Most prospective students inquire about class content and methodology, and while I understand their concerns, I’m not always keen to reveal this. The reason is not selfishness nor cockiness, quite the opposite. It’s basically because I believe each and every student has a personal understanding of language and it takes a while to discover it.
This is true.
In general I have no idea what will happen with the student during the classes. The way I understand language-learning processes is that we must create, with the student, a safe space to let the language emerge. There is a co-responsibility and teachers should be constantly reacting and responding to the challenges given by students in every class.
The thing is, a lot of students (and some teachers) feel naked when there’s no book involved in the class. They feel the class lacks structure. So I guess it’s safer to have a book and follow someone else’s syllabus; and please don’t get me wrong, there are heaps of useful language learning books out there (mine included!). For the record, books and other people’s material are constantly used in my classes. It is inevitable. Today there are so many resources; it’s almost overwhelming.
However, the class should be seen as a sacred space where we become better teachers and better people and where we should inspire and try to help our students take their language to the next level. It should not be a place just to fill some publisher’s quota.