Not so long ago parents were generally considered an authority on almost everything. “They are adults, so they must know,” was how children used to see their parents. Well, most of the time, at least. In recent times, with technology evolving so rapidly, parents sometimes struggle to keep up with a myriad of new developments, so occasionally they must admit to their child that they simply “don’t know”. Children, however, resourceful as they are, are quick to find a replacement, so today they Google all their problems.
Once upon a time, the teacher was also viewed as an authority figure. When it comes to language teachers, perhaps it’s thanks to the complexity of the language structure that teachers have still not been replaced by Google. On the contrary, at times it seems that students have too high expectations, which can be seen particularly when it comes to teaching English for special purposes.
Teachers are not omniscient, and although you might find teachers who have specialized in a specific field, such as medicine, law, IT, architecture, etc., they very rarely have a degree in these fields, so if you have already gained a fairly good command of the technical vocabulary in a certain field, but still have difficulties expressing your thoughts, don’t expect your language course to resemble a university lecture! Although at some point you might discover that your teacher is not familiar with a technical word or expression or doesn’t know how to say it in the language he/she teaches, cut him/her some slack! You can rest assured that teachers sometimes stay up late reading and learning mind-boggling definitions of technical terms.
How does the learning and teaching process work then? On one side, there’s a student who has built a vocabulary bank, and on the other, there’s a teacher who knows how to connect words in phrases and phrases in sentences using that vocabulary bank. While the student may know that dugotrajna imovina is fixed assets in English, the teacher’s task will be to teach the student how to use the words in a larger context, e.g. the company revalued its fixed assets; an annual incremental growth in fixed assets; record fixed assets on the balance sheet as property, plant and equipment, etc. The teacher, in that particular context, might also explain to the student when to use a growth, the growth or just growth or what the difference is between the company revalued and the company has revalued, and why in English we cannot say equipments.
Therefore, when it comes to language used in a particular field, there are situations when the student and the teacher will need to swap knowledge because, as J. K. Rowling said, we are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.