How a Teacher’s Performance Influences Students’ Learning Process
I cannot recall, at any time in my primary school years in Tunisia (1986-1993), a student is allowed to speak in class. It may be an exaggeration that students were not even allowed to ask permission to leave the classroom to follow the call of nature.
In this narrative, It seems that these educational representations refer instead to a traditional image of child education—the child should submit to the authority of the adult and must comply with his or her standards and dictates.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Bassem F. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
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Around the globe, the role of a teacher is consistent in its general objective: to improve society. From one country to another, this role may differ somewhat being depending on traditions and working conditions in each place. Analyzing the role of a teacher yields an understanding of fruitful practices from a global perspective. This also provides insight into ways to improve student skills and abilities resulting in a more productive rather than consumptive society.
As a teacher, one always has to look after a student's individual needs, regarding private, family-oriented relationships, as well as social, economic and cultural conditions. These are things that may affect the life situation of children and adolescents, which a teacher must always keep in mind when performing his work. It is the individual's needs that the teacher must ensure. Something that the curricula emphasize is the cooperation between school, home, and other social partners. The responsibility for the child is no longer a task that only home should care about, the school is, as well, responsible not only for educating children but also for their well-being. Teachers must be more emotionally involved with the students and have specialized knowledge about every single student.
As has been said, the role of a teacher has an extensive list of duties and is vital to tackle. One primary task of an educator is to adjust himself/herself not only to the needs and interests of every individual but also to every class taught, including specific situational characteristics and requirements.
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Furthermore, one task that may be considered of utmost importance is the fact that educators should establish "good" relations with children. Hence to guarantee a better teaching-learning environment that is supposed to be characterized by discipline (it might be wise to comment on ”discipline” as many teachers in Tunisia would interpret their ”beating” behavior as a discipline), interaction, communication and thus success. One may ask the question of what constitutes ‟good relations”? Additionally, how would one go about achieving good relations?
No one can deny the fact that any teacher should be able to exercise a certain amount of authority to ensure that all elements of success are achieved. The challenge is to determine what kind of authority is required to best meet up with the envisaged goal.
There is no doubt that educators may have experienced being put in each of the previously mentioned situations for one reason or another. Secondary school teachers require psychological flexibility as disruptive behavior is not uncommon within the classroom environment. Young people may respond to power-infused relationships with resistance, in various shapes and forms. This is not something new, but perhaps is becoming even more common within Western cultures.
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When it comes to tackling the role of the teacher concerning the student learning process and results, Hattie (2009) and Lundahl (2014) has much to say about the matter. According to Lundahl (2014), the teacher’s role is to organize and plan to teach so that the students will be given all opportunities to be responsible for their learning. To be able to develop a responsibility for learning, the teacher may find himself in a stage where students should be provided with what to learn and how they can achieve and improve their learning. Over time, this will happen as teachers are involved in walking around the classroom, taking part in activities, observing and recording, assisting and explaining, providing feedback and assessing. These steps are based on Lundahl's five strategies to strengthen the role of assessment in learning (Clarify the goals and get the students to share the school's intentions and school criteria for success. Enable active classroom discussions, questions, activities, and tasks that create visible signs of student learning. Provide feedback that develops learning. Activate students as resources for each other. Let the students take the learning into their own hands. In these two last stages, the teacher takes the role of a supervisor who may need to find ways with which students can work together, discuss issues and solve problems according to their perspective, which reinforces the idea of self-constructed learning, self-assessment, and companion-assessment.
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Effects on Students
Aiming not too far from the above-mentioned, Hattie’s (2009) ‟Visible Learning” goes hand in hand with what Lundahl advocates. He notes that a teacher’s role should not be making decisions but instead to start discussions about the effect teachers can have on students.
According to Hattie (2009), it is self-evident and clear that the teacher may have a direct relationship to student achievement, goals and results. The latter is to be attained through teacher contributions to student learning. In other words, Hattie (2009) argues, as Lundahl (2014) does, that effective teachers change what is happening when learning is not occurring. He adds that the greatest source of variance in our system relates to teachers who should be passionate, caring and loving what they do. Thus, when teaching and learning are visible, there is a greater likelihood of students achieving higher.
The skills, characteristics, and roles of the teacher may all carry some ambiguity. However, these are also based on live performance, involving interaction with other human beings. As such, they require the teacher to discern, within the moment sometimes, the best way to respond to an individual’s needs, implement ethical values and provide positive relational interaction.
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Last but not least, modern times have modern demands. Teachers now should not only be real knowledge brokers, as it has always been, but they also have total responsibility for their personal development as well as that of their students.
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