do teachers bring to the teaching-learning process?
by Dimitrios Thansoulas
is not indivisible from learning. We can be good teachers
only if we know what we mean by learning because only then
can we know what we expect our learners to achieve. If our
goal is to prepare our students to pass an exam, then this
will affect the way in which we teach. If we see foreign language
learning as a perennial process which has social and cultural
implications, then we will take a different approach to teaching
it. Gow and Kember (1993) suggest that most approaches to
learning can be subsumed under any of the following points:
a quantitative increase in knowledge
the acquisition of facts and procedures which can be
retained and / or used in practice
the abstraction of meaning
an interpretative process aimed at the understanding
some form of personal change
beliefs about themselves
humanistic teachers, teaching is esentially a personal expression
of the self, which has particular implications with regard
to teachers' views of themselves, since a teacher who lacks
self-esteem will not be able to build the self-esteem of others.
The teacher who does not accept his learners for who they
are makes it difficult for them to accept themselves. By the
same token, the language teacher needs to impart a sense of
self-confidence in using the language, while at the same time
respecting learners' attempts to communicate in the foreign
is no such thing as "the perfect teacher." Giving
a homily on what "good teachers" do appears to be
unhelpful and unrewarding to those who want to improve their
own practices. A far more helpful approach seems to be the
study of teachers' beliefs, which inform and shape their actions.
Constructivism lies at the heart of this endeavour, as it
offers valuable insights into the cognitive as well as affective
aspects of the relationship between teachers and their self-images,
and teachers and students. Teaching is not merely information
or knowledge, but mainly an expression of values and attitudes.
What teachers usually get back from their students is what
they themselves have brought to the teaching-learning process.
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Freire, P. 1970. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum.
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Psychology, 63, 20-33.
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reference to learners as democratic explorers in teacher education
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think in action. New York: Basic Books.
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English Literature and Linguistics at Athens University
and then did an MA in Applied Linguistics at Sussex University.
After that, he earned an MBA from Mooreland University
and is currently finishing the second year of my PhD studies
in Education at Nottingham University. His academic interests
include fostering cultural awareness and learner autonomy,
as well as such issues as language and ideology, Critical
Discourse Analysis, Pragmatics, Sociolinguistics, and
the Psychology of Education.
can be contacted at:
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