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June 15, 2006

Teacher Develpment - Understanding Students by Understanding Ourselves

Hello readers,

ESL teachers, it seems, are constantly being urged to increase STT (Student Talking Time) and minimize TTT (Teacher Talking Time) in their language classes.

However, in doing so there are certain dangers which should be recognized at an early opportunity. For example, the fact that many people find this difficult and are uncomfortable with talking to a complete stranger . . .

. . . Moreover, there might be gender, ethnic or social factors which can complicate matters even further.

This is not to say that STT is not hugely important, only that it is important to be empathetic with some students who might not take to this as warmly as others.

In order to develop this empathy within yourself, why not occasionally place yourself in an unfamiliar position? Doing so might help you exercise your empathy level, which can pay dividends in the classroom.

For the sake of feeling a little uncomfortable, you could make yourself a much more effective teacher overnight.

Have any of you tried similar self-improving exercises as these with some success? Would love to hear from you.

Thanks and hang in there!

Chris Sowton
June 2006 Guest-Writer for ESLemployment

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

About the author of this entry:
Chris Sowton is not from the Western side of ‘the Pond’ like many readers of ESL-Lesson-Plan. In fact, he lives about one mile from the Greenwich Meridian Line, which he hopes will enable him to be as broad and global in his outlook as possible. Chris's first exposure to ESL was an eight-month teaching assignment to rural Nepal when he was a fresh-faced 18-year-old. After having such a wonderful time, he returned to his studies in the UK, and set up Global Action Nepal (GAN), a charity whose main focus was on training English language teachers. After graduating from the University of York in English literature, he went back to Nepal for eighteen months. Returning to the UK in 2001, he first of all took an M.A. in International Development, and since then has worked as a freelance development and education consultant for various NGOs and universities. He is married and lives in London. “Mellifluous” is his favorite word.

Posted by ESL Lesson Plan at June 15, 2006 11:58 AM

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