Factors that Influence Learning
4 a ii). Discuss the role that the teacher plays in influencing learning in today’s teaching environment.
When we look at the teacher’s role in influencing learning, there is need to take into account several factors. Crucially, we should recognize the role of the teacher as a facilitator of learning. As a facilitator of learning the teacher has the enormous responsibility of ensuring that everything he does goes a long way in facilitating and not hindering learning. Even before we consider the delivery of content it is imperative to look at other issues pertinent to the teacher’s role. Some of the issues may look minor or irrelevant but their impact is not to be ignored. For example
The Teachers Grooming
This refers to the teacher’s management of self in terms of dressing and general appearance. The teacher should be consciously aware of his role as a model. While the teacher may not afford designer clothes, he is required to take good care of what he wears. It should be clear to the students that the teacher takes time every morning to make himself presentable in every possible way. Any teacher whose personal presentation is shoddy does himself and the student a disservice. The teacher should dress in a manner that is compliant with the expectations of required decency. Both males and females can be indecent. We realize that what is decent or indecent is relative and therefore leave it to individual teachers to use their good discretion in order to observe acceptable modes of dress. In any case, the manner of dress and grooming tell a lot about a person. When people first see you as a teacher, they judge you by your appearance before they know whether you can teach or not.
The teacher’s competence is considered in several issues. First among them, is his ability to handle the subject matter and secondly his classroom management skills. Thirdly but not the least in importance is his communication ability. The teacher’s competence in these areas is paramount because it can determine the amount of learning that takes place. We need to be emphatic that the teacher should be well informed regarding the subject matter, conversant and comfortable with its scholarship and methods of delivery.
Classroom management is a lecture discussed in this module and therefore it cannot be covered in any depth here. However, it should suffice to say that a good teacher is a good classroom manager. He knows what to do when confronted with the specific challenges that present themselves in any classroom situation. He posses the necessary skills to adequately handle all manner of issues that arise inside the classroom. A good classroom manager is a good organizer. He is organized in his daily operations and in the classroom. Good organization helps to save time and other resources.
The Teachers Communication Ability.
Good communication is an art. It does not necessarily require the teacher to use huge bombastic words so that pupils know that he went to school. It does not require him to be a walking dictionary either. It calls upon the teacher to gauge the weight of his words depending on the recipients’ level. He should be fluent clear and simple. Of course, we do realize that each subject has its own technical jargon. The teacher should ensure that these technical words are well understood by the learners.
A good teacher is a good businessman. He has something to sell and the buyers are the learners. For this reason, he should maintain a pleasant atmosphere and not show hostility.
Some teachers behave as if the classroom is a war zone and sometimes they have good reason to do so. If the teacher knows that he is unprepared for the lesson or lacks the necessary mastery of content he may result to the use of defense mechanisms like fault finding, being excessively punitive among other negative practices. One important aspect of teacher behavior is his attitude towards the profession, the school, the pupils, or even himself. If the teacher’s general attitude is positive he will most likely maintain conditions favorable for learning.