Humanising Language Teaching
I have had the following in my head for ages…
Over the last decade or two I have become guilt ridden about being a natural explainer and giver of ideas in the form of activities to do on Monday. My lower middle-class, middle England, Methodist background saw the rightness in contemporary views of self effacement and working for others to grow rather than be given to.
I am still guilt ridden but that is largely the permanent lot of people with my background! However, I am increasingly of the view that there is a huge difference between 1 to 6 hours of in-service development and longer periods, some- times up to one year. All my work has been as short term teacher trainer.
As a short-term teacher trainer, I now feel that the best way I can work with teachers is to offer my ideas with passion, to live some of them out with the teachers and to give them lots more. I hope that this living in the ideas will enable the teachers to feel with their whole selves whether it is right for them. That experience would come under the heading of awareness and appreciation. I do my utmost to offer ideas which are practical to do. As a result I hope that the teachers will develop a positive attitude of, 'I am determined to try these ideas out with my students'. By giving lots of activities the teachers also leave with knowledge ie knowing lots more things they can do.
If you decide to publish this letter then it would be disastrous if you were to leave out the next bit!
The session with me is only the tip of the iceberg.
Imagine the horror of attending an inspiring teacher development course without things to do on Monday and getting home on Saturday to your family. You spend the weekend with the family, of course. On Sunday evening, having finally put them all to bed, you face preparing your lessons for the next day. You sit by your desk, remember the wonderful days that you had on the inspiring course, gulp, and say to yourself, 'Tomorrow night! I'll prepare properly tomorrow night! But tonight, I am too tired to try to work out what I can do which will reflect and manifest the inspiring things I did last week during the course!'
And then, as the weeks go by, the teacher has the wretched experience of knowing that she was totally privileged to have been on the course but unable to put her new awareness into significant practice.
She can finish up guilt ridden (just like me)!