“Your best teacher is your last mistake”

Mohamed Bay with Kengo Suzuki
Mohamed Bay with Kengo Suzuki


by Sheetal Makhan (AYC)

With the nature of my job, I have the opportunity of seeing dozens of students on a weekly basis. I observe how people study, interact and progress – sometimes at a rapid rate. Those who know me will know how I feel about the importance of mingling with others and practicing speaking on a regular basis. Many students are afraid of making mistakes and therefore hesitate to converse in a group.

If you don’t make mistakes, then I have no job!” I have said this repeatedly. In fact, I encourage my students to make mistakes as much as possible.

Having lived in South Korea for three years, I’m often reminded of how I picked up the language. I did this by asking questions. Lots of questions! If I heard a new phrase or word that caught my ear, I would ask my colleagues and friends what it meant and I would make a mental note of saving it and would try to use it often. Hangul (the language used in Korea) is a complex language where different characters are used. I am, by no means, fluent, but I was able to learn the basics…simply by being curious.

I met Mohamed Bay (“Bay”) through his cousin, who studied at EC Cape Town last year. Bay joined the Beginner class in August. Since then, I have observed him with other students. I was pleasantly surprised to know that Bay (from Saudi Arabia) and Kengo (from Japan) meet regularly after class to enjoy free conversation. What I also commended Bay on was that he frequently asked questions to those around him. I strongly believe that it is because of this that his confidence has grown and is now able to hold a decent conversation.

I would like to encourage all students to follow Bay and Kengo’s way of mixing with others and becoming global citizens in its true sense.

Please remember that you are welcome to visit me in 4.10 for advice and assistance with your English studies!


Mohamed is a General English 20 (GE20) student and
Kengo is part of the Academic Year 20 (AY20) program