Saturday, August 4, 2018

Exams...not again!

Not so long ago, I had prepared a presentation about alternative ways to teach exam classes.
This was also published in the HLT Magazine last February.
The thing is, why should we take exams and acquire language certificates in the first place?
In my country, Greece, when you learn a foreign language, the goal is to get the certificate. That's when you have "finished"with the language, you "know" everything. So parents "encourage" their children to get the "valuable certificate" from a very young age.
Imagine that in Greece, children as young as 13-14 sit C2 level exams. Why? Because  the sooner they "finish" with the foreign language, the better.
So there has been a whole industry involved with that. Publishers, exam institutions and of course, we, teachers.
I am not saying that certificates and exams are useless. Of course you have to have something to prove that you have reached a certain level of a language. Because you are going to USE this language in order to get a job (and actually USE it to speak or have correspondence with clients), to study (to read and study foreign bibliography and do research in that language), to travel (and USE the language to shop and ask for directions), to communicate...
Unfortunately people / parents in Greece do not UNDERSTAND that. Our main goal is to GET the CERTIFICATE.
When clients come to us teachers, they don't actually say "I want to learn English", they say, "I want to pass the certificate exam".
But this is not possible if you don't actually LEARN to USE the language.
A lot of parents nowadays interfere with our work, as if they know what method , book or projects is good for their kids. Because the certificate is our goal.
So the question for me as a teacher but also as an entrepreneur is...
Do I do what the clients want in order to actually have clients or do I teach THE LANGUAGE they way I believe it should be?

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