Teach English in Pingchao Zhen - Nantong Shi

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There are many characteristics which define an excellent teacher. One must be caring, motivational, detail oriented, engaging, patient, and attentive, among other attributes. At heart, an excellent teacher is equally passionate about their work and the progress of their students. In addition to embodying these traits, an excellent teacher knows how and when to switch between different roles in the classroom. Depending on context, the teacher makes use of body language, classroom management skills, cultural considerations, and teaching methodologies to act out one or more roles. During the Engage phase of an ESA lesson, the teacher acts in a lively, intriguing, and relaxed manner. The teacher may arrange the students in a circular seating arrangement and introduce an icebreaker activity to establish their role as manager or controller, while abstaining from being an assessor. This creates a comfortable, low pressure environment which emboldens the students to participate. This approach is particularly important in many East Asian cultures, where students expect the teacher to speak during the lesson and expect themselves to be silent. In regards to body language, the beginning of the lesson is the ideal time for the teacher to make eye contact with every student and utilize multiple gestures to establish the pace of the lesson, increase visual interest, and convey intention. The Study phase is centered around learning and studying material, so the teacher must accurately define the topic and study expectations while constructively correcting the student’s performance in a fair and encouraging manner. In doing so, the teacher acts as an organizer and assessor. To begin, the teacher acts as a model, speaking with clarity, and at a suitable volume. This includes pre-explaining difficult vocabulary and grammar while clearly defining the aim of the activity. If the activity involves group or pair work, the teacher may want to be minimally involved. Thus, the teacher acts as a monitor, taking notes on the progress of the activity without interrupting the students. In an individual activity, it is more suitable for the teacher to act as a tutor, offering brief and equitable guidance to each student. In any case, the teacher acts as an assessor, particularly when there is a recurring mistake among the students. When the teacher acts as an assessor, it is essential to be sensitive to body language. Addressing students by name, using open hand gestures instead of finger pointing, and correcting in a kind, supportive manner serve to strengthen the relationship between student and teacher. This is particularly important in cultural settings where students have heightened anxiety over making mistakes in the classroom. Once the Activate stage begins, it is time for the students to demonstrate what they have learned throughout the lesson. It is helpful for the teacher to act as a model, clearly depicting the exercise for all students. In this phase, creativity and self direction of language skills are paramount, so the teacher ought to act as a resource or facilitator rather than an assessor. If a student is at a loss for words it may be time for the teacher to take the role of prompter, offering a bit of guidance to help the student along. However, acting as a prompter is not always the best course of action. In certain cultural settings, students can become extremely embarrassed by public correction and would prefer to be aided in private. On the other hand, some students may become anxious because they are speaking in front of their fellow classmates and would benefit from a nudge of support. Successful facilitation requires the sensitivity with which to distinguish between these situations and help students to navigate them both. It is important for teachers to switch roles depending on whether the class is involved in an accuracy activity or a fluency activity. During the accuracy-based activity of drilling (repetition of speech), which focuses on producing correct language, the teacher acts as a model. First, the teacher will repeat the same word or phrase for the students. While the students emulate this word or phrase, the teacher acts as an observer, taking notes on the student’s performance. To finish, the teacher becomes an assessor, providing feedback to the entire class and making necessary adjustments to the exercise. In contrast to accuracy activities, fluency activities intend to foster creativity and experimentation with language and do not focus on correct results. Free role play between pairs of students is an example of a fluency activity. In this activity, the teacher will act as a facilitator, by providing the scenario, such as visiting a doctor's office, but not the dialogue to students. During the role play activity the teacher once again takes the role of observer but may also act as prompter if necessary. In conclusion, there are a multitude of appropriate roles a teacher must be comfortable inhabiting to create a constructive and engaging learning environment. An excellent teacher must not only know which roles are most appropriate for a given scenario, but also how to emulate different roles based on body language, teaching methodologies, classroom management skills, and cultural considerations. This paper serves to highlight a few important instances of which roles are appropriate for certain important scenarios, and provides examples of how one can act out these roles.