The new era of education has arrived, and it is here to stay. With the arrival of the new generations, the ways of relating to each other and the expectations towards learning and teaching have changed drastically, if we look some decades back.
Nowadays, when everyone is learning new languages and in a world where languages are an asset extremely valued everywhere, the standards of the learning process have gone way higher.
People born in the XXth century may be used to how languages lessons used to be: a teacher-centered approach where classes used to be a monologue. Classes where the attention revolved around the teacher and students had to adapt to the plans and rhythm of the teacher.
Things are changing now. And not only cause the new generations are demanding new things, but because this old teaching method has proven to be everything but effective. Demotivated students, dissatisfaction when the learning objectives were not reached…but that more and more belongs to the past. No matter if you’re a teacher of French or a student who wants to take a French course in Paris, this subject probably concerns you, so new learning methods may be of interest to you.
What it does have proven to be effective is the student-centered learning (or learner-centered education), that shift the focus of instruction from the teacher to the student, and the teacher becomes a facilitator of the learning process so students have nothing to worry about besides their learning and motivation. Each student has a different learning pace, different concerns, backgrounds, and goals. As the popular saying states: “everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid”.
We all are good at something, even though we may not be good at the same things than our classmates. Therefore we need a teacher who can bring the best of our potential, strengthen our weak points and encourage us to keep improving our strong ones. That is the only way for our learning process to be a continuum and for us not to feel stuck in the middle of the learning process.
Not to mention that while in class, if we receive a tailor-made education and feel that our needs and emotions are being taken into account, our desire to learn and attitude towards the target language will be much more positive, which has also proven to be a booster in second languages learning.
Along with the emergence of the new student-oriented approach methodologies, student-oriented classes usually also take into account other important aspects such as the number of students and communicative competence.
Number of students and communicative competence
It has been proven that classes with a high number of students devote less time to the needs of every student, shy students tend to speak less in crowded environments and they dedicate less time to conversation and building confidence with each other. Conversation and building confidence is also a fundamental point when learning a foreign language: to be able to properly communicate, we need enough room to speak and learn from our mistakes.
Classes, where the focus is on real communication rather than solely on grammar and structure, will make us learn much better and faster. Grammatical mistakes may make us feel frustrated if we stop to think about them longer than needed.
Thinking about learning French? Note these key points down: student-oriented classes, communicative competence and enough room for conversation.