A letter to the teachers of English: 78Language teacher education and training (2) [Archives:2005/826/Education]
Dr..M.N.K.Bose ([email protected])
Associate Professor of English,
Faculty of Arts, Ibb
Dear Fellow teachers,
I hope my argument against training teachers of English and for educating them makes sense to you; you can question me any time you feel mislead or carried away.
I strongly feel that today's classrooms are much more different from those in the past, both quantitatively and qualitatively. Our students are genetically gifted with more intelligence than us; we should honour this innate 'superiority' of our students. This inborn intelligence is either bettered or worsened in the situation each one lives; that is why we suggest an affable home climate and a congenial school climate. Unfortunately, most of our students have a conducive home climate and left at our mercy at the schools and colleges. It is sad that most of the time they fail to get such a climate in schools as well, especially in English classrooms, mainly because we belittle their capabilities and treat them at a much lower level, psychologically and sociologically. What I mean is that we hardly take them into confidence when we plan our lessons or teach the lesson in the classes; the examples we give them sometimes are of the lower mental abilities, the exercises we set for them are less challenging and the tests we give them are not at all demanding. Most of our clever students who get at this 'secret' of our professional activities through their keen, constant observation, beat us out of our exams memorizing and reproducing the answers to get higher scores. I have heard many students who are not good at the art of mugging the answers up growl at the exam results when they see the 'muggers' get ranks and not the real intelligent ones. When it comes to using the language skills in the interviews for jobs or any such events, the rank holders betray their incompetence, because the ranks wee the prize for their mugging up and not for their intelligence.
My contention, therefore, is that training does enable the teachers to provide a healthy climate in the classrooms to our students; only education helps. Educating the teachers results in giving them abilities to tackle any eventualities in the classrooms, academic or otherwise; developing in the teachers competence to evaluate the teaching materials and adapt them, if necessary, to tackle the classroom crises, if any and turn them to the advantage of the students, to design suitable testing tools for their classes. Teacher education prepares teachers to meet the challenges of today's classrooms, academic, sociological and psychological. In addition, it inculcates in the teachers a positive attitude to research and enables them to find answers to most of their classroom problems.
Some of the readers might wonder if the teachers of English 'educated' in the Faculties of Education do have these abilities. I have come across many teachers with these abilities and their classes are success stories and models to follow. I am not unaware of those who find it difficult to manage their classes and get frustrated when they face problems in the classrooms. I will not put the blame wholly on these teachers, because the curriculum of the Faculties of Education is partly responsible for their poor performance, as they were not prepared well to meet the classroom challenges. We will discuss what should be done to improve the situation later.