Language and Facilitative Approach to Teaching
By Norberto M. Natano*
Language is an indispensable tool in communication. It is also one of the significant tools being used by the teachers to practice their profession. Without it, it is impossible for learners to acquire knowledge easily.
Through the use of language teachers will be able to perform their roles, among these are: (1) in maintaining the interest and the attention of the students; (2) in giving directions and instructions to the students; (3) in encouraging the students; (and (5) in reminding the students.
However, the ‘proper’ use of language greatly affects the students. In the study of Flanders (1960), he said that the personality of the teacher has an effect to students’ advancement and development of their attitude. According to him students usually followed the teachers who are indirectly giving command or giving command with the use of the expression ‘please’ in right manner. For example: can you please give me chalk. It is unlike with teachers who are directly giving command. Teachers like this showed that they are more authoritative than his/her students.
Similarly, Ato (1976) investigated on how a teacher communicated with the students and its effect to the students. In his study he found out that the students increase their self-esteem and they get higher grade if a teacher used a motivating and inspiring words.
Knowledge on Language
The use of language requires various skills. Teachers should not only have knowledge on how to form a sentence, they should also know how to combine sentences for effective communication to different people in different situation. They should also know how to use proper action and body expression in choosing teaching strategy which will not be appeared awkward in front of the class. Remember, communication is not all about language, teachers’ actions can be misinterpreted by the students. Certain action of the teachers may be converted into language that is base on how the students interpreted a certain action. Also, there are some instances where actions may seem inappropriate to the language or language being inappropriate for the action. Teachers should bear in mind that both aspects should not come in contrast for it may mislead the students’ progress.
Roles of Teachers in using Language and Ways to Achieve This
1. MOTIVATING THE STUDENTS
Motivation is a cardinal principle of learning (Acero, et.al, 2000). Being cardinal means it plays a vital role in honing the students. From the words of Acero, et.al.: A learner will learn only those things he wants to learn. If student is not interested in what he is learning, he will simply ‘go through motions,’ or worse, he will not engage himself in the learning act at all.
Teachers are good motivator. They start the lesson about something that may call the attention of the students. How language can be associated to teaching? Teachers may simply use the art of conversation. They should infer that communication is essential skills in facilitative approach to teaching. For example, while speaking in front of the class, they should maintain the connections to the students-- the undying rule in communication—don’t just communicate but connect and connect. Connection may also be achieved by the teachers if they have mastery of the lesson. They may lessen looking at their books and give more focus on talking to the students. Once the students saw the effort of the teacher that they are being engaged in the conversation, this will motivate them to listen. Through systematic questioning a teacher can also caught the interest of the students.
Another technique is-- teachers may use pictures, real object, or any situation to open the discussion. For example, through using graphics and motive questions, and proper use of language, the teacher will begin the class about the story of a mythical bird:
Possible motive questions...
If a teacher will use a picture…
However, if the teacher may sounds like this: Do you want me to tell you a story? So, let’s read and study the story about...Our lesson for today is about...Do you think the students will be interested to listen to the story of the lesson? Effective technique and proper approach to proper use of language really matters in motivating the students.
2. MAINTAINING THE INTEREST AND GETTING THE ATTENTION OF THE STUDENTS
Base on the author’s observation the following are techniques in maintaining the interest and getting the attention of the students:
3. GIVING IMPORTANCE TO THE ANSWERS OF THE STUDENTS
One of the things that may increase the enthusiasm of the students is to have feedback from the teacher. Not most of the time, students should get negative feedback from their teacher.
The following are some suggestions in giving feedback to the students:
4. GIVING INSTRUCTIONS AND DIRECTIONS
Giving instructions and directions are the tasks that teachers usually did. Teachers should put in mind that students can follow to their instructions. The directions and instructions are usually expressed through giving command.
Here are some suggestions on the proper language to be used:
5. EXPRESSING ANGER/SERMON
Teachers are also human being. They also expressed strong emotions sometimes to their students, who are really noisy and unorganized in the class. There is nothing wrong in expressing anger and it is a case to case basis. But using the appropriate language should be put in mind. Avoid using words that are not offending on part of the students. Also avoid using harsh words to students.
End Quote (A Conclusion Perhaps)
Let me end this piece with a quote:
“Teachers, like flowers, everywhere abound
Effective teachers, like fruits, are rarely found”
Effective teachers may be rare, but being one is an aspiration of every mentor. Acquiring such may be difficult, but putting in heart and mind that doing things passionately and intelligently may encompass one’s doubt of being such. (*the author is a Communication, Literature and English instructor from University of Rizal System, Philippines)
Acero, PhD., V.O, Javier, M.A, E.S., Castro, M.A, H.O: 2000. Principles and strategies of teaching.Sampaloc, Manila.
Excitingly English: An English training method for ‘Enhancement and Expansion of Capability in Information Technology and English’ (EXITE). URS Publication.