Friday, March 13, 2015

Exploiting students' curiosity

One of the things I regret from my CELTA training was the vision one of my tutors had about how a teacher had to interact or not interact with their students. Sadly, she stated that a teacher should never get into a friendship with a student, not to mention adding the student to social media profiles or else. This has never been an option to me, simply because I continuously discover the wonders of bonding with my students.

To begin with, when you know your students enough in a personal way, profiling them is easier and more effective since you can rely on their likes, dislikes, favorite hobbies and family relations to teach a particular piece of structure or develop a particular skill.

This way, you also build confidence and trust which I consider is really important for a student to speak freely and, eventually, breaking the ice to fluency and accuracy. Also, giving your students the chance to know you is a great tool to exploit their curiosity and encourage them to speak, share or simply give you an opinion. I usually rely on this when teaching questions, either confirmation or information from basic to advanced levels. Once covering the grammatical structure and use of the questions, the best way to get language in use and in context is giving the students the chance to ask you questions. They will always want to know something about you and giving them the chance to do so is like magic as their motivation grows immensely and they enjoy the gossiping.

In summary, in spite of my tutor’s opinion about keeping your students out of your personal life, I will probably continue exploiting their curiosity, their likes and dislikes and the deep sense of belonging that does magic when encouraging them to speak or write in English.