Is the Language Teacher Becoming Moldy?

La evolución de la educación de idiomas
La evolución de la educación de idiomas

Is perhaps language teaching going out of style? The conception that acquiring a foreign language can be a 100% self-taught process by means of making use of a technological resource suddenly seems to be gaining momentum.

Consequently, this perception prompts many people to wonder whether it is really worth investing resources in a formal course of studies. Even in many private institutions, self-study programs are being implemented, assigning the students a username and password to develop the course in an entirely virtual fashion.

On the other hand, it is worth to reflect on what the new role of the educator is going to be, what new competencies a teacher has to develop and delve into the effectiveness of the contents of virtual courses that, by their nature, cannot be personalized.


  1. Most of us have heard at least once in our lifetime a proud parent say that their kid can speak a language, when the child can barely identify words, such as colors, animals, or jobs. However, to begin with, speaking a language involves a lot more than that; in a nutshell, it has to do with expressing your thoughts and feelings orally in the foreign language, which sometimes is not fully attained by students due to their lack of vocabulary and grammar knowledge, the fear of making mistakes or being judged by others.

    In this sense, getting exposure to the language may be of great help to speak condidently; hence, online instructors or rather “facilitators” would need to wisely adopt the tools and technologies out there to empower ther teaching and, in turn, maximize their students’ learning, but I believe such tools should be shared with students in and outside class, i.e. asynchronously. We normally take part in conversation when we know something about the topic; otherwise we will remain silent and won’t speak at all; that is exactly what happens in an online environment when students haven’t built a connection with the topic or worse, when the task hasn’t been scaffolded properly. As I see it, students clearly engage in discussions when they are motivated to talk about it.

    In that regard, doing some flipped learning is beneficial for students, as they have previously explored, perhaps practiced, and now interacting with their peers in a digital environment. It seems to me that flipping the classroom can help online instructors maximize students’ oral outcome. If students only see a video or have something to read, without having a proper task to do, this material tends to be forgotten and learning is not achieved, but incorporating our creativity by elaborating questionnaires, creating discussion threads, and using educational apps, other than making us “tecky” teachers, will bring a lot of good effects to our digital lessons.


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