Do you want to be TEFL or TESOL-certified and teach in DazhuAngke XiAng? Are you interested in teaching English in Beijing? Check out ITTT’s online and in-class courses, Become certified to Teach English as a Foreign Language and start teaching English ONLINE or abroad! ITTT offers a wide variety of Online TEFL Courses and a great number of opportunities for English Teachers and for Teachers of English as a Second Language.
Teacher Self AnalysisAs teachers it is essential that we are constantly refining, revising and improving our teaching methods. One of the greatest risks we run as teachers is when we become too comfortable or fixed in our routine and our teaching method stagnates as a result. Even the best teachers have areas where they could improve and acknowledging our own shortcomings is an important step in bettering our abilities. All too often the temptation is there to deflect criticism outwards rather than accept responsibility ourselves. For example if a lesson doesn?t go according to plan we can be far too quick to blame certain students for ruining what should have been a wonderful lesson instead of looking at ourselves as part of the problem. There are various ways we can analyze our own performance in the classroom and improve our teaching methods and I would like to deal with some of those in this essay. When analyzing our own performance it is essential that we are honest with ourselves. One method which I have found useful in self analysis is to keep a teaching diary. Just as it is important to plan our lessons beforehand, it is equally important to reflect on the lesson we have just taught. After teaching a lesson it is useful to return to the lesson plan as soon as possible, ideally in the break between classes or at lunch time, but at least on the same day as the lesson was taught. Look at the lesson plan, look at your goals and objectives and mark yourself out of ten. It is important that we do this self analysis while the memory of the lesson is still fresh in our minds. Ask yourself the hard questions: How close did you come to achieving your goals? Which activities were successful and which ones failed? Did you succeed in getting the whole class involved in the lesson or did you rely on certain dependable students? What were some of the problems you had not foreseen? How could these be avoided in the future? The most important question to keep in mind at all times is why? Why were certain areas successful, why were others less so? If a student was being disruptive, why was he being disruptive? What could you have done to handle him/her better? Was he engaged in the lesson? Was he bored or excluded or was the language level appropriate? Taking the time to ask these questions and putting your answers on paper is a good way to scrutinize yourself more thoroughly than merely moving on to the next class and putting it behind you. Often as teachers we find ourselves returning to the same lesson plan for different classes so having your original lesson plan plus your reflections on the lesson can only be helpful. Another good method of self analysis is to watch one of your own classes. Most schools will have some sort of video camera which the teacher can avail of if they want to. Set up the video camera and record one of your classes. This will give you a new perspective on how you teach. It will give the student?s point of view and it will be an eye opening experience. Things like body language (or lack of), pacing, movement, voice control, use of the board etc are difficult to analyze while we are in the act of teaching but if you take yourself out of that and take the time to view yourself you will see areas of your style and method which may well make you cringe. But as always in self analysis it is important to ask the hard questions and to be honest. Just one viewing of yourself teaching can eradicate ingrained mistakes that you may have been entirely unaware of. But don?t just do it once. Watch yourself again 6 months down the line and see if you have slipped back into old habits or developed any new ones which may need to be removed. Just as watching yourself can be beneficial, taking the time to watch other teachers in action is also helpful. Politely ask if you may observe the class of a teacher you have come to admire or respect. They will undoubtedly employ some techniques which had never even occurred to you. There will also be areas where you feel their teaching style is less effective but both of these can be equally beneficial to your own teaching style. Try to incorporate the good and try to avoid the bad. Watching a variety of teachers can add many new techniques, styles and tricks of the trade if you will that will only serve to benefit your own teaching style. If teachers observe your class, have honest conversations with them about it. There will always be a teacher on the staff with more experience and know-how than you and do not be afraid to benefit from their knowledge rather than be intimidated by it. All teachers should have the best interests of their students at heart and through rigorous and honest self analysis we can improve as teachers and help our students to achieve their maximum potential. Self analysis leads to better teachers and better classroom dynamics and a more rewarding and enjoyable teaching day.