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Anyone who speaks the language can teach the language

‘Anyone who speaks the language can teach the language.’
To speak a language can be defined as being able to converse in said language, however, to teach
a language requires you to impart what you know in a way that is easily understood and can be
utilized by the learner. In order to effectively teach a language, the instructor should be able to
balance content and technique, foster intrinsic motivation in learners and utilize a variety of
techniques to ensure clarity when teaching. These are skills acquired during formal training.
Without formal training language speakers lack the proper technique necessary to maximize
In Module 1 we were introduced to the metaphor ‘Language is cake’ where cake is likened to the
content and the presentation is the technique. The presentation of the language, the style as well
as how the teacher presents himself/herself is an important factor in the successful outcomes for
students. Someone who speaks the language may be well versed in the content but lack
techniques to effectively convey information in a short time. One technique used by formally
trained teachers is ‘teacher talk’. Teacher talk is an essential technique in language learning. It
includes repetition, signpost expressions, elaboration and clarification questions. These
techniques help clarify concepts, illustrate ideas and examine what learners have understood.
Teacher talk is, therefore, vastly different from typical language speaking.
Language speakers may not have the skill to identify the zone of proximal development when
instructing learners; thus, language speakers may convey knowledge that is too boring or too
overwhelming and impede language learning. The zone of proximal development can be defined
as material which the learner can do with guidance from the teacher.
Essentially in order to teach a language you require formal training to support the learning
process. This training should inform various teaching techniques to ensure that learners’
acquisition of knowledge is maximized. One who speaks the language and has formal training
can teach the language.