Teaching English or any other subject requires that the teacher be able to walk into the classroom and find ways to have an immediate impact. This is much easier said than done. In this post we look at several ways to increase the likelihood of being able to help students.
People’s reasons for learning a language such as English can vary tremendously. Knowing this, it is critical that you as a teacher know what the need in their learning. This allows you to adjust the methods and techniques that you used to help them learn.
For example, some students may study English for academic purposes while others are just looking to develop communications skills. Some students maybe trying to pass a proficiency examine in order to study at university or in graduate school.
How you teach these different groups will be different. The academic students want academic English and language skills. Therefore, if you plan to play games in the classroom and other fun activities there may be some frustration because the students will not see how this helps them.
On the other hand, for students who just want to learn to converse in English, if you smother them with heavy readings and academic like work they will also become frustrated from how “rigorous” the course is. This is why you must know what the goals of the students are and make the needed changes as possible
When dealing with students, it is tempting to answer and following ever question that they have. However, this can quickly lead to a lost of directions as the class goes here there and everywhere to answer every nuance question.
Even though the teacher needs to know what the students want help with the teacher is also the expert and needs to place limits over how far they will go in terms of addressing questions and needs. Everything cannot be accommodated no matter how hard one tries.
As the teacher, things that limit your ability to explore questions and concerns of students includes time, resources, your own expertise, and the importance of the question/concern. Of course, we help students, but not to the detriment of the larger group.
Providing a sense of direction is critical as a teacher. The students have their needs but it is your goal to lead them to the answers. This requires a sense of knowing what you want and being able to get there. There re a lot of experts out there who cannot lead a group of students to the knowledge they need as this requires communication skills and an ability to see the forest from the trees.
Teaching is a mysterious profession as so many things happen that cannot be seen or measured but clearly have an effect on the classroom. Despite the confusion it never hurts to determine where the students want to go and to find a way to get them there academically.