The Art of Teaching

Manila Bulletin, July 23, 2009 | Go to article overview

The Art of Teaching


Learning is a life-long process that varies in its intensity depending on personal motivation, opportunity, expectations of others, the need to know and their financial and scholastic capacity.Positive learning outcomes are maximized and the learning process are most effective when the learning environment is non-threatening, comfortable, adequately equipped, supportiveand “owned” by the learner.Learning is most effective when it begins with the “simple” and the “known” and sequentially proceeds to the “complex” and the “unknown”, building on the foundation of a learner’s prior knowledge and “environmental” experiences.It can be accelerated by using technology that enhances traditional auditory, visual and kinesthetic teaching techniques, e.g. computers, power point presentations, videos, DVD’s and CD’s, tape recorders, video cameras, television, etc.Every learner should be seen as an individual and teaching strategies used should, as much as possible, be learner-centerd, whereby, initial, teacher-direction and demonstration gradually results in exploration and discovery on the part of the learner, particularly by applying the 4S Skills Transfer technique, to the point where the learner “owns” the learning process.In pursuing a learner-centered approach to teaching, tutoring and training, prominence must be given to the concept of the student being “an independent learner”.In turn, the teacher, tutor or trainer should adopt the role of guide, facilitator, mentor, counselor, adviser and the person to whom the student later turns to for confirmation, correction, conferringand commendation.The objective of any learning process, including the acquisition of English language skills, is the development, exploration, repair, reinforcement and on-going enhancement of conceptual understanding. Providing opportunities for learners to think critically and creatively about the English language – to solve contextually-related problems - and to make appropriate decisions in relation to the use and function of words and constructions are keys to achieving this goal.Factors such as gender, socio-economic status, cultural and linguistic heritage, and even city and rural living, can influence and shape an individual’s attitude towards learning. Developing a relationship and rapport with each learner is crucial for effective teaching, i.e. knowing as much as possible about them, their full name, their family, their special interests and personal likes and dislikes, their pets, the things they like to do, etc. …

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