To Be a Professional Teacher as the Key of Success in English Language Teaching
( By : Zurniati, M.Pd. Guru SMP N.2 Kec.Guguak)
In the teaching and learning context, the professional of English teacher can influence the effectiveness of teaching as well as the students’ success. Mostly, English teacher do not care about this, because perhaps, they do not realize that their teaching plays an important role in their class activities. They think that their only job is to transfer their knowledge to the students. That’s all. So, this teacher-oriented classroom activity leads to monotonous class, which makes students bored and unmotivated.
This article aims to provide some information about characteristics of professional teacher. Based on the personal experiences of the writer, and from some sources, this article mainly consists of three sections. Firstly, it presents the ideas of language teaching that has been stated by some educational experts. Secondly, it provides information characteristics of professional teacher, which should be carried out by teachers. And finally, this article ends with conclusion.
Traditionally, teaching is regarded as a conscious attempt of transferring knowledge from teachers to learners. Teacher thinks that teaching is their authority, in the sense that they are the only responsible persons who have to make decisions on what and how their students should learn. What the students do is based on the teacher instructions and wants. The students just follow the instructions with obedience. In short, teaching is considered more important than learning.
In contract, teaching in modern understanding has changed. Learning is understood as more important than teaching.
The characteristics of Professional teacher
Professional teacher has many problems, it grows, and has relevant with another problem (Anwar, 2004). The problem can come from the students, environment, the headmaster, and teacher it self. It can influence the result of education.
The student success in the classroom is more on the hands of the students themselves rather than the teacher. It does not mean that existence of the teacher in the classroom worth nothing. His teaching repertoires, such as selecting materials, designing the lesson planning, applying the easy-to do teaching techniques are also very useful for and needed by the students in their learning process. The student success is really influenced by the teacher’ attitude in the way he performs in the classroom. So the professional English teacher should possess some characteristics of a professional teaching, i.e. mastery, create, patient, humorous, challenging
A professional English teacher should master the relevant academic knowledge thoroughly. First, he should have a strong will to read and understand the English curriculum (Sudjana, 2000). He should know that the ultimate goal of teaching as stated in curriculum is to develop the students’ communicative competence, i.e. grammatical competence, socio-linguistic competence, discourse competence and strategic competence.
Each competence has its own teaching objective as follow: (Delce in Depdiknas, 2005)
- Discourse Competence- to enable the students to combine language structure into different types of cohesive texts (E.g. speech, poetry, etc) and to help the students develop their ability to interpret the massages not only the sentence level but also the functional level
- Factional competence- to enable to use language in oral and written. This can be used for requesting, invitation etc. The students can do the instruction that has given by the teacher.
- Socio-Culture- to enable the students to know the culture of target language. The students can choose the suitable express depend on the situation
- Linguistic competence- to enable student develop their understanding and ability to use the target language in social context. It means that the target language is naturally used as a means of communication and to help students adapt themselves to the culture of the target language.
- Strategic competence- to help students develop their ability of how to maintain communication process which enhances the efficiency of the communication as well as to enable them to overcome difficulties when communication breakdown occur
Secondly, a teacher should master the materials to be discussed with the class. He should also provide enough information to clarify the materials, so that the students can catch the idea clearly, even for the every complicated ones. The four skills (reading, listening, speaking and writing), and the language component (vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation and spelling) as well as the language functions should be developed and presented to students in the classroom process. It is necessary for he teacher to select the materials listed in the curriculum according to on what the students really need.
Thirdly, a teacher should be well – prepared. In order to run the class, the teacher should make some preparation before coming into the classroom. The preparation includes selecting the materials, designing a lesson plan, and also preparing a set of instrument for testing or evaluation to measure how far the materials that have been presented and to know the effectiveness of teaching program, or technique.
Four, a teacher should be able to handle the class well. The teacher is suggested to state the objectives of teaching before the lesson, and write them on the whiteboard. Clarify of purposes can motivate the students and create trust in teachers. Teachers should always connect the lesson with the previous ones. He should begin the class with warm attitude by creating joy and a good atmosphere of learning.
During the classroom activities, the role of professional teacher of the is considered to be very essential and, influential towards the smoothness of the teaching process. Anwar (2004) Stated the role of professional the teacher in the class is as follows:
There are many things that the teacher can do to motivate the students during the process of teaching, such as, giving praise to the successful students, never discouraging the weak students, creating a good and enjoyable learning atmosphere. It can do by songs, games, etc. Never show a displeasure face to the students, or many other activities that can increase the students’ interest and motivation.
The teacher is responsible for his classroom management. Activities to be carried out should be well planned, individual work. As a professional teacher, he should never leave the class during the lesson. It shows the students that the teacher is not interested in helping them. Therefore, it is wasting while they are busy trying to solve their language problem.
During the discussion, the teacher should monitor the students. It is a very essential activity, because by monitor, the teacher will be able to know whether the students understand the task to be done or not, and who needs help. Eye- contact is important. It makes the students feel that the teacher is interested in them. The teacher should walk around the class so that he can see more of the students. He will able to motivate passive students to be more active so he can reduce problems on discipline.
Identify the students who need help during the discussion is also the teachers’ job. He has to give the students time to read and discuss the task in their groups. While going around and monitoring the groups or pairs, the teacher should help them facilitate relevant solutions. It means that the teacher should show his care about them.
Evaluation is an inseparable part of teaching. Teaching and evaluation are always interrelated and considered as the main issues in English Language teaching. It is a professional teacher’s duty to test or evaluate his students before, whilst, and after the process of teaching. Evaluation or testing should given to the students in order to know what the students really need, to provide feedback about the effectiveness of teaching, and to measure the students’ achievement and progress in teaching program. At the end of particular period, the function of evaluation is to show the result of the whole teaching program to determine the degree of its success.
A professional teacher should be able to treat the students equally. It is very important for the teacher regardless the students’ status in sex, race, financial, or economical background, intelligence or any another status of them. Usually students with low intelligence and weak financial background are not openhearted in learning. So, the teacher has to encourage and motivate them to learn better during the classroom activities.
The professional teacher should be creative. It means that he should have collection of teaching techniques which can make the teaching and learning process more interesting, fun, effective, and more enjoyable. Teaching is not just book-oriented. It is not only the case of opening a book page by page, doing exercise, and explaining, but also using some other techniques, such as media, songs, games, role playing, or other communication activities that can create more positive learning environment. Such a teaching is then expected to be able to develop the students’ interest and motivation.
A teacher is patient at explaining thing. Being comfortable with explanation context to students is an essential skill for teachers (ESLIN, 2006).
A teacher is supposed to be patient during the classroom process, especially in correcting the students’ mistakes. They should never show the displeasure face if the students’ answers are incorrect. A good teacher will lead his face be animated by showing positive reactions when students give correct answers, and use a question face when the answers are wrong.
Being bad tempered during the lessons would only discourage the students and make the classroom process boring. The students have no more motivation to learn. It is not wise for a teacher to show his anger to the students when they make mistakes. As everyone knows that students’ making mistakes is an unavoidable part of learning.
A teacher should be able to add humours to his classroom activities. The humours inserted during the process of teaching could reduce the students’ nervousness and tense. It is an effort for the teacher to make a good rapport with the students. The class will be relaxed and learn better when they are not under pressure.
Laughs at the end of hard work will enhance the students’ memory and the lesson stay longer in the memory. Teachers should not be afraid to lessen seriousness in classroom activities by humours, as long as the humours are still contextual and relevant with the lessons. In such situation, the students feel free and are not afraid of making mistakes to express themselves. The class will be free from frightening situation
An English teacher should challenge his students. One of the ways to challenge them is that teachers should speak English with their students in or out of the classroom. By so doing, teacher provides examples and exposures of language use. Thus, students are expected to acquire the language. This build the students confidence and challenge them to speak English. If the teacher does not want to star to speak, the students will keep silent forever. However, the teacher should maintain the level of difficulty, not so high or so low, so that language is good enough to challenge the students, not to discourage them.
The task from the teacher should challenge the students to express their ideas, feelings, or opinions using their own word, of course in English. By so doing, the objective of the teaching program, i.e. to enable students develop their understanding and ability to use the target language as a means of oral and written
Communication, could be achieved, teaching stated in the English curriculum 1994
To conclude, it could be stated that the students’ success and the effectiveness of teaching are so much influenced by characteristics of the teacher’ performance in conducting the class. A professional teacher should possess such characteristics in his performance, and high language mastery as well. He has to try to apply those characteristics as well as possible in his lessons for benefits of the students. It is not difficult to do that. Try and try
Sudjana, 2000. Dasar-Dasar Proses Belajar Mengajar. Bandung : Sinar Baru Algensindo.
Anwar, 2004. Profesi Jabatan Kependidikan dan Guru sebagai Upaya Menjamin Kualitas Pembelajaran. Jakarta : Uhamka Press
Departemen Pendidikan Nasioanal, 2005. Materi Pelatihan Terintegrasi Bahasa Inggris. Jakarta : Depdiknas
Eslin, 2006. Qualities of Good ESL teachers, Questions to ask yourself if interested in ESL Teach. The Internet Educational consulting services: http:/www.eslincanada.com/good.html . Accessed on Sunday, Oktober 2006: 11.00.
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