14 May 2017 by Rachel Paling
Yesterday morning I took the 0700am flight to Warsaw and shared two days with fellow language specialists, mostly from Poland at Kongres PASE 2017. It was fascinating to share some time with peers and to really witness how hundreds of language teachers are really interested in self-development, self-awareness and how to improve the learning process even more. What was even more remarkable to witness was how many of them are fascinated by the new trend of “NEURO” in our lives and many wanted to learn more about this and to really understand how to apply it in practice.
Over the past four years I have been in touch with hundreds of language teachers worldwide and I have been honoured to train over 200 of them in my new approach for language learning called Neurolanguage Coaching, which offers practical steps relating to the application of the “neuro” insights we are now gaining. The majority of those who have connected with me, and certainly I would say all of those who have done my course, have all shared how they are “intuitively” doing it differently and how they are somehow really understanding that we ARE changing how we think languages should be learnt, taught, delivered and communicated. And yes, I can really sense that thousands of language teachers out there are changing their approach and many are hungry to understand more and more about the “neuro” phenomena that is currently omnipresent in our lives.
So what are the factors driving this “heartfelt intuitive change” in approach? In my humble opinion, I feel there are three driving factors, but would love to hear from you, the reader, about any other factors that you are also noticing.
Maybe one factor that most language educators can identify with and empathise greatly with, is the social pain and embarrassment that learning a language can provoke in each and every one of us at some point during the language learning process. I certainly remember my six months of telephone terror when I moved to Spain in the 80s and even though I was fluent, I refused to answer the phone. Or my absolute terror and panic to speak German in business meetings when I moved to Germany and developed my business there. From the neuroscience, we know how much social pain affects us all and how potentially a “fight or flight” status can impede us speaking in the newly acquired language and potentially even block us completely reducing us to stutters and mutterings that cause embarrassment and emotional pain. So, perhaps we as language educators are naturally coming into more profound empathy with the great desire to ensure our learners do not “suffer” in any way.
Maybe a second factor is that we are more sensitive to this globalisation phenomena and the need for all of us to be more connected and communicate more than ever before in multilingual situations and as educators we empathise greatly with all those people who are forced to learn a foreign language due to work circumstances and pressures and wish to assist people to learn faster and more efficiently as we know that so many people are overworked, battling high workloads and often are not in the right frame of mind to be “learning a language”.
Another factor driving this change is the fascination and curiosity that we all start to have regarding our own amazing “brain”. I can only speak for myself, but since I started my “own brain journey” ten years ago, I have come to understand that, in the end, we are all fighting the same battle – the battle with “our – own – self” and our own brain. The more I have been able to really comprehend my own brain – how it functions, reacts, panics, learns, and even malfunctions (at times 🙂 , the more I have been able to fully understand other people: leading me to change my communication; adjust my own judgements and habits; as well as be much more enabled to be a “facilitator”, “sound-board” and “insight provoker” throughout the delivery of any learning process, whether with adults, teenagers or even children.
This thirst to understand ourselves, I believe is the “X” factor that is intuitively driving teachers worldwide more and more into a new practical “period” of education and neuroeducation, transitioning education into how it should be in the 21st century.
And all I can say is “hats off to the teachers worldwide who are intuitively connecting with this phenonema and “yes, let´s bring it on more and more………”.