How do you find a teacher who is using a particular technique that is suitable for you?

Hi italki citizens. I'm just curious, how do you filter ESL teachers here by the teaching methods they are using? For example, I'm interested in TPRS teaching method through stories, but it seems that all teachers here are focused on good old practices: conversation, grammar, vocabulary. Is there only one way of clicking on each teacher's profile and reading about them to find what I really want?


Feb 7, 2016 9:05 PM
Comments · 16

The best thing to do is message an individual teacher, present your idea and see what response you get. There could not be a search function for method because that is not how professional learning is organized. Can't imagine hiring a public school teacher not because of their degree, or their work experience, or their references from past students but because they specialize in using flashcards well, for example. Knowledge of HUGE VARIETY of techniques are such a small part of what a trained teacher brings to the table.


TPR is just one relatively simple method / technique that any professionally trained teacher knows of / can use.

February 8, 2016

IMHO, a trained professional teacher will do an informal assessment (ongoing assessment, actually) and then devise a path that suits the level, goals, needs and preferences of the learner.  Ideally...


Do you go to a restaurant and tell the chef how to make the salad?  :) 

You tell the chef what you want but you leave the method up to her, yes?

I'm curious what it is about Total Physical Response with stories that interests you?  Are you looking for lessons for a Young Learner?  That would be my first question -- what is the AIM / GOAL for which you've settled on TPR as your method? 


Some considerations:

How should the teacher CONVEY the meaning of the story (first), since comprehension usually precedes any kind of response from a learner?  How long is the story?  Sometimes student choose materials that aren't amenable to a single lesson.  Will it presented as a text (and what percentage of the words are at each level -- will any (what precentage) need to be pre-taught?  How much tolerance does the individual learner have for presentation activities that generally teacher-centred, learner-passive?


OR Will it be presented as an audio?  Does the student want to focus on listening (gist listening for the idea or to hear specific words / answer a list of progressively more difficult questions) OR Is it about vocabulary (Do you want to hear explanations / meanings?  What persentage of the vocabulary is known to the learner and what percentage would be new?  Do you want to make example sentences?  Is the point for the learner to practice hearing and responding to known vocabulary (consolidation) or is about speaking and using the vocabulary?


etc etc










February 8, 2016


I think italki lacks a search interface that goes beyond the basic. Nevertheless, I don't think it would be easy - if possible - to let us filter a search based upon methodology choices. I believe that it's something difficult to find out even by just reading their profile.

What I've done so far is reading lots of profiles, checking their education and work experience, something you've probably been doing.

February 7, 2016

I do believe each teacher has his/her advantages that students have to discover if he/she is a noteworthy teacher. Whoever he/she is, as a student, you had better notice what you are lacking and what you are holding in hands. After that, you may be able to communicate with the teacher what you want and want you notion is. At times, you are obsessed with something you care very much while that is not important at all for mastering a new language. A relevant advice would be put forward by a good teacher then.  I do not think there is a regular, universal rule that fits all students, so students have to uncover a feasible and efficient method to make better progress anyway.  

Happy to learn a language.  

February 9, 2016
From your writing, "Ambiguous," I see that you’ve managed to achieve a fairly good level of English, so clearly, you’ve been doing something right. If what you have in mind is self-directed lessons, you might as well search for informal tutors on the lower end of the price scale, and take responsibility yourself for implementing whatever methods you choose -- like Monday says, it's not brain surgery. The true skill of a teacher is knowing exactly what to do with each student, at each moment in time, whereas following a specific method is easy. Just remember, if it doesn't work, don't be surprised. Additionally, there is something else I’d suggest you keep in mind — many of the most popular “methods” are designed for mass-market language schools with a large class size and relatively inexperienced teachers. The result is that such methods often focus on dealing with classroom management issues, availability of didactic materials, or the idea of making the job easier for the teacher, rather than on achieving the best results in a one on one setting. Anyhow, I’m happy that you’ve brought up such an interesting topic.

February 9, 2016
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