Tuesday, August 27, 2013

FL Forum (August 2013) - Dicussion Panel: Common mistakes teachers make: Thoughts

First ELT event of the year and most of us teachers in my hometown were there.
It's really nice to meet colleagues and see what's in the book market. It's a way of preparing for the new year, it's a tradition.
The FL Forum started with a very interesting Panel discussion on "Common Mistakes Teachers Make"
Among the speakers"
  • Dr Luke Prodromou
  • Maria Sachpazian
  • David Gibson
  • Anna Parisi
  • George Vassilakis
  • Patritsia Anrioti
All these very experienced trainers have talked about lesson planning, teacher talking time, observation, instructions, teacher sentence completion, whether teachers should be friends with their students.

I thought I should say how I feel about these subjects.
  • First of all, I totally agree with Luke Prodromou, when he says that there are no mistakes when we are learning to become good teachers. We are human after all. Everybody makes mistakes. The important thing is to learn from your mistake and become a better person-teacher.
  • There are no rules what we should or we should not do. You have to adapt to the situation actually.
  • Talking about lesson planning, in my opinion, it is important, BUT, sometimes plans fall apart. Of course we cannot think of everything that might happen in our classroom - the magic word for me is ADJUST!
  • Clear instructions ARE important as Maria Sachpazian said - we have to ask the students how they feel, if they know what the activity is about, but never ask if they understand! The answer to this question is always yes, no matter if they have actually understood or not!!
  • Another common mistake teachers make is completing the students sentences. We don't let the students express themselves, if they don't answer immediately, we just reveal the answer ourselves. As George Vassilakis said, we teachers must come to terms that there will be silence in the classroom. This doesn't necessarily mean that they don't know, maybe they are processing the data!
  •  Friendship with the students was also mentioned as a minus. I don't actually agree with that, and I will explain why. In the past 5 years I do not work in a classroom. I give private lessons, this means that I go to their home, spend lots of hours with them mostly in their room, I meet their parents, their siblings, their friends, it is unavoidable not to develop a friendly relationship with them. Of course, this does not suggest that I will go to a club dancing with them, but it is very important for me that they trust me, not only as a teacher but as a person as well. For me a teacher is a second parent, a friend.
I would like to stress that what I have written is based on my notes and what I believe on the subjects and not the entire opinions of the speakers.
Today was a very interesting morning !

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