Lesson 1: Joining the Profession

What You Need to Know

Becoming a foreign language teacher means becoming a member of a professional community. In turn, becoming a member of a community means acquiring the common knowledge and shared values of that community. According to Dr. Garza, beginning teachers should aim to acquire the following:

  1. A knowledge of the spoken and written language.
  2. A knowledge of how language in general is put together.
  3. A knowledge of pedagogy.

These three types of knowledge translate into different professional abilities. For example, the first knowledge area means that the teacher can speak and write the foreign language with a high level of proficiency. The second knowledge area implies that the teacher can explain the workings of grammar and vocabulary to naive learners in a way that is both logical and informative. The third knowledge area—pedagogy—is crucial for putting things into practice. In other words, applying this knowledge to your own classroom means knowing how to create an environment conducive to learning.


Dr. Tom Garza answers the question: What knowledge do language teachers need to have?

Duration: 03:28

Take a few minutes to conduct a self-assessment. How would you rate your knowledge of these three areas? What are your strengths and weaknesses as a teacher?