It’s 2012 and we’re all back to teaching full-time. This is the chance for us all to do our teaching in an even more efficient way. Some expert teachers with many years behind them would say try teaching differently. For example, if you teach with a book teach without one. If you always make lesson plans try not making them or vice versa. I’m going to suggest one particular thing which has helped me tremendously in the past 4 years. I heard someone suggest this in a conference a while back but I never could seem to make the time. What is it you ask? It’s simply learning to do something that you don’t know how to do. It could be learning a foreign language, learning to play an instrument, taking drawing or painting lessons, learning to cook or to make pottery.
It’s amazing how much more you learn about this new activity but as well about yourself and your students. The learning process becomes even more clear. Four years ago, I picked up the violin. I like to say it like that because it makes it sound so easy. Actually, it’s the instrument I desired to play the most when I was a child but wasn’t allowed to. We had a piano. So, at the age of 41, I decided to enroll in the local Conservatoire here in my city where I study music side by side with young children and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 17. This has been the most enriching experience for my personal development and especially for my teaching. It’s made me see things from the learners point of view. I can equate better with the moments of low enthusiasm, confusion, and the ups and downs that learners experience quite often in EFL or any other learning experience as the level becomes more challenging. Self motivation, consistency, and desire are needed by both students and teachers to carry out this endeavor. One is not dominant over the other because it’s a joint effort for the common goal of acquisition. It can only work out well if both put forth an honest effort. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun in the process.
At times, the learner may need a big push up the hill or a bit of a carrot to get from one level to another. Notice I said a push not pulling. Pulling would show an all out refusal to go any further. This is just an idea for those teachers out there who feel as if they are always doing the same thing and feel as if they are not reaching their students the way they would like to. Taking risks in teaching and trying new things can always teach you something new. Try to get out of your comfort zone. This is what teachers usually say to their learners. Are you ready to? So get out there and learn to do something new. Doesn’t matter what it is! You might be surprised by the amount of new lessons you’ll come up with and how innovative they’ll be. Good luck with it!