Your First Day as a GLT Language Student

What to expect your first day as a Global LT language student

Starting a class with a new teacher is exciting even if you are also nervous about learning a new language. Don’t panic! Your Global LT (GLT) teacher will take time to understand you and set you up for a meaningful and successful language program that addresses your needs.

When you meet, your teacher will chat with you.  They are professionals with experience teaching the target language but are also friendly and approachable. Be at ease.  They won’t insist on doing things their way.  They will ask questions about your life and interests so they not only understand where you want to go in the target language but also know what will be the best context, approach, and resources to help you achieve your goals with GLT.

Practicalities: Review of Policies

During the first lesson, there will be some things to take care of. Your GLT teacher will explain how sign-in sheets and cancellation work. They will confirm the schedule and how to communicate changes. They may ask you follow-up questions and ask you to share back what you heard.  Don’t worry! This isn’t a test.  They just want to ensure mutual understanding so that you can get the most out of your approved language training hours.

Feel free to ask questions and to ask your teacher to repeat and write down information.  This is also an important learning time; you will need to repeat this type of conversation many times in the target language as you carry out your assignment in your new location.  Take advantage of every moment and pull out of your teacher what you need to be successful with GLT.

How will you use the target language?

Next, your GLT teacher will ask specific questions in order to understand your needs. Answer in as much detail as you can.  This will give your teacher useful information that will lead to clear language goals for you and the information your teacher needs to design a syllabus and curriculum especially for you. Here are some questions you might hear:

  • Where do you or where will use the target language?
  • Who do you or will you speak the language with?
  • What do you want to do in the language?
    • Make presentations at work?
    • Lead conference calls?
    • Talk with your child’s teacher at school?
    • Understand your doctor?
    • Join a gym?

What kinds of materials and activities can I expect my teacher to use?

Your GLT teacher will ask questions to determine what learning resources and lesson content will help you meet your goals. For instance, if you don’t like reading or don’t have time to read, your teacher won’t want to give you a book of short stories.  If you need help understanding business presentations at work or at industry events, it would not make sense for your teacher to give you a grammar textbook and assign grammar exercises as homework. Your teacher might ask:

  • Are you open to using lots of different resources that use language from your job?
  • Do you enjoy learning by role-playing?
  • Do you learn best by doing? By going to different places and practicing?
  • Do you want ideas for how to practice on your own and how to use what you learned in class?

Will I have a proficiency test?

As your teacher listens to your needs, he/she will already be getting an idea about your language proficiency level. Based on your responses, she will decide which skills she might still want to assess in detail.  This will help him/her in planning to incorporate practice into your program.  This might mean a focus on all of the skills – speaking, listening, writing and reading – or only 2 or 3.

For example, there’s not much point in assessing your reading skills if your primary goal is verbal-language for connecting with people at networking events.  On the other hand, if you plan on taking the TOEFL exam, an in-depth assessment of your starting reading level would be important.

Since you have already been speaking and listening the whole time you have been in the lesson, your teacher probably has a fairly good idea of what to assess and where to start. Your teacher will most likely at this point focus on questions or activities aimed at pushing you to the “ceiling” of your current performance with GLT.

What’s next?

If your GLT teacher has obtained all the necessary information in the first meeting, then based on your needs and assessed proficiency level, your teacher may share a preliminary plan before ending the lesson.

A second meeting or part of the second meeting may be required to complete the needs analysis.  Once your teacher has a clear picture, your teacher will refine the plan. The aim will be to create realistic objectives tailored to your real-life needs and goals.

At the beginning of the second or third lesson, your GLT teacher will share the plan as well as a list of supporting resources he/she intends to purchase for you.  He or she may propose some language goals you had not mentioned in order to ensure you have a program that will meet their needs.  If you don’t understand the plan, feel it does not account for all of your needs or that it includes something you don’t want to spend time doing, give your feedback.  Ask questions.  We encourage all our learners to trust their teacher’s experience as a language teaching professional and to be open to trying new ways of learning.  Things you haven’t tried before may be just the thing you need in your current situation. But at the end of the day, your language program is about you.  If something isn’t working, tell your teacher. Ask questions, make suggestions and pull out of your teacher what you need for your own unique style and goals.

Moving forward

Remember, you can always refine anything as you move forward.  Global LT’s programs are not like a first-year college course where the learners have little say in what happens in the class.  As new needs arise based on changes or unforeseen needs at work or in your daily life with your family, your program can be adjusted and changed. Objectives and goals can be added or deleted, creating an organic, personalized plan for you that changes with your needs over the course of your assignment or approved hours. Your teacher’s goal is to provide the environment and resources to set you up for a successful collaboration that brings you to your goals.

 

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