Language teachers as co learnersBy janella
Teachers as Co-learnersTeachers learning along with students (and teacher colleagues), learning from the students while at the same time learning about the students such as their first language education backgrounds, their lives and learning various teaching methods from colleagues.
In this learning process, teachers learn more about their subject, in this case the second language they are teaching, and they learn more about their students and about people generally. They also learn more about how to teach.To promote their learning, teachers depend more on themselves, their colleagues and their students, rather than on outside experts. This is called bottom-up professional development.
Within this view (some would say the old paradigm view) of language education, teaching is seen as a skill that can be learned in discrete items from how to plan lessons to how to ask questions in class. When these skills have been learned, the teacher is seen as qualified to teach. According to Freeman, this approach is seen as training.
Teaching and Learning is a..Social process where the students are active co-constructors of knowledge with their teachers. The teachers are more of facilitators and fellow learners alongside the students and who are responsible for not just the students learning, but also their own as well as that of their colleagues.
In the traditional paradigm, teachers have a rigid set of content, materials, and methods to follow and are to follow that without exception in order to ensure uniformity and prepare students for standardized exams. However, with an Essentials view to language education, a more bottom-up decision making process is used by both teachers and their students.
Language Teachers as Co-learners take more responsibility for curriculum development and implementation so that their students can have language learning experiences adapted to their specific needs.
Ways teachers can learn together with their students:Asking students about their experiences, knowledge, and opinions on the topics being written and talked about during second language practice and also share your own.Asking students to do research on specific topics and then report on their findings to the class so that all can learn not only the second language in question but also some new information for the teacher and the other students.
If we are in the beginning or intermediate stages of learning a language that one or more of our students speak, we might every once in a while use that language with students as a way to show that we are willing to risk stepping outside our language comfort zone.
Inviting students to take part in choosing topics of study in order to promote students interest in learning and to make it more likely students will possess background knowledge on those topics rather than selecting the same topic for each student to talk and/or write about which is common practice in many schools today.
Communicating our enthusiasm for the topic the class is studying by sharing our experiences, thoughts, and opinions as equal contributors to the learning moment.Be willing to jettison the lesson plan to talk about something in todays headlines or something which has just happened in the school or elsewhere in students lives.
Participating alongside students in their activities, and not standing off watching and listening like a teacher that is the case in many classrooms.Research has indicated that beginning teachers who are mentored are more effective teachers in their early years and are more likely to remain in teaching, since they learn from guided practice rather than depending upon trial-and-error alone.
Peer CoachingPeer coaching also emphasizes collegiality between colleagues because one teacher will learn from a colleague.Suggestions as to how teachers can act as coaches to foster language teacher development include the following:Informal chats about their teaching in the form of anecdotes about what is happening in their classroom.
Collaborating to design materials.Observing each others lessons.the main purpose of peer coaching is to support a teachers existing strengths and develop unexplored capacities.
Co-teacher Classroom observationThe process has three main phases: Pre-observation meeting; classroom observation; post-observation meeting.
Both participants should write down their reflections of the process and what was achieved. They should then meet and discuss what was written and what was achieved
One way for teachers (and students) to learn more is by doing research, rather than relying solely on the research of others from outside the classroom.One form that teacher research can take is action research in which teachers alone, with colleagues, with students, and/or with outsiders conduct small-scale research to address questions or concerns that have arisen in their teaching.
Action research concerns research into action and through action.In order to carry out an action research project, teachers can follow several steps to make this possible:A problem, issue, questionSearch for information, books, journals, internet, colleagues, the person next to us on the bus, parents, and students.
Make an action planCollect baseline dataImplement your plan. Involve colleagues and othersCollect more dataAnalyze your data. Compare with baselineShare your findingsMake a new plan
Role of teachers in co-learning relationshipTeachers as searchers for knowledgeTeachers as models of effectiveTeachers as guidesTeachers as researchersTeachers as engaged intellectuals.
Role of StudentsStudents need to adjust if teachers are to succeed in being co-learnersStudents are involved in, accepting that teachers do not know everything, that teachers, regardless of how intelligent and learned they may be, are trying to learn too understanding that new knowledge is being created all the time
Joining with teachers as investigators, seeking a better grasp of the content area they are studying Acting as sources of information and insight for teachers and classmatesCollaborating with teachers to put their new-found knowledge to the service of others