today, and perhaps offer a solution that’s worked for you.

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6 thoughts on “Issues Facing Languages Teachers

  1. This study is fascinating. I agree with your list of concerns. This fall I will be in my 13 th year of teaching French in a rural district in Wisconsin. One concern I have with language teaching is balancing student motivation. Many students believe class should be just fun and games without any work or commitment. I believe 100% class should be engaging and interesting/fun; however, I believe many of my students spend countless hours with video games, work full time jobs, have little to no support from parents, or just see no point in school. My students will swear at teachers, refuse to work, and then it is seen as the teachers fault for not being motivating enough. I don’t mean to sound like a complainer…just sharing some real concerns.

    One solution for me is to always find new ideas each year for each class. I find many ideas from twitter thanks to those who share so much! Plus, when I’m learning and having fun my students see how much fun I’m having!

    1. Thanks for the comment Cecilia. I have problems too with students who don’t value learning a language. It’s extremely hard to motivate them especially when we’re assessing them all the time and they don’t achieve. I agree that making the class as relevant and interesting as you can helps, as do the constant stream of ideas from twitter! I guess we just have to keep trying.

  2. I think the greatest challenge is to ensure the continued “can do” approach to learning a language which most young children naturally have into the secondary setting. Developing the putting yourself on the line, resilience and courage needed to speak in a different language in a class where you can easily drop into English is a real challenge!

  3. What bugs me the most is the lack of support we get from management because we are not “core” subject teachers but specialists. Every time a block is needed for rehearsals, excursions, assemblies etc. it is taken out of the languages block. And like the teacher before the behavior of the students can be appalling, with the heads of school responding as if the learning of language isn’t as important so when the students act out it isn’t as serious as if t were in an English or Maths class.

    One thing my students really enjoy is that I try and keep my info and tasks relevant and up to date, we watch a lot of music videos and vodcasts and track the news, for my lower levels we also follow some of our favourite ppl on twitter which providers really small chunks of authentic language .

  4. 1. Planning Time: I feel like a planning period disappears so quickly without me really getting to plan.
    2. Authentic resources: Again, the time factor. I love using real readings and such, but it takes time finding them.
    3. Cross-curricular connections: I don’t know enough about what the core classes are learning at the moment to connect. Once we did a whole-school cross-curriculum project (like learning teams with teachers from different areas) that worked so well. I wish we would do it consistently.

  5. There are 3 of us (French) in the district and right now we are going thru a tough time with alignment of instruction. One teacher is disgusted at the level of performance of the students she inherits. It is rough bc harsh words have been said and we really need to work together as a team.

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