Part of LCP’s strategy for supporting language learners is to have language learning coaches. At the moment I am the only coach, but within the next year we expect that two more people will be trained. A language coach is someone who comes alongside of you to help you develop, implement, and evaluate your plans for language learning. LCP is trying to do a better job of tailoring our language instruction to the individual, and language coaches are a big part of that.
What do you think of when you think of a coach? I think of this:
As a non-athletic person, a coach is for me someone who:
- Cares way more about sports than I ever will.
- Has an innate talent for sports that I simply don’t have.
- Enjoyed sports in school to the point of developing it into a profession, instead of—as I chose to do—leaving sports behind as soon as it was possible.
I can only assume that “coaching” had more positive associations for the people who recently began applying it to other fields!
So I want to acknowledge that, in many ways, it feels odd for a linguist to be the coach. Still, we need to keep in mind that a coach is not a model to be imitated. My goal is not to turn you into a linguist. The goal is simply to help you put together a customized learning plan. Your plan will be different from mine, because we all have different needs, strengths, and weaknesses.
For instance, my being an introvert is a clear disadvantage in language learning, since I don’t get a lot of social input. But it also offers a certain advantage: sitting down with a cup of tea and Dari book is a pretty attractive way to spend an hour. So rather than trying to force myself to be a person I’m not, I can get good language input by playing to my strengths. Those are the kinds of trade-offs that you can figure out with the help of a coach.
We can all improve as learners, and learn to make better use of our language learning time. If you’re feeling stuck, or feeling that you could be doing better, please drop me a line.