Before working with Veritas, I was an English and Italian teacher in Italy. In university, I studied about didactics and how to teach a language, and I was applying in my job what I had studied on books. I have never questioned what is the difference between being a teacher and a coach, and for me, the two things were very similar. In the traditional academic world, you don’t know about this word because the teacher or professor is the center of education, with their great knowledge about the subject, standing above the students, sometimes with arrogance in a university environment, more friendly in school, but always a person untouchable and far away from the learners. Then I started to work at Veritas and my vision of education has started to expand when I became a coach.
So, what’s the difference between a coach and a teacher?
When you are a coach, the focus is on the student.
This is the most important difference and the thing that hit me the most when I started to be a coach. Usually, with a traditional teacher, the attention is on finishing the programme, completing the syllabus, even though the student doesn’t understand everything. When the situation is better and the teacher is more considerate to this, for instance in a one-to-one lesson, the star of the class is always the teacher, who talks talks talks, all the time, and the student is there nodding and listening in a very passive way. When you learn from a coach, the student is a very active person in the dynamic of the lesson. If the student is struggling, we adjust the syllabus and the same happens when there are significant improvements, we add new materials to challenge them and help them improve.
Another big difference is that the student has the ownership of the change.
A teacher presents the new information in a very one-way communication and all the control is in his hands. A coach helps the student refine and develop their skills, support them along the way, to become their best self. We challenge our students with questions each time more stimulating and deeper, class after class, giving them the opportunity to bloom like flowers, and we are present there like the bamboo stake that gives the plant support while growing.
The relationship between coach and students is also more familiar and closer. We bond with our students, we want to know more about them and their ideas, in order to offer a personalized experience, according to their personal strengths and characteristics. This is why we as coaches personalize always our coaching method based on the student’s personality and level.
Motivation is also fundamental for the student. Hence a coach motivates the students and encourages them to enjoy the activities that they are doing. It’s scientific: if you are motivated and interested in what you do, your brain will learn better and faster.
I am not saying that a teacher doesn’t motivate the student: I was always trying to stimulate my students when I was a teacher. What changes are the relationship and the attention given to the student. A teacher can teach 100 students in a class, but a coach can’t coach the same amount of learners, because the latter will observe carefully the student and adjust his style and feedback on the basis of the learner’s progress.
Coaching and teaching are two different methods of giving knowledge to others. No one is better than the other, but keep in mind this: a good teacher should also be a great coach, to forge an incredible bond with his students. I would have really loved to have a personal coach when I was studying English.
Sometimes, when you learn a language and you have to boost your motivation, having a coach there for you can be very helpful!
Cristina was born in the hot and sunny Sicily, an island in the South of Italy. She graduated in Foreign languages and literature and her interest is currently focused on Japanese language and culture. After many study trips to the UK, she decided to move there for a period of time and improve her English. When she came back to Italy, she started to teach English and Italian to students from children to adults, wanting to put in practice what she had learned in university. Focusing on her Japanese, she did an exchange study programme at Meiji University in Japan, where she discovered Veritas and its unique programme.
Here she can follow her passion and love for teaching and grow as a person thanks to her experience as a coach, improving her skills by focusing on the students and their progress.
With the help of a strong and united team, at Veritas she has the opportunity to inspire people and guide them to become global leaders of tomorrow.