Some “Spicy” Principles for Language Teachers
Layers of the Onion

DougBrown_2013H. Douglas Brown

How is an onion like a language learner? Think about the makeup of onions, used globally in almost every cuisine. On the outside, an onion looks like a single entity. Its skin comes in attractive colors—red, brown, yellow, white, and even purple! On the inside, it can be everything from zesty to spicy to mild. And on all those insides is an intricate, finely woven, tightly meshed set of layered compartments. Get the picture?

Good, so perhaps you can see a vivid metaphor here. Learners have skins of many colors, and they have thick skins and thin skins, so to speak. They also have layers of personality and learning styles that are not always easy to discern from the outside. They have varieties of “smartness” that might not be immediately perceived. Continue reading