Teachers’ Misunderstandings with English Language Learners
Teaching is the art of imparting knowledge to the learner. Learning, on the other hand, is the acceptance of knowledge by the mind of the learner. No student is particularly similar to the other, especially in terms of the ability to understand things. Some students understand quickly, while others are relatively slower. It is a teacher’s duty to ensure that all students are able to understand what is being taught and no group of students should be granted more attention by the teacher than others. This discourages other groups and leaves them out in an undervalued form. A feeling of supposed ‘discrimination’ will disrupt the learning pattern of the students and cause poor performance.
A vacuum will be created thus rendering the classroom environment not conducive to learning. The teacher should be able to create a good learning environment for all concerned students. This can be achieved by creating a middle ground that does not discriminate among the students, and no student should feel deserted for one reason or another. This middle ground will act as a place where those who are relatively slow in understanding can be motivated and tutored to catch up with the rest of the class. My two favorite strategies adopted from ‘High Impact Instructions by Jim Knight’ include ‘the power with, not power over strategy’ and ‘learner-friendly culture strategy.
Power involves authentic authority we develop with the students by empathizing with, connecting with, and respecting students. Under this strategy, the teacher should consider viewing the class from the students’ perspective and should customize this to every student’s perspective. This will help the teacher understand the individual student at a higher level. The needs of each student can then be identified through this personalized relationship. In addition to this, the teacher should find out the interests of each student as well as their personal performance.
A teacher who is equipped with this information will be able to develop a proper teaching schedule and more student-friendly means of teaching. The teacher can use personal information to customize the lessons offered. In the process of teaching, the teacher can use examples that each student can relate to. These examples are tailored to suit each student by linking them to the student’s individual interests. For example, the teacher can use cars to help a student who is interested in cars to work out a mathematical problem or to enable them to remember an important point. In turn, this will help each student to create interest in the lesson thus enhancing the understanding.
By knowing the individual performance of each student, the teacher can know the weaknesses and put considerable time on each student to better their performance. The teacher should not expect all students to perform the same. This approach can be implemented if the teacher shows effort to know each student on a personal yet professional level. Knowing the students’ names is the first step. The teachers can then have sessions in which they ask the students about their hobbies, interests, strengths, and weaknesses. There can be interactive activities in which the teachers get to interact with each student leading to the development of a relationship and a sense of trust between the two.