teaching professional people english
The control/vulnerability thing might seem like an odd subject for me to bring up to non-teaching folk. Those of us who work in front of a room of strangers, however, especially when they’re trying to learn to express themselves in a language not their own, know the problems of vulnerability and fear of ridicule intimately, in at least a non-verbalised way. To speak is to be vulnerable, or to exercise self-defence by erecting a ‘front’ behind which we can hide, or by attacking first. To speak in an unfamiliar tongue is to make oneself ridiculous. Not even potentially. Certainly. Hopefully that aspect of it will be temporary, but it is certainly unavoidable. Learning a foreign language is really, truly, real life dialled up to the top of the scale in that sense. So, we know about vulnerability – or we guess and fumble around it feeling our way in the dark, so to speak.
Imagine my amazement to discover that there is some serious academic research into the subject. If you have any time to do so, please check out this talk. I promise, it is most enlightening.
You may have seen that before – it ‘went viral’. If you’d like another, click here.