Sunday, 14 November 2010

Show me the teaching

The school term is almost coming to an end and what do teachers normally do? Complete endless reports? (don't forget your SKT!)  Clear the clutter on the table and in the drawers? Well, I've been reflecting  a lot on my teaching in 2010. This in a sense is more important  to me than the yearly appraisal that we need to hand in- some critical reflection that will help me become a better teacher. I've been wondering a lot about the materials I've been utilising in the classroom. It's no joke that I spend a lot of time choosing the materials to be used in the classroom on a week-to-week basis and photocopying. Some teachers are smarter because they rely heavily on the textbook! The only reservation I have on the textbook is the language level that is too high for my students. Yes, I'm guilty of not using the textbook...I use a lot of materials  from other sources like the internet and books. But wait a minute...what do we need materials for?

  • Can we not have teaching materials and teach as effectively? 
  • Are the worksheets, textbooks, workbooks and other teaching aids doing the teaching for us? 
  • Where is the point in say, a 40-minute class that we are teaching? 
  • What if for the sake of argument you are not allowed to bring any teaching materials into the classroom? Yes, just you, your students, the blackboard and some furniture..
  • Will you be able to teach?
  • Will teachers be handicapped?

Seriously, where is the part that the teacher is teaching? Teachers  claim to have the pedagogical knowledge and skills and on top of that they have been trained to teach. Aren't we too dependent on teaching materials sometimes that the materials are doing the teaching for us? Well, I'm not sure if I have all the answers to the questions but I think it's food for thought for all those in the English fraternity. This could even result in the birth of a paper for MELTA next year :) Who knows?


  1. You reckon the language of the text book is too high and for that you choose without. I find the text book not up to the mark, not the language being too high but the approach does not suit the sunject and the level.

    A fortnight ago I was being naive by suggesting a couple of my form 2 pupils ask their English teacher the meaning of 'tense' in Present Tense, Past Tense etc. The teacher responded that the meaning she knew was 'tegang' but did not know what it was in grammar, and promised to find out. That was the end of it.

  2. Hi Mah, what if tg aids r not allowed ya? That will never take place here in Malaysia. but for the sake of argument : will tchrs be able to carry out a proper lesson? It depends on what kind of tchrs we ve these days. If they'r creative or innovative, they will use whatever resources they ve in the c/room - realia /objects, studnts themselves - can be teaching 'tools'. The textbook then will be handy, provided tchrs simplify them.

  3. It's inevitable to deny that most teachers nowadays heavily rely on printed matters to aid the teaching process. Does that make them bad teachers? No. Does it make them better educators? Not necessarily. To me, teaching aid does not necessarily come in the form of printed material alone, the possibilities are infinite. Teachers should utilise everything and anything that is convenient and practical. Incorporating Multiple Intelligence can definitely nurture the students' interest in learning. Looking forward to listening to your presentation at the upcoming MELTA Conference ;)

  4. salam pakcik,
    i can understand your reservations :) yes there are weaknesses that can be addressed but what would you suggest an appropriate approach?

  5. salam fadzleen!
    how are u? have u fully recovered? it's good to hear from u. yes, there are many other types of teaching aids of course but should they replace teachers' teaching? i've seen teachers let the worksheets or ppt do the talking and teaching for them. some are not confident of their own knowledge on grammar for instance and depended heavily on what's printed on the worksheets. they need to explain grammar- the lack of teacher explanation can happen when the worksheets take control. i'd like to see more of teacher explanation of a grammar item for instance than merely going through exercises in a worksheet. well, am most likely going to MELTA next year!

  6. dib,
    thanks for ur response. it's hard to answer the question because we have too many teaching materials and aids nowadays compared to the yesteryears. it would be interesting to strip the classroom bare of all these paraphernalia and see what happens..:)


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