The death of an EFL teacher
Posted by brahim
So many people are born everyday;many die biologically and still many others survive in death.I am witnessing the death of an EFL teacher right now,and I am ,consequently, watching the death of the EFL teaching in many places.I am not going to speak about places where education is the last thing the authorities might think of.The biggest problem is when EFL teachers die in a country where education and training is getting a “lion’s share” in the budget,and it is considered the second or third priotiry sector in our country.
I am feeling the smell of death approaching me,and this is my tenth year of teaching English in Morocco.I feel envy while following my friends from the western countries on facebook or twitter,or when I hear them in online webinars speaking of continuos professional development and the degree they have achieved in the integration of technology in their language teaching.I get puzzled when I remember that my country spends so much money on technology integration,while in reality there is nothing of that.I can only see and feel every factor that might kill an EFL teacher,and hereabout I am disclosing some of those killing ghosts that are haunting me.
I ,and so many other EFL teachers I know,always try to integrate technology into my teaching ,and I mostly try to use technology while doing projects.Yet,all the skills and techniques that I am trying to use have been developed from my own interaction with friends and colleagues online.I have got most of my teaching online from what teachers such as @Tomwhitby , @shellterell and @russellstanard share on social networking sites.I am indebted to these great educators and so many others for allowing the new techniques and ideas of ELT to reach into me here.Without this,one would survive in death as I haven’t seen any professional training about teaching EFL in my area for over four years.This really kills those of us who follow and know what other people are talking about on the web.
Can EFL really die somewhere in the world?yes,absolutely.It will die in places where teachers still rely on outdated methods and techniques in their own teaching.It’s in fact dying in places where students are better than teachers in their ICT knowledge and where teachers are even more literate than their supervisors or head teachers.
I am not saying that students shouldn’t be better than teachers.However,an ICT illiterate teacher is more likely to resist change,and he/she will tend to switch off a child who is keeping track of the newest things in technology.Likewise,an ICT illiterate head-teacher is more likely to hinder any new ideas that come from an ICT fan teacher.I have seen many cases where head-teachers put hinder using technology in teaching for mere predictions and outdated claims.Hence,this type of head-teachers are in the greatest need for professional development,or they would better quit the job if we are really preparing our kids for the future.
An illiterate head-teacher is unlikely to praise and recognize any creativity on the part of teachers.This is the most killing thing in our profession.I know that most of my colleague teachers expect one word of admiration from their supervisors or head-teacher for bringing about something new,these teachers would refrain from letting their minds explore any other time if they see that people around them don’t even understand what they are doing.So many people would really wonder and keep asking questions whenever they see me taking a laptop to my classroom.They always think that I am playing music there.
How about the standrads?When you open the educational circulars and you read the official documents,one would imagine himself/herself in Fineland!The official documents emphasise linking our ELT teaching to technology.Among the 5Cs in our standrads is the “Connections” and “Communities” standrads aiming at enabling the students to connect their English language to other disciplines including technology,and the “Communities” standards aims at using English outside school to reach into other communities using technology.That’s absolutely perfect!Yet,in reality ,do students have access to technology in schools?Do they have internet connection?Can they use English outside school with their parents or friends?Definitely no!So there is a huge gap between what’s in the books and what’s in the real world.This is absolutely an other killing factor for those who love to embrace technology and to use a standrads-based approach.If we really believe that standards provide a framework for applying the syllabus and for knowing where our kids are going,we have to provide the necessary conditions and materials for applying a standrads-based syllabus.We have to decide between preparing our children for the future or saoking them in a school which they find irrelevant for their own lives, which is a reason for them to quit school or at least to misbehave in a monotonous and meaningless lesson.
So much I have to say next about other things that kill both an EFL teacher and student in relation to syllabus,testing and exams.That’s in part two of “what kills an EFL teacher”.