To believe what teachers say is difficult

Hallo at all,

There is a point that I want to talk about.

Sometimes we have questions because our feeling is another than that what the teachers say. We are not able to believe all what our teachers say. They also can make mistakes. That is human.

I think the difficult we students have is that not all our English teachers are native speakers. Most of my own English teacher are Germans and their English is a foreign language.

The last three month I also noticed that it is better to distrust what the teacher says. I think we students need some other locations, eg internet, other teachers, other students, native speakers what ever to ask our questions to get a better understanding.

I think we students do not want to quarrel with our teachers but we are thinking persons and we want to learn and so let us ask and argue with everyone we can. That is the only way to get as much information as we need to get our own opinions. That is the only way to become a thinking person with its own opinion.

I know that it is very difficult when we say here that our teacher said something and we do not agree with it. It is not easy for Alan (the only native speaker I can ask at the moment) to answer such questions, because he do not like to be an arbritator. I understand that. But please have a little bit understanding that we ask you when we are irritated or confused in what our teachers tell us (sometimes). We do not ask to say our teacher is wrong. I think we ask to make it the better way. I think we students only want to learn and we only can learn if we ask as many questions we have.

It might be easier to ask our questions without saying that we do not agree with that what our teacher said. If we ask it this way it might be easier to answer our questions without feeling like an arbritator. That is a little suggestion to make it easier for (or to?) the people who make this site to answer our questions.

Thank you for your understanding in our problem (I do not think it is a problem).

Best Regards
:twisted: teufelchen53
a very sceptical and curious person :wink:

Hi Teufelchen,

As usual you raise very interesting and pertinent points and I would like to add my views on this topic, if I may. What you describe is a situation that I have been in myself. I remember in particular a few years back I took a couple of groups two years running at a summer school based at the University of Exeter. Apart from teaching English I also took a translation group for German university students - a very perceptive and intelligent group of young students (one of whom 6 years later I’m still in touch with who is now a successful English teacher). Many times one of them would say when we had reached a successful completion of a translation from German into English: My teacher says … This was usually when I appeared to say/write something that was in conflict with what they had been told by their teacher. My first reaction was always to look carefully at the ‘objection’ and then if I was really convinced that what I had said/written was acceptable I would simply say: That is how I would say/write that. NEVER would I hint or suggest that the other teacher was wrong. I think that one has to accept that there are many different styles/ways of expressing yourself.

I hope this adds something to the discussion

Best wishes


Dear teufelchen!

I’d just like to say that I fully agree with you!!

Actually, It’s a particular problem in the Czech educational system - Czech students gain excellent knowledge in history, georgraphy, etc. (if they study at least a bit), but they aren’t able to work on their own, to study themselves. And what’s worse, we’re not supposed to ask questions if we’re interested in something or if we think there’s something wrong. What we have to do, is to blindly follow our teachers’ instructions no matter we think them silly or just incorrect. At least this is my experience. You know, it’s difficult to express your opinion when you’re only 19 and your teacher is 50 or so.

Please, don’t think I consider rude or impolite behaviour to my teachers appropriate or normal! No, I really admire my teachers, but what I want to imply is that I’d love to be free to ask what I want!

And finally, I also admire Alan for his approach to this problem (as teufelchen pointed out, it’s actually no problem)


Well, aren’t we all part of a system with institutions such as schools where we are told and ‘taught’ what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ but then again we experience various situations and we find out that there is no ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ but lots of in-betweeens. As Billy Joel puts it in one of his songs ‘Shades of Grey’:
‘… some things were perfectly clear, seen with the vision of youth -
no doubts and nothing to fear, I claimed the corner of truth.
These days it’s harder to say I know what I’m faithing for.
My faith is falling away - I’m not that sure anymore.’

So, I guess the best teacher is a person who gives you guidance and shares his experience with you admitting that he too is still a student and can’t know everything. I once had a very good teacher who said that his aim is not to teach us but to show us how we can learn…