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VI. Make acquaintance of Mr. Caldwell and ask him questions about his life and work, using the essential vocabulary list.

V. Imagine that you are faced with some difficulties when conducting your lesson. Change these situations into short plays with a teacher and her (his) class and colleagues.

1. You meet your pupils for the first time and you want to arouse their interest in the subject they will study.

2. You excel in smth but you find no understanding of your class.

3. The quality of your teaching is not satisfactory and you ask your colleagues' advice how to overcome your drawbacks.

4. Your lesson was a failure and you analyse it with your colleagues and you want some tips how to improve it.

5. You've lost control of the situation in the classroom and you want to put everything right.

VI. Make acquaintance of Mr. Caldwell and ask him questions about his life and work, using the essential vocabulary list.

VII. Describe the most appealing qualities of your favourite teacher and say how they helped develop pupils' interest in the subject and their thirst for knowledge.

VIII. a) Write down the characteristics of a model teacher,using the following word-combinations: a thorough mastery of one's subject; sympathy for pupils; connections between one's subject and life; an effortless humour; gift for dramatization; a restless temperament; self-improvement in the pedagogic craft; selflessness; a concern for the world at large; aspiration; involvement with one's class, b)Use the following outline and make up a story:

1) teacher's performances in the classroom;

2) efficiency and proficiency;

3) desire to improve one's craft;

4) devotion to one's work.



By Paul Bress

In recent times, the focus in the ELT classroom has moved more and more towards learner autonomy, and consequently away from the teacher. The teacher is no longer the fount of all wisdom. Teachers' job is to create the conditions for learning. This, com­bined with the increasing momentum of CALL (Computer Assisted Language Learning), could mean that teachers are in danger of becoming increasingly re­dundant.

As with all trends, however, there also seems to be an opposite view.

While the role of the teacher is be­ing discussed, though, surprisingly little has been written on what actually constitutes a good teacher. More has been written on what a good teacher isn't. 'Really rotten teachers' are defined as people who:


■ insult and patronise students over a long period of time

■ are extremely critical of students

■ are always in 'lecture mode'

■ never consider changing teaching style

■ don't realise they're bad teachers.


Against this background, I was cu­rious to find out what students and teachers considered to be the qualities of a good or, indeed, a special teacher. I distributed the simplest of question­naires:

Write down the five things which, in your opinion, make a teacher special.

The questionnaire was completed by 40 adult students of many different na­tionalities, and 20 experienced teachers. Students tended to stress the caring na­ture of the special teacher, while teachers focused on the ability to give individual attention. Both affirmed the importance of the teacher's role in enthusing a class, and of turning the classroom into a rich learning environment; both referred to the importance of being flexible and of adapting the lesson when necessary. Fi­nally, both considered humour to be im­portant — but not as important as the previous points.

To add some weight to my research I observed four highly experienced teacher trainers (while they taught gen­eral English) for 90-minutes each, and noted down all the aspects of their les­sons which I would describe not asmerely good but as special.

Now clearly this kind of observation is qualitative and subjective rather than quantitative and objective. Moreover, it involved just one person (me!) observ­ing and evaluating.

My conclusion was that the lesson demonstrated an ability on the part of the teachers to exemplify not only all the criteria mentioned in the results of the survey, but other qualities too. In my opinion, the key additional qualities were:


■ an extraordinary clarity of communication

■ an ability to make the most of every learning opportunity

■ a finely-tuned sense of how teach vocabulary

■ an awareness of what is going to be difficult for students to under­stand or do, and the ability to pre­empt problems to add that special quality to the teach­ing:

■ flexibility of voice, profile, and

■ the empowerment of students through praise, elicitation, and re­linquishing control

■ an ability to link lessons, or parts of lessons

■ an ability to teach more than just language.


Finally, there were cer­tain qualities and practices which struck me particularly in some of the lessons I saw, eg leaving on the board a written record of the language covered in the lesson. Clearly, different tea­chers bring different qualities into the classroom, and one of the elements of being 'spe­cial' is that each one of us is unique, and displays certain unique individual characteristics.

Certainly, one clear conclusion I reached was that teachers do indeed still play an important role in student learn­ing, and that there are teachers who are 'special'.



Luke Prodromou


Why I became a teacher

I became a teacher because I failed to be an actor. I had no zeal about teach­ing whatsoever, and did not particularly enjoy my first year of teaching in Greece. In fact, I didn't go to Greece because I wanted to teach at all; I went to discover my roots. I'm still digging.

Something, not many people know about me

Perhaps many people don't know I used to be bow-legged till the age of six; perhaps they don't want to know, either. However, if anyone is interested in the traumas of my childhood and how they have shaped my thinking as a teacher, trainer and writer, then this early physi­cal deformity may help to explain why I have such a twisted view of fundamental issues in ELT. I used to love playing cowboys and Indians and my favourite TV cowboy was, of course, Hop-a-long Cassidy. Eventually my legs straightened out and I transferred my allegiance to the native Americans.

My best teaching moment

When a student, at the end of a lesson, said she had come to class with a headache but left the lesson without one.

My worst teaching moment

When a student came to class feel­ing on top of the world and left with a headache.

The book I have found most useful

‘Lessons from the Learner’ by Shelagh Deller. This book has been a goldmine of ideas for using the learners' own words as a starting point for enriching their knowledge of English. It has inspired some of the most memorable lessons for me, and I hope for the learners, too.

My most tricky teaching point

The difference between the simple past and the present perfect is a mine­field, especially when the students' own LI has one form for both. No sooner have I explained the difference succinctly and in a fool-proof manner, than we turn to the textbook and find the first example it gives contradicts what I had said with such confidence only seconds before.

How I'd like to be remembered as a teacher

Standing up and scattering success and joy in the classroom.

My biggest mistake

I'm spoilt for choice here. Let me give the reader a multiple-choice. Luke's biggest mistake was: (a) failing his driv­ing test three times (b) not trying one more time to be an actor (c) not doing a PhD in Shakespeare studies when he was young and had boundless energy (d) not becoming an ELT textbook writer ten years earlier.

My greatest success

My three children, Rosa, Michael and Antony. If there's one thing even more difficult than teaching well% it's bringing up children well. To nurture a child into a happy, intelligent and demo­cratic human being is the kind of success I'm still hoping to achieve.

My favourite class

The class I call the United Nations (2000-2001) in Thessalonica, adult beginners of six different nationalities: Turks, Greeks, an Albanian, a Bulgarian, a Brazilian and a French student. For a year, English was a true lingua franca in this mixed-level Macedonian salad of a class. It was great watching them building bridges through the use of English and listening to each others voices through a language that belonged to no one but was being appropriated by all.

My message to new teachers

Teaching English is not a soft option. It's hard work and the more you put in, the more you get out. Never forget that ELT is a branch of education - and you won't go far wrong.

My favourite language teaching anec­dote

A teacher came out of the class depressed because some of the students had been looking at their watches during her lesson. Another teacher heard this and chipped in. 'That's nothing - in my class they were looking at their watches, listening to them and shaking them vig­orously!'

If you met me at a conference, you'd recognise me because...

I look like a mixture of Groucho Marx and Jimi Hendrix. (If only I could teach like Groucho told jokes and like Jimi played the guitar!)

From "English Teaching professional"

Date: 2015-12-18; view: 1891

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