“To be aware of a single shortcoming in oneself is more useful than to be aware of a thousand in someone else.” ― The 14th Dalai Lama
With that kind of thinking, the Dalai Lama could grow a great language school. Strong awareness of traditional, current and future practices that affect language schools is incredibly valuable to growth, providing the school is concerned with its own goals and beliefs.
(What does the Dalai Lama have to do with language schools? Since coming to exile in 1959, he has helped build and promote more schools than monasteries and has passionately kept the Tibetan culture and language alive with a trust that helps fund schools and gives underprivileged students access to education. He knows a thing or two.)
Traditional Ways to Grow Language Schools
In the last five years, Turkey has grown its English-language international schools by 40%. The boom has, of course, been celebrated by school leaders. Starting last year, directors of the English language schools and vendors decided to promote further growth by coming together for three days at a Global Educational Supplies and Solutions exhibition to inspire educators through conferences and workshops. The concept of exhibitions is far from innovative, but the tried and tested method works. Far from resting on their laurels, the leaders of these schools are using a time-honored initiative to create a platform together, drawing in the best educators and the keenest students to one place.
Future Impact on Language School Growth
According to The Pie News, a recent study by the British Council predicts that, in 2025, English language learners in Europe will have dropped by 10%, though 3.2% of that drop is credited to falling birth rates. Reasons for the plunge aren’t attributed to online, non-human resources, however. The report encourages awareness of technology’s impact on the future of English language learning. It predicts that “personalized, purpose-specific and time-efficient learning” online will be important to students who will value tailored education. Outside of classrooms, English isn’t predicted to decline as rapidly. It will remain the strong international lingua franca it is today. Essentially, in-classroom numbers will decline, but learners will still have their demands. Innovative, forward-thinking and well-prepared schools will profit from this.
What Schools Can Do Right Now
It’s no secret that the core principles of business are taking a 180-degree turn across industries worldwide. Simon Sinek, an internationally renowned and trained ethnographer whose avid audience has included huge companies, the US Air Force and educators, understands that most companies define themselves by what they do, rather than why they do. He has compared Microsoft’s inability to match Apple’s levels of growth as a consequence of this difference in their self-definitions.
Empathy and clarity of purpose attract customers and quality employees. Schools should no longer define themselves as a place students and teachers access to get what they want, but as a place whose values they can identify with.
Passionate about education, in 2015 Sinek did an intensive Q and A session with educators and was asked, “What would be the ‘why’ of your school?” He answered, “My school would be founded on the principle that I want to inspire people to do the things that inspire them.” In other words, it wouldn’t be founded on the principle of what he does (educate), it would be founded on why the school educates.
The intricate details and unexpected pitfalls of growing a language school are potentially infinite. Awareness of these three factors—traditional, future and current growth practices—creates a solid foundation on which to build remarkable language schools.