(Photo credit: http://bit.ly/2DBGD91)
One thing I have noticed in my teaching life is that when people get into Elementary level, they usually feel very confident, but when they hit Pre Intermediate and more there is a definite shift in their learning – basically because it gets harder. The people who do well in the later levels are the ones who realise that to move forward you need to work through your road blocks in learning. Those people who do well in Elementary and fail in the latter months, do so because they cannot handle the pressure to have to change or alter or add to what they already know.
This is the same with anything. However, in learning English, if you want to move forward you do have to confront those pain points that force them to take on new information.
A typical example starts early on. So often I have taught Elementary students present simple grammar and they pass the test, they feel confident, they feel they have what they need, then I introduce them to past simple and they suddenly think that the entire world has changed and that everything they learned about present simple now seems meaningless. This is the first pain point.
Later of course it moves onto far more complex grammar like present perfect, then past perfect then passives, and so on. Finally you get to the intermediate level and you it’s like everything you learned before is now thrown out the window and all we are learning are exceptions to the rules.
A great teacher will nurture their students through each of these pain points and guide them to understand how important it is to know the next level. The student at the same time has to allow themselves to realise that there is always more to learn – not memorise – but learn. Then once you have that key element in their mind they will realise that they are not alone, this is a normal feeling and eventually everyone will rise above it in the end if the will is there.
Simply put, a great teacher is like the captain of a ship – carefully navigating the rough waters so that all will arrive safely at the other side of the storm and at the same time everyone will have come through and gained something as a result.
So just as in life, though we would love the waters to be calm all the time – storms are there for a reason. Storms or pain points in the process are signals to let us know that something new and exciting is coming and though it may feel difficult now – the results of the hard work will come if you put in the work and make it through the process.