quinta-feira, 21 de julho de 2011

Am I an English Teacher?

by Craig

When I think of what a teacher does, especially a teacher in Taiwan, I imagine a person standing in front of a large group of students lecturing about a topic and writing things on a board. The students listen, take notes and do homework, hopefully learning something in the process. Maybe this is overgeneralizing, because every teacher and every class is different, but at least in Taiwan, I believe this describes the typical classroom and the role of a typical teacher.

That is not me at all, and I don't believe this arrangement works very well for language learning. I don't stand in front of a class, lecturing grammar rules, vocabulary words or idiom lists while students fall asleep... I mean listen carefully and presumably absorb English. This is not how to learn language and just not my style.

So what does that make me? Am I still an English teacher if I don't stand in front of a class and "teach"? If not "English teacher", then, what word best describes my job and what I do?

Language learning is an active process. You have to really want it and do something about it. A person can't learn a language just by passively listening to a teacher lecture grammar rules and word lists. Learning a language requires action: input (listening & reading), processing the input (figure out what it means) and then output (speaking & writing).

The most helpful role I can play in this process, therefore, is to guide and assist the learner in their efforts. I direct learners to material at a level they can mostly understand, or figure out with a little effort, help them to understand and process it, and then provide opportunities to use it, correcting errors when appropriate.

The best word I can think of that describes this role is "facilitator". From Dictionary.com:



1. to make easier or less difficult; help forward (an action, a process, etc.)

2. to assist the progress of (a person)

This is exactly my role; helping people to make progress.

I am a facilitator! If you are trying to learn English, understand that it takes some effort and need someone to guide you along the way, then I can help.

Please share your feedback on this or any other post and visit my main web site at: CraigsEnglish.com

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