In my paper I have studied the criteria which determine an LSP teacher – primarily,
the relation of the LSP teacher and the profession or field of activity, in which
he/she is teaching a foreign language and the teacher’s own understanding of his/her
role, as well as the relation between the LSP teacher and a student.
The first relation is based on the presumption that the teacher is a specialist in
linguistics and properly trained for teaching. His/her deficiency is shown in the
knowledge of a profession or field of activity in which he/she is teaching the language.
There are several opinions mentioned in the literature regarding the teacher’s knowledge
and understanding of profession or field of activity, extending from those who believe
that knowledge in a specific profession or field of activity is unnecessary, to those
who are convinced that the LSP teacher should have an adequate formal knowledge of
profession or field of activity. Leaving aside the two extreme opinions, it proves
essential that the LSP teacher should be familiar with the fundamental terminology
of profession, that he/she should be generally familiar with the profession or the
field of activity, meaning that he/she should follow the development, fields of interests
and methods of profession. It is of utmost importance to acknowledge the way of thinking
specific in a definite profession as well as, and last but not least, to have the
ability of interdisciplinary thinking. All the above qualities require from the LSP
teacher additional efforts in which he/she is mainly left to his/her own initiatives.
As a consequence, the (non-)understanding of profession influences the teacher’s
understanding of his/her own role, which in many ways differs from the LSP teaching
of a general foreign language. Direct consequences of non-understanding the teacher’s
own role are shown during the lectures mostly as the teacher’s insecure conduct,
in the teacher’s selection of study material, as the teacher becomes too strongly
attached to certain study books and shows inability of judgment of professional adequacy.
Another issue arises from setting of teaching priorities, correcting mistakes and
preparing evaluations, if the language comes first and before the profession.
The basic findings in the second relation, i.e. the LSP teacher – student relation,
prove that both subjects show certain deficiencies (the teacher shows deficiencies
in the professional knowledge and the student shows deficiencies in the knowledge
of language), therefore they appear as equal partners in the LSP teaching process.
Upon presumption that both of them understand their own roles and positions, it may
prove positive in the teaching/study process: the student takes an active role because
of his/her knowledge of profession and the teacher, acting in the capacity of a mediator
of the knowledge, may redefine the student’s knowledge and thus takes the part of
a moderator. But very often the practice proves different: the teacher rarely accepts
the student as an equal partner, and on the other hand the students are not prepared
to take an active part and thus refuse to take responsibility for a successful study
In order that the LSP teacher successfully make progress from a general foreign language
teacher to a teacher of a foreign language of profession or field of activity, he/she
should consider his/her own role in the profession and his/her relation towards the
students. Only after a thorough consideration and redefinition of his/her own role
the LSP teacher can act successfully in both professional environments.
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