At Casa Spanish, we’ve noticed that many of our students are teachers themselves. From primary school teachers to university professors, it seems to be a bit of a theme.
So we decided to find what mattered to these people in their decision-making. What it is about our lessons that they prefer, compared to the alternatives?
Here’s what they told us.
"It's so much better when the lesson is structured"
The first reason that came up in our interviews is the importance of proper planning.
You’re probably thinking, wow, shouldn’t that be obvious? But many online schools lack the investment in structure.
Unfortunately, brilliant lessons don't plan themselves. Each class demands hours of preparation. Teachers must organise material. They have to adapt activities to the size and makeup of each specific class. They need to bring in different elements of the lesson at the right time to ensure the class is effective.
All of this work has a noticeable impact on the learning outcome for the students. For instance: to an ill-prepared Spanish teacher, getting students to do a listening exercise with no prior exposure to the vocabulary might not seem like a problem. They might even think it’s a good idea. But the reality is that students should first familiarise themselves with the vocabulary before they listen to the audio track. If this stage is missed out, they won't know how to direct their attention, and they’ll veer towards "passive listening"... which is of little benefit to the learning activity. Ultimately, it can be a waste of time for both students and teachers.
Language-learning is full of subtleties that relate to the brain and how we function as humans. The difference between a good or bad learning experience is day and night. Teachers who take a Spanish course as a student can quickly detect a well-structured lesson.
Teaching is like a performance
Great teaching captivates great students, having a direct impact on their ability to learn.
The second reason teachers gave for enjoying Casa Spanish is our style of engaging students through lessons.
In language-teaching at large, you’ll find a range of teaching styles. At one end of the spectrum, you have video-like lectures where knowledge is imparted as a long stream of information. At the other end, you have one-to-one tutoring sessions which don’t leave a lot of breathing room.
Casa Spanish exists in the middle ground. Teaching in small groups, we can adapt our lessons to meet each student’s needs, while providing a more relaxed and forgiving environment than an intense tutoring session.
Quality teachers know how to draw in an entire classroom, despite having a range in the learning capabilities of individual students. Even if students start learning at the same time and start out at a similar level, disparities often arise, as some students learn faster than others. This is where the teacher's skills come into play: a good teacher is able to keep both strong and less strong students on the edge of their seat. We have this front of mind whenever we’re bringing a new teacher on board.
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