Teaching: it’s all about the Relationship, not Technology in the Classroom

technology-esl-classroom
Technology in the ESL classroom

It’s not about Technology in the Classroom

I’ve been thinking lately about teaching, and what is really important in order to do it effectively. I increasingly think that it’s not so much about handouts, excessive prep and fancy PPTs but it’s actually about all the relationships you can build with students. If the students like you, they will want to learn from you.

Do you Care?

I remember back to when I was a student, and it’s not the material I remember, but about the relationships I had with the teachers. My favorites were the ones that were kind, and funny, and gentle and who cared about me as a person. And those were the classes I cared about.

The arrogant, bad-communicators, and those with no social skills? Well, it didn’t matter how good their presentation was, or how relevant their material was…I just didn’t care and only wanted to make it through with a good grade.

Hiding Behind Technology?

So how does that relate to teaching in Korea? I have some coworkers who I see, as I’m walking by classrooms before class who have these crazy impressive PPT presentations. And I see handouts that are left in classrooms by teachers before me which are also most impressive. It makes me wonder whether they use technology and all these handouts to hide behind, as a way of avoiding real interaction and engagement. Does it really help them teach effectively? Can someone who rocks the chalk be equally effective with a lot less effort? Can these teachers engage the students in a real, interesting kind of way? Lots of questions, but not a lot of solid answers.

(Going old school, ESL teaching style? Check out: ESL Speaking Games, Activities and Resources)

It’s Complicated

Not that technology in the classroom, impressive handouts=bad teacher, and no technology in the classroom, no handouts=good teacher. It’s way more complicated than that obviously. What do you think, my readers? I’d be interested in hearing your feedback on this one.

3 Comments

  1. Maybe my comments are better suited here. Ethically speaking, the professional educator should make an effort to protect the student from conditions detrimental to learning. Could it be said that wasting time by writing out material on a chalk board is detrimental to learning since that time could be better spent on conversation?
    Furthermore with respect to ethics, as educators shouldn’t we avoid making statements about our coworkers which could be taken offensively (e.g. It makes me wonder whether they use technology and all these handouts to hide behind, as a way of avoiding real interaction and engagement.). I say this, because I am totally guilty of it myelf.

    1. admin

      Anything that makes our classes more student-centered is what the ultimate goal should be, no matter how you get there.

      I’m okay with saying slightly offensive/controversial things! This site would be really boring if I didn’t. Haha!

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