Why do schools and universities place so much importance on language assistants? Watch

Joe2001
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Genuine question. If you've studied a modern language at school and/or university, you've probably worked with a language assistant from abroad before.

My question is - why do the schools see them as so important? Yes, they are native speakers and know their language inside out, but few of them actually have any teaching skills. They don't know how to engage people and their sessions are as interesting as watching paint dry. They also sometimes seem to be a tad uncomfortable in front of a class full of people and thus are ineffective.

Maybe it's just me that feels as if their sessions are a total waste of time, but there is nothing that I hate more than my time being wasted and being forced to go to these sessions this year at uni (and in previous years at high school) gets on my nerve when I frankly get nothing out of them. Just last week, the lesson totally crumbled when the assistant couldn't play the video that she had planned to show.

What are your thoughts?
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notapieceoffruit
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Honestly I think language assistants can be super helpful - but it seems to be different in my school than your uni. Here we have a fairly small cohort of French students so we all get 1:1 sessions (sometimes 2:1). Often it's nice to have someone to practice with without the pressure of the whole class listening to you butcher a pronunciation. Learning more colloquial/actual useable language also makes practicing a little more fun, and it feels more worthwhile.
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Emma:-)
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Am i the only one who never had those at my school?
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notapieceoffruit
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(Original post by Emma:-))
Am i the only one who never had those at my school?
Not at all! Not one of my previous schools had one. We're quite lucky to have them to be honest, but I guess they're more common in uni?
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by Joe2001)
Genuine question. If you've studied a modern language at school and/or university, you've probably worked with a language assistant from abroad before.

My question is - why do the schools see them as so important? Yes, they are native speakers and know their language inside out, but few of them actually have any teaching skills. They don't know how to engage people and their sessions are as interesting as watching paint dry. They also sometimes seem to be a tad uncomfortable in front of a class full of people and thus are ineffective.

Maybe it's just me that feels as if their sessions are a total waste of time, but there is nothing that I hate more than my time being wasted and being forced to go to these sessions this year at uni (and in previous years at high school) gets on my nerve when I frankly get nothing out of them. Just last week, the lesson totally crumbled when the assistant couldn't play the video that she had planned to show.

What are your thoughts?
Your school is misusing them as cheap additional teachers.

The purpose of language assistants is to provide conversational support. If you have only one competent French speaker in a class, ie the teacher, he or she can engage in conversation with at the most one student at a time.

If you add a language assistant, that doubles the ability to engage in one to one conversation.
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Joe2001
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(Original post by nulli tertius)
Your school is misusing them as cheap additional teachers.

The purpose of language assistants is to provide conversational support. If you have only one competent French speaker in a class, ie the teacher, he or she can engage in conversation with at the most one student at a time.

If you add a language assistant, that doubles the ability to engage in one to one conversation.
This makes a lot of sense - thanks.
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