Control freak or autonomous learner?


April 12, 2015 by gemmalunn

Since January I’ve been having weekly one-to-one German lessons. As previously mentioned I decided to go for one-to-one classes as the curricula for local group classes didn’t inspire me much. My teacher is German but she’s not a qualified teacher. I’m fine with this as she, like most Germans tend to, has a good knowledge of grammar rules etc. Also, more importantly, I like her and we get along well which makes the classes enjoyable. Another reason why I don’t feel I need a qualified teacher might be because I feel I have a good knowledge of language learning strategies, class activities and specifically how I learn a language best and I quite want to be in control of these aspects! Basically, I know (or at least think I know!) what I want to learn and I how I would like to learn it!

Good old grammar and text books

Good old grammar and text books

In our first class I stated my goals, preferred types of activities and ideas for the format of lessons. Generally, each class follows the same format: we start with a review and as I progress a general chat; we then work through some pages (ones I like the look of and find relevant!) from the text book and deal with grammar and vocab points as they arise; at the end of each class we agree on my homework and discuss what I’d like to cover in the next lesson so I can do some pre-lesson prep. This was especially important in the first month when my knowledge was very limited and I needed to learn something at home so we had something to practice and build on in class. So, as you can see, nothing ground breaking or even exciting but I’ve realised I am very happy with this basic yet effective style of a class/learning. I don’t feel that I need someone to create intricate puzzles or amazing games, just explain grammar points and vocabulary! Hence, I think what I need, for now anyway, is more of a language coach and trainer rather than a teacher or, in other words, a teacher who is happy for the student to lead the class!

So at the end of this little ramble I’m still not sure whether I’m a control freak or just a very autonomous learner….!? I’m taking an intensive course in Berlin in June so it’ll be interesting to see how it feels to be back in a more teacher led environment and let someone else take control…..

There are some other recent posts reflecting on language classes both one-to-one and in groups by Sandy Millin, Alex Grevatt and Laura Phelps (this post shows control to the extreme!!)


One thought on “Control freak or autonomous learner?

  1. Sandy Millin says:

    Thanks for the mention Gemma. I think what this post shows is that you know how you like to learn, and it’s great that the teacher is willing to let you do this. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it 🙂

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