I think my responsibility as teacher includes but is not limited to creating an environment where essential questions are asked, discussion for meaning making are conducted, constructive feedback are received and applied, and students are not afraid to make mistakes. As an EFL learner myself, I still have issues with my language production. I want my students to not feel discouraged too if they haven’t mastered certain language features. Instead, we should use it as opportunity to better learn the target language. For instance, I was not sure how assume is pronounced. I asked my whole class to look for the IPA in the dictionary and we discover and/or confirmed how it should be pronounced and let them know it's okay if we are unsure and making mistakes as long as we find a way to improve in our language production.
Students come from various experiences and situations that shape them into who they are as a language learner (Norton, 1995). Understanding their identities will leads to many trajectories in rapport building: I would know how to bring humour in the classroom, the classroom will be their safe space, they feel heard and understood. This will bring the human side of the teaching as well, to be able to treat them as a an individual than a mere of empty cup who waits for knowledge to be poured.
Creating a safe space for learning also contingent upon on how I would impose critical pedagogy in the classroom that will embrace their identity and agency in the classroom. For instance, one of my former students in K2 hated school and was always being disruptive. Everytime he came to our after tutoring center he will run around the classroom, teared almost all the class poster posted on the wall and kicked the trash bin in the classroom. One day I invited him to talk and tried to ask his intention using Responsible Thinking Process approach. I asked him what does he trying to do when he disrupted me when I speak in the class, why he kicked the trash can, and all of the things he did in the classroom. He told me—and I still got teary remembering this— that he just wanted to make everyone happy by being funny. Understanding where he came from, I expressed how I felt when he kicked the trash can, or teared down the class poster, or when he disrupt the class when I explain something in the class. I offer him an alternative activity if he wants to be funny, by having a routine that is called “Jokes of the day”. I explained that we can share “The Joke of the Day” before our class start. He was so excited and later asked will everyone gets turn to share because he wants to hear from his peers. We agreed that it will be our class routine and I express it in the class. He later trusted me and as he felt heard and understood, and he understand my perspective as a teacher and behave accordingly through our classroom agreement.
I used to teach in—what I would say—a both end of a spectrum geographical location. One is in rural area where I must ride old single train that would possibly going down to the hill if it’s rainy, where the only available teaching materials existing is just whatever we have around us: soil, trees, stones, river, no internet no electricity. Another one is teaching high-income, expatriate students in Indonesia and international school whose learning expect us to be tech savvy: smart touch screen whiteboard, teaching English by coding on scratch Jr. This experience widen my perspective as teacher to always adapt. During my fieldwork teaching, I was exposed to adults students that have different learning access and platforms and physical state such low vision and low literacy.
My teaching was quite ableist without taking into consideration how will my learners receive it, whether it is accessible for them. Coming across Universal Design for Learning (CAST, 2011) and Web Content Accessibility Guide (W3C, 2018), I learn how to incorporate multimodalities and how to be more inclusive in my teaching. For instance, I incorporate consistent font using Comic Sans and using mobile-first designed when designing my lesson materials in virtual class. Making sure to provide differentiated instruction for students who prefer to participate to writing, typing, and even voice recording. I also use students L1 and their existing background knowledge to building the schema before introducing new vocabularies or terms, thus, it relevant for them. For instance, in a class where we talk about health, I show them picture and ask them what does it called in their L1, and then introduce them how does it called in English. One of my student also asked what does it called in my L1, Indonesian, and I shared it with them. I hope my students will also able to use multi modalities in their ways to learn languages beyond the classroom and utilize the resources around them to succeed later in life as the second language users.
Future 4 English for Work, Life, and Academic Success. Curtis et al. 2019. Future 4: English for Work Life, and Academic Success. Pearson Education.