Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Becoming a better teacher?

The Korean recently linked this website to his blog. I found the article intriguing and I suggest that any teacher, who actually cares about teaching, to read it. They talk about what makes an effective teacher. I agree with a lot of the things that this article says and I would like to think that I am using at least some of the techniques that are mentioned in the article.

ESL teachers are faced with an additional burden in the classroom, though. And that is being understood. Even for the best students, it's easy to tune out English when you would rather be doing something else, and quite often we think they should understand when they don't understand at all. Sometimes I feel that I am so clear on my instructions when a student asks a question, clearly mistaking one word I've said, for some completely unrelated, but similar sounding word. No wonder they don't do what I say half the time. I wonder how often it just slips under the radar and the students don't ask for clarification...

A lot of these techniques mentioned in the article, I've figured out on my own. For example, pointing out the good students who are doing what they should be doing rather than yelling at the badly behaving students and giving precise directions (not "Don't talk to your friend" but "Take out your book and read page__ silently").

There's still I have a lot to improve on, but I'd like to think I'm a fairly good teacher... for only teaching for 1.5 years and having no formal training as a teacher. But, obviously, I still have a long way to go. I still consider a class of 10 students too difficult to manage on an average day. I have no idea how teachers with 30 or 40 students handle the class without having an momentous, uncontrollable cacophony of small children all talking at once. I can barely be heard over 10 students, never mind 30. Anyway, I'll try some of the things mentioned in this article and see if they give me any better classroom results.

I did get a compliment from the academic director today about my teaching, so I hope my evaluations come out well. I was never formally evaluated at my old school, so I have no idea how I was doing.

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