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Current issues


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three critical problems in english l

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Current issues

  1. 1.  Students skip class, and when they do show up it’s likely due to fear of failure more than anything else. They may lack any semblance of attention during class, chatting with classmates, doodling in their note books or, (gasp!) in their textbooks. What experienced English or other foreign language teaching professional hasn’t faced the problem of reluctant, unmotivated learners? One key to increasing motivation is to use activities matched to the personalities, learning styles and characteristics of the learners as often as practically possible.
  2. 2. A framework for motivational strategies As we have already said, skill in motivating students to learn is of paramount importance. Until recently, however, teachers were forced to rely on "bag-of-tricks" approaches in their attempt to manage their classroom and motivate their learners. Good and Brophy (1994: 212) hold that these approaches have been influenced by two contradictory views: a) that learning should be fun and that any motivation problems that may appear should be ascribed to the teachers attempt to convert an enjoyable activity to drudgery; and b) that school activities are inherently boring and unrewarding, so that we must rely on extrinsic rewards and punishment with a view to forcing students to engage in these
  3. 3. Rewards and punishments maybe a mainstay of the teaching-learning process, but they arenot the only tools in teachersarsenal. Dornyei (2001: 119)believes that "the spectrum ofother potentially more effectivemotivational strategies is sobroad that it is hard to imaginethat none of them would work."
  4. 4. Motivational strategies cannot work in avacuum, nor are they set in stone. Thereare certain preconditions to be metbefore any attempts to generatemotivation can be effective. Some ofthese conditions are the following:1. appropriate teacher behavior andgood teacher-student rapport2. a pleasant and supportive classroomatmosphere3. a cohesive learner groupcharacterized by appropriate groupnorms
  5. 5. Appropriate teacher behavior and good teacher-student rapport Whatever is done by a teacher has a motivational, formative, influence on students. In other words, teacher behaviour is a powerful "motivational tool" (Dornyei, 2001: 120). Teacher influences are manifold, ranging from the rapport with the students to teacher behaviours which "prevail upon" and/or "attract" students to engage in tasks. For Alison (1993), a key element is to establish a relationship of mutual trust and respect with the learners, by means of talking with them on a personal level. This mutual trust could lead to enthusiasm. At any rate, enthusiastic teachers impart a sense of commitment to, and interest in, the subject matter, not only verbally but also non-verbally - cues that students take from them about how to behave.
  6. 6. A pleasant and supportive classroom atmosphere It stands to reason that a tense classroom climate can undermine learning and demotivate learners (see MacIntyre, 1999 and Young, 1999 for further details). On the other hand, learner motivation will reach its peak in a safe classroom climate in which students can express their opinions and feel that they do not run the risk of being ridiculed. To be motivated to learn, students need both ample opportunities to learn and steady encouragement and support of their learning efforts. Because such motivation is unlikely to develop in a chaotic classroom, it is important that the teacher organize and manage the classroom as an effective learning environment. Furthermore, because anxious or alienated students are unlikely to develop motivation to learn, it is important that learning occur within a relaxed and supportive atmosphere (Good and Brophy,
  7. 7. In general, motivation is the "neglected heart" of ourunderstanding of how to design instruction (Keller, 1983, quotedin Dornyei, 2001: 116). Many teachers believe that by sticking tothe language materials and trying to discipline their refractorystudents, they will manage to create a classroom environmentthat will be conducive to learning. Nevertheless, these teachersseem to lose sight of the fact that, unless they accept theirstudents personalities and work on those minute details thatconstitute their social and psychological make-up, they will fail tomotivate them. What is more, they will not be able to form acohesive and coherent group, unless they succeed in turningmost "curriculum goals" (goals set by outsiders) into "groupgoals" (goals accepted by the group members, that is, students).Learning a foreign language is different to learning othersubjects. Therefore, language teaching should take account of avariety of factors that are likely to promote, or even militateagainst, success. Language is part of ones identity and is usedto convey this identity to others. As a result, foreign languagelearning has a significant impact on the social being of thelearner, since it involves the adoption of new social and culturalbehaviors and ways of thinking.
  8. 8. Insufficient Time, Resources and Materials Instructional aids are devices that assist an instructor in the teaching-learning process .Instructional aids are not self- supporting; they are supplementary training devices. The key factor is that instructional aids support, supplement, or reinforce while instructors may become involved in the selection and preparation of instructional aids usually they are already in place. Instructors simply need to learn how to effectively use.
  9. 9. Reasons for Use of Instructional Aids It helps the students remember important information. When properly used, they help gain and hold the attention of students. Good instructional aids also can help solve certain language barrier problems. Consider the continued expansion of technical terminology in everyday usage. This, coupled with culturally diverse backgrounds of todays students, makes it necessary for instructors to be precise in their choice of terminology. Words or terms used in an instructional aid should be carefully selected to convey the same meaning for the student as they do for the instructor. They should provide an accurate visual image and make learning easier for
  10. 10. . Another use for instructional aids is to clarify therelationships between material objects and concepts.When relationships are presented visually, they often aremuch easier to understand. For example, the subsystemswithin a physical unit are relatively easy to relate to eachother through the use of schematics or diagrams. Symbols,graphs, and diagrams can also show relationships oflocation, size, time, frequency, and value. By symbolizingthe factors involved, it is even possible to visualize abstractrelationships. Instructors are frequently asked to teachmore and more in a smaller time frame. Instructional aidscan help them do this. For example, instead of using manywords to describe a sound, object, or function, theinstructor plays a recording of the sound, shows a pictureof the object, or presents a diagram of the function.Consequently, the student learns faster and moreaccurately, and the instructor saves time in the process.
  11. 11. At first, it may be daunting to teach classes without the materials you arefamiliar with. It can be frustrating to realize that if you only had a certainpiece of equipment, the class could be a lot easier to teach, more fun forstudents, and more interesting too. When planning to teach in an area withlimited resourcesconsider taking some materials along to assist youduring the transition period. Paper, printouts of materials you have usedbefore, a laptop, an MP3 player, and some portable battery operatedspeakers as well as spare batteries will help you in class and make thechange more bearable. You will be able to show students pictures andvideos using your laptop and conduct listening exercises using your musicplayer. It may not be an ideal arrangement but it will allow you to conductlistening exercises using songs and show your students pictures of yourfamily, friends, and hometown. Sometimes students in these locations arealso less prepared for classes than students in other areas so try to bringmaterials with you that they might need to use in class such as pencils andnotebooks. You cannot anticipate everything you will need in a school withlimited resources but bringing along some basic things will definitely benefiteveryone. While it may take you a while to adapt, students can be verypatient especially if they are used to having teachers change quite often andwill be more flexible than students you may have worked with before. Sincethey are used to using the materials available in different ways and perhapsunused to having pieces of technology used in the classroom, they will notbe frustrated by what they are lacking whereas you might be. Once youhave had time to settle in, the initial challenges will give way to opportunitiesfor you to grow as a teacher.
  12. 12. Over crowded English classesThe Effects of an OvercrowdedClassroomWith the number of students enrolledin schools increasing, according tothe National Center for Educationalstatistics, schools are forced to putmore children in each classroom oruse smaller spaces as classrooms.This overcrowding can havenegative effects on students andteachers.
  13. 13. Teacher Morale Teaching in a small space is stressful for the teacher, who has to adapt lesson plans to focus more on work that students can complete at their desks instead of group work or active projects that require more floor space. In addition, the teacher often does not have enough personal office space for lesson preparation and meetings with parents or students.
  14. 14. Student Behavior Students who are seated close to one another in a classroom might have difficulty focusing on the lessons, which leads to less learning and lower test scores. The invasion of personal space and feelings of being crowded both contribute to the lack of focus. In addition, students can be distracted by noises that are in close proximity to them in an overcrowded classroom.
  15. 15. Classroom Equipment Overcrowded classrooms often do not have enough space for supplementary equipment. For example, a classroom might have to forgo computer stations to use the space for student desks. Science and art equipment also require space that an overcrowded classroom does not have.
  16. 16. Solutions for CrowdedClasses Year-round school scheduling allows a district to stagger the children attending throughout the year rather than accommodating them all each fall. The buildings are utilized on a more consistent basis and classroom sizes are reduced. According to "NC Spin Online," year-round schools accommodate up to 25 percent more students overall. Families who have one child in year-round school and another at a different grade level in a different school often find it difficult to juggle the
  17. 17. Mobile classrooms have been the only meansof education in overcrowded cities such asDeli, India, for years. As class sizes grow inthe West, mobile or modular classrooms aremaking their way into U.S. and Canadiancities as well. Movable classrooms not onlyreduce immediate classroom sizes but alsoallow districts to quickly adapt to changes indemographics. There are concerns regardingthe quality of portable classrooms. The EPAreports that many portables have poorventilation and high levels of mold and somehigh emission materials. Green, eco-friendlymodular rooms are good solutions to theseproblems.
  18. 18. Virtual Learning The school of the future might have you going in your pajamas. If youre worried about overcrowding, have your kids go to school online. In the high-tech 21st century, virtual learning is a free, public way to receive K-12 education and its one of the fastest growing education trends, according to Seattle Times columnist Danny West neat. Young, online students require some homeschooling attention from parents or tutors when something is challenging. Another consequence is that team sports and extracurricular activities are not offered through online schools. Some districts offer online students the chance to join