Teaching Techniques and Roles of a Teacher in an ESL Setting
In the language classroom, there are many roles that a teacher should be able to play to be well-rounded. In different situations and problems, a teacher will need to change his/her roles to complement the matter or to solve the conflicts. I would like to discuss a few roles that a teacher would need to play in a classroom: Entertainer, motivator, and leader/manager.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Po W. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Holding a student’s attention could be the most important element to have an effective lesson. One way to capture the attention of the students is to act as an entertainer. In my personal experience while learning Spanish, one teacher stood out to me because he was an amazing entertainer. He has a second job as an actor, so he was able to act the subject or the meaning of the vocabulary without speaking any words. With his acting skills, he was able to make the learning environment relaxed and capture the students’ attention at the same time. This experience made a very profound impact on my learning process. I could memorize many vocabularies vividly by the way he portraited them in the classroom even after I did not attend class in a while. As a good entertainer, it immediately builds a good relationship with students and allows them to feel comfortable during the lesson. He also uses friendly body language and smiles throughout the whole class.
Confidence is the key element of learning anything in life. To have effective lessons, the student must feel confident during his or her journey of learning the process. A teacher must identify the student’s strengths and weakness then plan methods to build their confidence carefully. Regarding student’s backgrounds, the confidence could vary tremendously. To generate more confidence, the teacher will need to take on the role of a motivator. In my personal teaching experience, compliment and encouragement should be offered often to students while they perform well or answer correctly. Motivation speech should be used at the proper time. As I came from an Asian background, many students have low confidence in speaking and are afraid of making mistakes. One reason is that some education systems in Asian countries still use negative reinforcement such as punishment to “teach” children. It does not just negatively affect student’s confidence, but it also brings a poor relationship between teachers and the students. As my personal experience teaching in Asia, it is important to have high approachability and a low authoritative position as a teacher because it encourages the student to ask and rebuild trust.
A teacher needs to manage the classroom well to create an effective learning environment. In this context, a teacher becomes the manager or the leader of the classroom. To be a good leader, the teacher needs to be proactive, empathic, and goal-oriented. The teacher needs to think ahead to satisfy the students’ need, therefore it is very important to recognize student’s reasons for learning. Building a good relationship with students but not losing the total position of the leader is a skill to master. Teachers should set short- and long-term goals and targets to evaluate the students and themselves. Teachers need to delegate at the right time and observe as a third person. This would allow the students to speak more and connect.
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There are many other roles a teacher would need to be an unpredictable event that occurs during lessons. Hence, being versatile and adaptable would be crucial in becoming an effective teacher. I do believe that with experience and thoughtful goal planning, I could learn to take on those roles effectively on my journey of being a teacher.
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