Presentation on theme: "Language teacher a therapist, a counselor or just a teacher?"— Presentation transcript:
1 Language teacher a therapist, a counselor or just a teacher? Mandana Arfa KaboodvandAzad UniversityTehran, Iran45th Annual IATEFL ConferenceBrighton, 2011
2 “Just as importantly, though, it is potentially draining for teachers to act as untrained (and underpaid) therapists…. Yet the individual class, which takes place in a small room where only teacher and student are present, invites a particular kind of intimacy, which a group class does not, and subconsciously, this might encourage students to use their English as a substitute therapy session… it is up to teachers to set up clear boundaries. Counsellors do so before embarking on a series of sessions, usually by means of a contract….While teachers may not need to complete a detailed contract outlining dos and don’ts, they do need to manage their expectations of their students.” (Allen, L., 2010: 21)
3 Some Emails Mona A few months later (Mona’s report card sent to me) Miss Mandana, I will make you proud of me…MonaA few months later (Mona’s report card sent to me)Foundations of Education ATESOL 1:Developing Literacy and Language AArts Skills in the E S L Classroom ATheories of Second Language Acquisition Socio Cultural Considerations AStructure of English: Pedagogical Grammar for TESOL A
4 I am really sad now. U know how much I like to be independent & live abroad. OH i don't know what should I do . all of my friends are in their own road to future except me. I am 31 years old & have nothing valuable in my life. I am really disappointed. all these years, I just waited & waited & waited. what's the reason? still NOTHING.Mandana joon I wish U were here. I need ur advise.
5 Thank you so much for all your love, for all the support you gave me and for just being there when I felt and needed it. Thank you. Sina from AustraliaI have to make a confession. I have been studying all the time so I have not yet had the chance to try many new things as you had suggested and I am so sorry! Mohammad from SwedenThese days I keep thinking about you and all you have taught me. I am honored to have been your student and still miss the classes and the chats. I wish I could still attend the classes. Leyla from CanadaLast night I dreamt that I am sitting in your house. It even smelled like it. I miss you so much. Nikeh from AustraliaI miss you, Agaye Parsi and that episode of my life where we had to write essays for you! Please, please, please know that whatever happens between me and …, we both want you as Miss Mandana to our lives…. from USI passed my final exam. Thanks for all the support during these years and I apologise for having to live in hibernate mode for a while. Sonia from UK
6 Teaching does not equal learning. So what is a teacher for? Short answer: to help learning to happen. (Scrivner, 2005:19)3 strands of thought on teachers:1. Teachers as passive technicians (The emphasis is on content knowledge)2. Teachers as reflective practitioners3. Teachers as transformative intellectuals (Kumarivadivelu, 2003)Language teaching is an exploration of personal feeling and attitudes and their expression in the target language. “Language is seen as a means to an end not an end itself.”(Wright, T, 1998: 85)
7 Teaching does not equal learning. So what is a teacher for? Short answer: to help learning to happen. (Scrivner, 2005:19)3 strands of thought on teachers:1. Teachers as passive technicians (The emphasis is on content knowledge)2. Teachers as reflective practitioners3. Teachers as transformative intellectuals (Kumarivadivelu, 2003)Language teaching is an exploration of personal feeling and attitudes and their expression in the target language. “Language is seen as a means to an end not an end itself.”(Wright, T, 1998: 85)
8 “In language teaching there is more communication relationships between teacher and learners and more scope for learners to work on themes which are of personal relevance.” (Borg, 2006: 24)“Rapport has to do with empathy: understanding where other people are coming from, appreciating their point of view and seeking to develop and maintain a connection with them...This reflects the classroom situation, where teachers can choose to remain distant and aloof or seek to establish a bond with their class group.” (Senior, 2006: 5,6)
9 In the small-class culture, although it was teacher-centered, there seemed a sense of harmony. With good rapport between lecturer and students, and signs that learning was going on. It seemed sensible to hypothesise that good rapport and harmony in the classroom would encourage learning. (Holliday, 1996: 90)From a teacher-education standpoint therefore, the teacher learner’s contexts of mind provide a meeting point between prior knowledge, as life history, background, social position, experience and so on, and the present experience and interaction of the teachereducation activity or course. (Freeman, 2002:10)
10 What Students Usually Have Talked About to Me Younger StudentsSchools and teachersTheir siblings and parentsTheir future pathwaysTheir friendsOlder StudentsUniversityRelationships and marriageCareersImmigrationPolitics
11 Interpersonal Intelligence Emotional Intelligence Central to this intelligence is the ability to listen to what the other person seems to be saying, to be able to gain good rapport with another person, and to be adept at negotiation and persuasion. (Putcha & Rinvolucri, 2005: 8)People who are good at connecting thoughts to feelings may better “hear” the emotional implications of their own thoughts, as well as understand the feelings of others from what they say.
12 What Some Teachers Have said Building rapport with the students is very important.Discussing your personal experiences with the students is fine.Listening to the students even outside the class hours is acceptable.Paying attention to caring about the students is vital.None of these teachers have not had any formal training on how to handle the personal problems of the students.
13 What Some Students Have Said Language classes are fun, their teachers are also fun, (which may be because a variety of subjects are talked about).Students should feel more comfortable with FL teachers.The job of an FL teacher is more difficult than other teachers.It is not a waste of class to talk about subjects outside the lesson plan even if they are about the problems of a specific student.FL teachers should be more flexible.Out of 10 students interviewed 9 said that they at some point had discussed their feelings and problems with their FL teachers and what they had expected had been empathy, sympathy, being good listeners, paying attention to the students and having logical reactions.
14 ConclusionListening to the students’ opening their hearts and sometimes seeking the teacher's advice can be very big burden on the language teachers who already have various responsibilities in the classes and as mentioned have not had much training on how to help their students with their emotional issues.The solution I have reached so far indicates that the emotional status of the students cannot be ignored; therefore, all language teachers need to receive some kind of training on how to direct the students to seek help from the experts if and when required, the if and when being determined by the training being given. Many of teachers learn to do so by trial and error, which is of course not the best possible way.
15 ReferencesALLEN, L. (2010) Therapist or teacher? English teaching professional, 68, 21.BORG, S. (2006) The Distinctive Characteristics of Foreign Language Teachers. Language Teaching Research, 3-31.FREEMAN, D. (2001) Teacher Learning and Student Learning in TESOL. TESOL Quarterly, 35, 608.HOLLIDAY, A. (1996) Language and Small- Class Cultures in Egyptian University Classrooms: A Cultural Justification for Curriculum Change. IN COLEMAN, H. (Ed.) Society and the Language Classroom. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.KUMARAVADIVELU, B. (2003) Beyond Methods : Macrostrategies for Language Teaching, New Haven, Yale University Press.PUCHTA, H. & RINVOLUCRI, M. (2005) Multiple intelligences in EFL. The Resourceful Teacher Series.SCRIVENER, J. (2005) Learning Teaching, Great Britain, Macmillan Education.SENIOR, R. M. (2006) Class-centred Teaching Is Successful Teaching. English Teaching ProfessionalWRIGHT, T.(1988) Roles of Teachers and Learners, Oxford, OUP.