The trainee and the trainer are inherently engaged in a relationship of inequality: the former wants to assimilate the knowledge that the latter controls, as subject matter expert. Although probably perceived as suitable, this hierarchy is most of the times a learning hindrance. Why? Because the person who studies a foreign language encounters numerous difficulties: a lot of information to assimilate, the need to immediately apply new notions, the specificity of the conversational situations and so forth. Hence uncertainty, learner’s anxiety, sometimes resistance to learning.
The trainer must create a learning environment that focuses on the trainee, on his/her needs and objectives.
This way the trainer can use teaching methods customized to the industry and department the trainee works in, and the latter creates his/her own learning style. Both the trainer and the trainee become partners, working along in a professional relationship to improve efficiency and success rate. All those involved are part of a positive experience.
Of course, there are some strategies to build a pleasant environment for learning a foreign language:
• A cooperation-based partnership between trainer – trainees is established;
• The course meets the immediate and long term needs of the students and their learning style;
• All participants’ preferences concerning the study material and method of implementation of new concepts are taken into account;
• All participants are encouraged to become independent in using the foreign language;
• The trainer reinforces course participants’ confidence;
• The atmosphere during sessions must be relaxed and all disturbing factors eliminated.
Of course, in the usual structure of a language course, the icebreaker is essential for overcoming barriers in communication; the continuous feedback allows us to accommodate new learning needs and objectives, while the relevant discussion topics facilitate the discovery of all language elements. The learning experience will thus be positive and requested by the learner.