What About The Teacher?
Did you know that the teacher's role is enhanced, not diminished, by Direct English?
by Louis Alexander
Direct English offers learners an unlimited use of the classroom for no extra charge. This is not intended to seem like an offer you can't refuse. It is just part of the deal.
The fact is that if you are making excessive use of the classroom, it means the entire system has failed. The whole point of the Direct English approach is that you take responsibility for your own learning. You are set assignments and you complete them in your own time, following the methodology set out in the Study Guideline. You have a lifeline to a Tutor when you have completed an assignment and access to a classroom, so you can practise conversation with learners like yourself.
If you attend too many classes, this means you are ignoring the self-study system and trying to turn Direct English into a conventional classroom course, which is exactly what it isn't. The classroom makes no use at all of the Direct English coursebooks. The teacher in Direct English is the course itself.
The course is based on a carefully developed syllabus and on a well-tried methodology designed to teach you how to understand, speak, read and write English. If you follow the method as it is set out, you will have a highly effective teacher. Your job is to complete each assignment to the best of your ability - in other words, to take charge of your own learning.
Does this mean that the teacher who is waiting for you to turn up from time to time in the classroom has no role whatever? Far from it! As you have done all the work required yourself, the teacher is freed from the necessity of having to present you with very basic knowledge and skills. It is tedious beyond belief for any teacher to (say) give you a total command of the use of elementary verbs like 'be', 'have' and 'do'. Direct English frees the teacher from this tedium, by making you responsible for acquiring this basic knowledge. The teacher is therefore liberated and free to be highly creative when you attend a classroom session.
Such sessions are devoted to developing your conversational skills and giving you as much opportunity as possible to practise what you have been learning on your own. This means that what teachers do in the classroom is extremely challenging. It is much harder for a teacher to encourage and sustain conversational skills with a live class than to write lists of irregular verbs on the blackboard.
Does this mean that tutors in the one-to-one sessions and teachers in the classroom can do absolutely anything they like? Not quite. Direct English supplies tutors and teachers with guidelines. These guidelines pool the experience of a great many teachers round the world and have evolved over a number years. They are full of suggestions which will inspire teachers to conduct a good tutorial or classroom lesson. Tutors and teachers can then feed back their experience into new editions of the guidelines, so everybody benefits from the very best creative work.
Teachers are highly qualified people, often with years of experience in teaching English as a foreign language. Far from ignoring or diminishing their skills, Direct English invites them to rise to the challenge of truly creative work - the sort of thing they are often prevented from doing in the conventional classroom because so much of their time is devoted to mundane matters like making sure you use the right parts of irregular verbs.
Your contribution is to master all the bread-and-butter skills on your own. In this way, you free the teachers to give you the best they are capable of. That's why most of your learning time is spent out of the classroom, preparing for what is to come, so that when you join a live class it is a real experience, not just humdrum routine.
© LG & DE Limited 2006
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