The Language Teacher as Coach
From the perspective of the language teacher, coaching is facilitating people in their commitment and enthusiasm to accomplish their objectives. From the learner’s perspective, coaching provides support and a roadmap for getting to the next level of their ability.
To be an effective coach, the language teacher must move from managing the daily activities of language learning to facilitating the goals of the learner. This means going beyond the “learner-centered” classroom. It requires a shift from focusing on teaching techniques and classroom activities to a focus on the discovery of the learner’s needs and ambitions regarding the target language, and then providing a portfolio of motivational, learning, and self-study activities designed to enable the learner to achieve their specific language ambitions.
The learner is a client with a dream that they desire to convert into a project. The language coach is the project director, helping the learner to identify and clarify appropriate objectives, providing resources, and assisting the learner in designing a plan of action that will reduce the distance between the learner’s present level of performance and their desired results.
Barbara D. Ito trained as an anthropologist and carried out research in Japan with a focus on entrepreneurship. Before moving permanently to Japan in 1991, she taught at the Ohio State University and at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana. In 1994, she established Boston English Company in Niihama, Ehime, which provides ESL classes for adults and coaching in ESL both face-to-face and at a distance.