We remember once teaching a beginning level class at a Toronto college. At the end of the course, the students startled us with a $200 gift certificate and a lovely card signed by everone. We were amazed at this and didn’t feel truly deserving; the students had made a lot of progress, but seeing as they had almost no English, it would have been difficult for them not to.
The following month, we taught an advanced level class. There was no gift certificate that time; rather there were some complaints that we hadn’t done a good enough job. We were annoyed. Certainly, advanced students did not make as quick progress as beginners. Furthermore, advanced students have such wildly different individual needs that it is difficult to address them while still following a curriculum.
And so we read with great interest an article in the EL Gazette that summarizes recent research that shows that, indeed, as students become more proficient, they tend to blame their teacher for their slow progress (beginners tend more to blame themselves when they do not make sufficient progress).
Read the article here.