How to Teach English
How to teach English in Japan, all about teaching English in Japan. A very good friend of mine named Conrad Matsumoto has it down pat.
(How to teach English--photo: a rice field in Japan (by Paul Canosa)
Recently and over the past year or so, I have had the pleasure of watching a good friend of mine teach. I have learned a lot about how to teach English from him.
Conrad has reminded me again and again of some of the basics. One is simply being quiet and letting the students speak. I am a naturally talkative person and love to joke around---ALL the time. This can be a blessing and a curse.
I use it in the classroom but I try to be careful never to cause offense or interupt too much. Yet my style of humour does tend to interrupt the flow to some extent.
Yet humour does add to the class as well, and creates a light atmosphere. I think some students love my comedic style and others would probably change to a quieter, calmer teacher.
I like C`s style in that it is very calm and warm. He genuinely cares about his students and encourages them to talk by asking them questions. He is low key and I mean that in a good way. His students can feel his warmth and enjoy his classes. He is a good teacher and has taught me too.
Sometimes the best things we can do as teachers are the simple things like being quiet and letting the students talk, asking the students questions and giving them the time it takes to answer (some of us are too impatient and Japanese can take a long time to formulate an answer).
As well, we can be a pair partner when only three students show up; thus generating more conversation than the teacher centred situation that often arises when you have three students, and one teacher, (and speak as a group).The teacher often dominates the proceedings in this case.
Another teacher I know, named Chris, is a naturally playful teacher and a very good children`s teacher. He reminds me constantly of the value of play. He too, cares about people. I think he would never admit this, but he does. He listens carefully to what students say, then remembers a book a student spoke of and buys it for them. He refuses payment.
Or he rewards his children`s classes with presents for jobs well done. He never even asks for payment from the school (I wish he would at least sometimes). I tell him you spend too much money. He listens but he knows that is his style.
To sum up, one of the best things we can do, is to watch an esteemed teacher we know, and learn from her or him. By imitating them, we can stretch ourselves to emulate some other teaching styles,and we become better teachers in the process.
How to teach English--Photo: Sakura (Cherry blossoms) by Paul Canosa
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