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The role of consultation and negotiation in adult ESL programs is of utmost importance. Consultation is the one-on-one communication between the ESL teacher and the student, where the teacher explains what are the goals to be accomplished and the expectations that he has for the student. Is an interactive exchange of plans, and goals as well as the explanation of available resources. This is the time when the teacher tells the student what is out there and how it can get accomplished.
The negotiation is the contractual-style agreement between the teacher and the student, where the student will also be able to open up and tell the instructor what is wished to be learned, what are the student's preferred learning styles, and what are the students strengths and weaknesses.
Consultation and Negotiation often take place after the teacher has placed a student at a specific learning level. This is done after a pre-assessment that shows what skills the student already maneuvers in the L2.
The importance of Consultation and Negotiation is that it moves away from the Stevick (1976) model where the teacher is the "transmitter of knowledge" while the student is the "acquirer of knowledge". The fact is that learning is an ongoing and interactive process that must follow a structure, but such structure should keep in mind the unique learning styles and abilities of each individual student. This way, both the teacher and the learner work together and are on the same page. Moreover, as the intervention is implemented, both student and teacher will notice whether their plan is working or not. This way, the negotiation can be tweaked and new alternatives can be considered. It is definitely one of the best services that can be given a customer in a language program: the proof that the teacher is willing to work with you and use your strengths to help you succeed.
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