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  1. #1
    Senior Member run's Avatar
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    Default teaching approach

    So I've been thinking a lot about how to teach young people. And the question is this: Do you keep a positive and patient attitude, or do you push your students to help themselves?

    My INTJ music ed teacher is the most impatient person, but it seems he always has reason. It seems I can avoid his harsh criticism if I prepare as much as humanly possible. And what's wrong with that? Now, it's not good to use on purpose, but it produces a lot of good. But I think it can give kids a complex. Some of us can't think straight when he watches, and he never tells us when we do something right if its in the midst of a careless mistake. He acts like we're about to graduate tomorrow.

    But anyway, aside from this guy, what do you think? Patient, positive and nice? Or hardass?

    My main question is, is it alright for a teacher to have low patience for unrealized potential and careless mistakes, no matter how small?

  2. #2
    Filthy Apes! Kalach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by run View Post
    My main question is, is it alright for a teacher to have low patience for unrealized potential and careless mistakes, no matter how small?
    Speaking as an INTJ teacher with not so much patience for anything that takes away from the classroom objective, I'll say... no.

    Causing people to reach set targets in a timely fashion is one way to create learning. But there's a substantial difference between scheduled achievement and learning. Learning is definitely aided by the schedule, but other things work in learning's favour too. Some people need a connection with the teacher before they can fully involve themselves in following what he says. Some people need an environment. Some people really need you to spell out all the steps. Some people don't care, they just want to know the ideas.

    Probably what's best is if the teacher tries to be aware that probably all of those different people will be sitting together in the same classroom.

    He should wring his hands for a while, become old and tired before his time, and then encourage some feedback.

  3. #3
    No me digas, che! Recoleta's Avatar
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    + 1 to Kalach

    For me, as a teacher, I think the approach really depends on who you are teaching, and what you are teaching. I have taught college-aged students at a university, and I have taught 7th & 8th grade. My approaches and level of patience visibly vary between those ages.

    I am a language teacher (English as a Second Language and Spanish). I know that learning a language is really stressful and that not all students process language in the same way. When I was learning Spanish throughout college, I lived with host families abroad -- some who were incredibly patient with me and open to me butchering their language, and some who corrected every mistake I made to the point where they weren't focusing on what I was saying, but were only seeing the shortcomings of my abilities. The negative experiences crippled me, and it took me a long time to rebuild any sort of confidence. I still struggle with self-doubt in that area.

    Therefore, I always try to remain positive with my students. I joke with them and can sometimes display my dry and sarcastic humor, but I would never belittle them in their language efforts. I think the way I change my approach is that for the college students I heap a lot more personal responsibility on them. I expect to have essentially 0 behavior problems, I expect them to turn work in on time, and I expect them to be in my class ready to learn. If they miss it, too bad. You're an adult, you make your own decisions. I am not your keeper, and you will be judged by the clear standards that I set at the beginning of the semester. (You know, barring emergency situations...I understand that they are only human).

    For the middle schoolers, they need to have some fun and wiggle room, but that fun needs to be on my terms. I'm not going to be a hardass to them unless I really need to put my foot down...I've watched other teachers treat middle schoolers like inmates, and I just don't think it's effective. The kids are kept silent, but they're not learning, and they're not enjoying themselves. I loved my 7th and 8th graders, they were crazy kids, but they knew my classroom was a safe place. I would joke around a lot with them, and I realized that with middle schoolers I have 3 voices: 1) Excited voice -- when they've done a great job and for when they're just being awesome 2) Normal voice -- it's a calm voice used a lot for teaching, feedback, and general discussion 3) Pissed off voice -- My students know that when I use this tone they've really crossed a line with me and there will be a discussion and consequences. The amazing thing is that they really picked up on and responded to my tones and body language. I think as a teacher, rapport is one of your strongest allies. Students want to do well and succeed for someone they like and for something they feel is worthwhile.

    To the OP: Do you feel that you wouldn't have learned just as much if your teacher was more approachable and supportive? I challenge my students, but it's not all about schedules and perfection.

  4. #4
    Senior Member run's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Recoleta View Post
    To the OP: Do you feel that you wouldn't have learned just as much if your teacher was more approachable and supportive? I challenge my students, but it's not all about schedules and perfection.
    Yeah, and I'm wondering, what is approachability and support? What is being a pushover, and what is being a drill seargant?

    I approach him for help twice, and both times, he's just... mean. If you've ever seen Big Daddy or Gran Turino, he acted like that. I mean he can choose how he reacts....

    Think of it this way: You have to remember 20 things when you teach kids. Don't say 'you guys', tell kids when they've done something wrong. Conduct properly while listening. Don't be nervous. Don't be overwhelmed. Fail to do one of these, and you get an explanation about how dumb it is.

  5. #5
    No me digas, che! Recoleta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by run View Post
    Yeah, and I'm wondering, what is approachability and support? What is being a pushover, and what is being a drill seargant?
    These are my personal definitions:

    Approachability: The open attitude that a teacher has that allows students to come and ask questions or make comments without fear of rejection, mockery, or sarcastic/degrading remarks. It is communicating to your students that you exist as their teacher for their well-being and that you are willing to help them and want to see them succeed in their learning.

    Support: Listening and being sensitive to the needs of your students...and doing something about it. Supporting students can take many forms: explaining things again, practice, providing examples, diagrams, models, asking where you're getting lost and walking you through it, etc. It's an effort teachers take that makes the material comprehensible to the learner.

    Pushover: When the students set the tone and direction of the class...and it is a direction that does not align with the teacher's goals and objectives for the class. This happens a lot when you're too nice and accommodating, because the kids (especially) will start to see just how much they can manipulate and get away with (taking advantage of your niceness). I've been in the pushover situation before, and it's not fun, but finding a balance is something that comes with time and experience. Consistency and the ability to enforce your rules greatly helps you not become a pushover.

    Drill Seargant: A teacher who only likes to hear their own voice. These teachers do not care so much about your opinion so much as they do their own. There is no compromise, no feedback, or freedom. -- From what I've seen, the students who have this type of teacher are well-behaved but are poorly disciplined. The moment the teacher is out of the room, chaos ensues. When the teacher is in the room the only motivation for learning is the avoidance of consequences...such a shame. I believe learning should be an enjoyable process.

    Quote Originally Posted by run View Post
    I approach him for help twice, and both times, he's just... mean. If you've ever seen Big Daddy or Gran Turino, he acted like that. I mean he can choose how he reacts....
    Sounds lame I love it when hard-working students ask me questions. I mean, it's not like you missed a class and then at the next lecture asked in the middle of the lesson, "Ummm what'd I miss yesterday?" Is he really holding the class to high standards, or is he just belittling you all to make himself feel all-important?

    Quote Originally Posted by run View Post
    Think of it this way: You have to remember 20 things when you teach kids. Don't say 'you guys', tell kids when they've done something wrong. Conduct properly while listening. Don't be nervous. Don't be overwhelmed. Fail to do one of these, and you get an explanation about how dumb it is.
    Teaching kids requires a lot more than 20 things to remember Truly, there are no hard and fast rules to teaching. I mean, teachers are only human. Our personalities as well as our best and worst qualities are reflected when we teach. It'd be impossible for me to never be overwhelmed or nervous. I say "you guys" all the time, and it's not always so important to tell the kids that they've done "something wrong" as much as it is finding out why they are behaving in that manner. Sometimes the fault is my own

  6. #6
    Filthy Apes! Kalach's Avatar
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    I actually don't know what I sound like to my students. I do know however that I am a hardass, at least in the sense that inside the classroom I'm almost always "on message". The classroom task is the bridge I use to relate to the students. So there is as much focusing on the person as the content of the task allows. (But actually, since it's language class and the topic is often real life student experience, me being task-focused does give a lot of leeway to be student-focused too, but still....). I more and more recognise being sternly, even exclusively, task-focused as sub-optimal. I'm fairly strongly aware that were the students to feel an authentic, warm and enjoyable connection to me as a person, they would probably perform better and my task would be easier.

    But I'm not NF, so I'll always first and foremost be task-oriented and be a hardass about goals. That's just the way it is, and if in the student's life, I were to be their only teacher, they'd have been short-changed. There it is.

    It's old now, and there're undoubtedly much better books available, but a particular eye-opener for classroom people theory for me was, People Types & Tiger Stripes. Third Edition by GD Lawrence, ENTP.

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    Senior Member run's Avatar
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    Well the thing is, if we had prepared fully, we wouldn't have to come up to him for help. But then again, coming to him is preparing.

  8. #8
    Filthy Apes! Kalach's Avatar
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    Does it help if you know INTJs use "Chart the Course" interaction style? They'll tell you what to do and then you're supposed to do it by yourself. Or to put it another way, they don't want to be the one supplying the energy to get something done, just the direction.

    Why? Who knows. Function order or something. But one effect is, people seeking further connection to the INTJ teacher usually find themselves disappointed, even harshly rebuffed.

    An INTJ teacher could put some effort into being more human, but that being warm and caring and motivating crap is hard work, and teaching is his job, so if he's warm once, he'll have to be warm every day with everyone, and pretty soon he'll hate his job. If he doesn't already.

    Pity the poor robot.

  9. #9
    No me digas, che! Recoleta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalach View Post
    Does it help if you know INTJs use "Chart the Course" interaction style? They'll tell you what to do and then you're supposed to do it by yourself. Or to put it another way, they don't want to be the one supplying the energy to get something done, just the direction.

    Why? Who knows. Function order or something. But one effect is, people seeking further connection to the INTJ teacher usually find themselves disappointed, even harshly rebuffed.

    An INTJ teacher could put some effort into being more human, but that being warm and caring and motivating crap is hard work, and teaching is his job, so if he's warm once, he'll have to be warm every day with everyone, and pretty soon he'll hate his job. If he doesn't already.

    Pity the poor robot.
    Robots are incapable of changing of their own accord. Humans are not (and no, INTJs do not count as robots). I don't think it's a matter of extremes. Teaching is not simply choosing either 1) always be unapproachable or 2) always be full of rainbows, hugs, and smiles. Compromise does exist and you can always regulate your mood accordingly.

    Heaven forbid an INTJ teacher (or ANY teacher) work on their weaker functions and try to interact with their students on a human level. I mean, they just might be pleasantly surprised and might even learn something new themselves. Sure, it's the teacher's job to teach, and it's the student's job to learn -- but if the teacher has their own immovable approach to teaching and the students hold their immovable approach to learning (but that does not align with approach the professor), what happens then? The students are berated for "not doing it right?" Who is the one getting robbed? I mean, Gardner's theory of Multiple Intelligences and the theory of teaching modalities certainly exist for a reason. Teaching is not just a data and fact-driven field. Undeniably, there exists an affective component that impacts student learning.

  10. #10
    Filthy Apes! Kalach's Avatar
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    Oh, I agree. And I agree that working on the weaker functions is important, not just for the students' benefit, but for the maturity of the person who is the teacher.

    It's a fine line, though, between becoming a better person and walking too far away from who you really are. That way lies teacher burnout.

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