Few days before I started my study leave, my colleague who is happened to be the mother of one of my students came to see me. That’s a common ritual of saying thank you and goodbye before the real farewell. We talked about few things, but this one stuck in my mind, up until now. I can’t help to keep it to myself. So, I decided to share this as it may be useful to some of us.
My colleague said to me that her son (my student) hated English subject, saying that English is the most difficult subject to him. I was shocked at first since to my recall, his performance was not bad. He was like average in terms of his fluency. He finished his works before the allocated time and participated in every activity that I prepared. He seemed to be a normal student like most of his friends. Never in my mind thought that this little boy was not interested in English.
My colleague continued… “but now, my son said that English is not difficult anymore. In fact, it is the easiest subject of all…thanks to you, you made it easy for him”. I felt relief upon hearing these few lines of hers.
Don’t get me wrong. This post is not for bragging. I’m not saying that I am the best when it comes to teaching. Not at all. I know that many teachers out there are far way better than me.
The conversation made me realised that there are some of the students who have this negative perception towards English before they even learn the language. They feel that English is indescribably difficult hence blocking their mind to receive any input regarding English.
It is our job, as a teacher to gradually change this perception towards English and make it “easy” for the students. Based on my little experience, these are some of the ways:
- Provide AMPLE input and guidance before we ask them to complete the task. Prepare them first. Make them ready before assigning task. Prepare guidance not only before the task, but also during the task.
- Start with the EASIEST input or task. Check the level of the task. Do not jump to the difficult one, it will barricade the students’ interest to learn.
- Use the RIGHT tools/materials which suitable with to level of your students (cognitively and physically). Do not expect little children to engage with ‘extravagant’ tools/materials since some of them are not ready cognitively and physically for those things.
- Inculcate FAMILIAR content/context to the students as a warmer/set induction/introduction to the lessons (eg: famous cartoon characters, familiar events/festivals within the students’ community), then slowly touch on the learning focus of the lesson. By doing this, we will attract their interest towards the lessons. Not only that, they could somehow relate the lessons to their personal life and realise the relevance of the lessons.
- Assign a RELEVANT time frame for each task. Some students have the potential to complete the task, but with insufficient time, they would not be able to complete it. We are unwittingly injecting to the students’ mind that they are incapable of doing the task.
- REWARD the students. Even for their smallest achievements. I’m not talking about giving money or fancy gifts, but a simple “GOOD JOB!”. “WELL DONE, YOU MADE IT”. “BRILLIANT!”, etc is enough to boost the students’ motivation to learn more. I.Allah
I think that’s all for now. I need to get back to my main business now..hehhe.. I guess this comes out because I miss my students so much, I miss being in the classroom with them. Once I have settled my responsibility here, I’ll be back with my kids. I.Allah..pray for me.
Lots of love,