PHOTO ESSAY: TEACHING THOUGHTFULLY
Our teacher trainee said that he previously thought that teaching was easy and straightforward. Now, he worries each day that he hasn’t planned the lesson correctly and he worries that he isn’t doing a good job of teaching.
While I worry that he will be overloaded and break from the pressure of overhauling everything he has ever known about education. I also worry that I will not be able to demonstrate what I want done to an effective level.
I am learning more and more during my stay in Myanmar that teaching is not only my job, but my hobby and indeed my life. If I am not in the classroom, I am planning, and when I am not planning, I am contemplating a grammatical curiosity. It is essential for me to understand the usage of language if I am to teach it effectively. Language must be presented in as natural a way as possible. That is why it is so hard to plan and teach in the active style. Think of it as mimicking the way babies and young children learn if you will: acquisition. No thought, no learning grammar rules, just immersion and repetition. I personally became acquainted with many cats who were sitting on mats when I was taught how to read and write in my native tongue. It is this pure simplicity which makes planning so time-consuming. The teacher must think of all the natural ways in which we use the language and then fix a strong context that the students will remember and associate with the target language in question.
NEH Director of Studies and Teacher Trainer
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