12 jan 2014 Are teachers born ready?
I was very happy to have been asked to write for the RichmondShare space and thought about getting started by discussing a statement some people make regarding our profession.
Are teachers born ready or made?
Some people claim that teachers are born ready, that this profession is guided solely by passion which I tend to agree just up to a point.
Scrivener (2005:15) states that being it conscious or not, most of our attitude as teachers relies on the experience we had as students seeing our teachers back then, but choosing a teacher’s career should imply more than replicating former teacher’s performance, it should include focus and study.
Pettis (2002:394), states that principles, knowledge, and skills are fundamentally integrated in the professionally competent teacher, each item without the other is limiting regarding the delivery of a lesson. My belief is that a professional needs to develop all of those areas in parallel and development entails growth, not ready made structure or competence.
In order to have effective classroom practice, pedagogy must be fostered, Cameron(2001:243). The teacher must understand the aims and ways of teaching foreign languages, methodology must be studied and tried out to produce the best results.
An education professional improves and becomes a good teacher when s/he knows more about learning styles, methodological approaches and so on. Brewster, Ellis and Girard (2002:39) point out that the factors that influence classroom methodology include several issues such as learning context, its role in the community, goals and syllabus, beliefs about teaching and learning both in general and specifically regarding English. I wonder how this would be all possible to know without proper study and preparation. Even with aptitude to teach young learners, for example, there is the need of the above mentioned information which is available through investigation and research.
I believe that a person may be inclined to perform given activities or might be gifted in certain areas of learning. Teachers may have a hunch on how to approach a specific age group, but learning teaching is what differs the good from the not so good teacher.
Each and every lesson provides input and insights for the next one in terms of improvement. The analysis, even if informal, of what was effective and what was not, works as steps on a ladder to achieve a higher level of success.
I really trust that although aptitude may play a huge part, an excellent teacher is not born ready. Indeed a great deal of constant work is necessary to be kept abreast of the changes in learners’ needs and wants through the years so you can seed joy for learning and keep them motivated.
“Becoming an English language teacher means becoming part of a worldwide community of professionals with shared goals, values, discourse, and practices but one with a self-critical view of its own practices and a commitment to a transformative approach to its own role.” (Richards, 2008)
Brewster, Ellis & Girard (2002) The Primary English Teacher’s Guide, New ed., Harlow, Penguin English/Pearson Education.
Cameron, L. (2001) Teaching Languages to Young Learners, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
Pettis,J. (2002) Developing Our Professional Competence: Some Reflection. In Richards, J & Renandya, W., Methodology in Language Teaching – An Anthology of Current Practice, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
Richards, J & Renandya, W. (2002), Methodology in Language Teaching – An Anthology of Current Practice, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
Scrivener, J. (2005) Learning Teaching, Macmillan Books for Teachers, Oxford, Macmillan.