<-- BACK

The danger of amateur teachers in language exchange sites



Again, I mainly refer to Livemocha, since this is the site I know better, but I think the problem is also topical in other sites of the same kind.
Let’s start from the point that, in such sites, a student of a language is not expecting to find professional teachers to revise their works. Nevertheless, when the editor makes changes, above all when those enclose comments and explanation, the students, let’s imagine students moving their first steps, are likely to believe what they are told.

Unfortunately, many people enjoy sitting on a desk and lecturing or rebuking people, and don’t even bother to wonder if they know what they are talking about, which can bring about serious troubles. Often students see their essay corrected in a completely different way according to the different reviser, and end up being even more confused than they were before submitting their job.

I saved a few pages from Livemocha which will help us understand better how a poor student can be sidetracked by extemporary teachers.

I think we can draw up a few categories of comical teachers.

1) Ignorant - by far the most common
2) Wannabe ☺ - they feel extremely pleased when they can pretend to sit on a desk and harshly rebuke pupils who didn’t attend their task in the proper way
3) Poet - they don’t like a simple revision, that would be too easy: they rewrite the essay giving evidence of their language skills – maybe forgetting that they are “helping” a beginner with a restricted lexicon
4) Cunning - they arrive late, when a text has been revised and corrected any possible way, don’t have anything to say, but they leave their useless revision for the sake of getting a few point (we have to say that there is a point system in Livemocha, and revisions are among the sources of points)

I gathered an impressive correction of blunders, but I think it would be pointless to display them all, so I selected just a few specimens

if, checking my own reviews, you should find out that I belong to the crowded group of comical teachers too, don't hesitate to give me notice.