Fear of the unknown!
As I have mentioned in my previous post we should always have our learners in mind when we deliver our classes (even if we are using a coursebook). Our students’ concerns, interests, desires and needs should always be taken into account. We should avoid feeding our students with units of grammar and vocabulary without considering their own learning needs and styles. Up to here everything seems fine and possible, because we are talking about the teacher’s role… But when it comes to the learners’ role, things become a bit more complicated…
Learners should have a very active role in our classrooms. They are meant to take ownership of their learning and share responsibility for what is being taught in the lesson. Language should emerge as a result of the interaction between the learners and the teacher in the classroom. As Karenne said in the quote that appears in her blog:
“If learners are supplied with optimal conditions for language use,
and are motivated to take advantage of these opportunities, their inherent learning capacities will be activated, and language – rather than being acquired – will emerge.”
It would be ideal to create a classroom atmosphere in which students are motivated to take control of their learning and be ready to interact in the classroom so that L2 emerges naturally, without the necessity to force its appearance. However, I believe that for this to happen, students should be intrisically motivated to participate. A lot of work is expected from them. So, what happens if they are not willing to take such a huge responsibility? For example, those students who come to our classes because they have to, and not because they want to… Will they be motivated to take such an active role? Will they be able to let language “emerge”? Are all students willing to have such an active role?
I have come across some students that expect and demand their teachers to use a more traditional approach. They like their teachers to be the ones who posssess the knowledge. Maybe, it makes them feel secure and it is easier and less demanding for them. They are used to working with language as an external subject distanced from themselves and they don’t want to change. They are not used to student-centred lessons, and expect the teacher to provide them with ready-made “grammar/lexis McNuggets”. Too much student autonomy makes them feel uncomfortable and left uncared for by the teacher. How can we overcome these students’ antipathy for dogme? Should we overcome it or should we respect their preferable “way of learning”? Is it real that they prefer to learn like this or is it just fear of the unknown? I guess, we’ll never find the right answer to this.