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March 19, 2006

Teacher Development - Projection From the ESL Couch

Readers,

This month we’ll continue our look at how counseling theories and skills can be applied in the ESL classroom with an examination of projection. And no, I don’t mean film projection…But rather psychological projection. Peter Gay writes that projection is "the operation of expelling feelings or wishes the individual finds wholly unacceptable—too shameful, too obscene, too dangerous—by attributing them to another." (Freud: A Life for Our Time, page 281) . . .

. . . How does this apply to teachers? Picture this…You are living and teaching in Italy. You study and study and study for your Italian language certification test and fail. This leaves you feeling disappointed, sad, and a little angry at yourself for not studying harder. Monday, at school, when a student fails your English vocabulary test, you assume that he must feel disappointed, sad, and a little angry at himself for not studying harder…and you don’t see the connection between the two events…and you don’t see that the student is actually not concerned in the least.

The importance of considering projection is that it can help you more clearly understand the behaviors of students, and should you get really good at clearly seeing yourself, yours as well!

"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." — Beyond Good and Evil, Nietszche

Question of the Day: Ever have a moment of recognition in class when you realized YOU were projecting your feelings onto your students?

Best,

Marlen Harrison
March 2006 Guest-Writer for ESLemployment

Looking for more articles that focus on teacher development for the ESL instructor? Click HERE!

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About the author of this entry:
Marlen hails from South Florida but has lived abroad in both Europe and Asia. His own international education experiences include a year at Kingston University in Surrey, England. In 1995, Marlen earned his B.S. in Psychology from Appalachian State University.and then was awarded the M.A. in Education and Human Development from George Washington University in 1997. Currently, he is pursuing a doctoral program in TESOL after four years of teaching in a variety of settings in Western Japan. In addition to his liberal arts and educational background, Marlen is also a member of the Japanese Association for Language Teaching, acting as Co-Coordinator for their Learner Development special interest group.

Posted by ESL Lesson Plan at March 19, 2006 08:47 AM

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