Teaching is a struggle between the ideal and the real, what we have and what we want to have, ie the vision we have for the students.

The ideal student is intrinsically motivated and comes to us already with a basic knowledge of the language. He or she is outgoing and happy, interested in linguistics and the learning process.

But the students I have are not motivated, and have little knowledge of the language. Often they are withdrawn and shy, with family problems, or other causes of unhappiness. They are often not interested in language or in learning. They are not good at learning languages.

How does the teacher transform these students into the ideal student?

With the ideal student, you can use the ideal teaching method, which is communicative and task-based, uses pairwork and groupwork, and emphasizes autonomous learning.

This is how I used to teach English at universities in Korea.

But now I'm teaching in an institute of technology in Taiwan and I have students who are not ideal. This has been a challenge. I have developed a style which is distinctive, I think.

It emphasizes dictation, whole-class work, and incentive systems. I use cards a lot.