2.2 How Teachers should and shouldn’t Behave
Teachers at all levels need to know that the basis and the quality of their relationship with their pupils is all-important. Nothing can be allowed to endanger this trust. Certainly, trust and honesty are very important in learning and teaching. For instance, once a teacher is perceived by a class as mere extension of authority or as someone who is incapable of retaining confidence, his or her capacity for effective pastoral work is much reduced. (Fowowe, 2013)
Supervisor and heads as a general rule, should be more prepared to leave routine causework to teachers rather than interceding unnecessarily. Such intervention often exacerbates rather than reduces tension. It all destroys effective teaching. Great care should be taken not to break pupils’ confidences. After all, pupils have their own feelings and sense of pride (Fowodek, 2013).
Research also suggests that good teachers need to understand some of the lessons from studies into classroom interaction before they can teach successfully. These show that teaching is far more than standing up in front of a class relating facts to pupils. Teaching therefore is about understanding individuals and groups of pupils. (Anthony, 2005)
To achieve this laudable objective, Anthony (2005) recommends that teachers need to spend time finding out what makes their pupils to accept whatever they learn. Such time if well spent, will repay them fully. Failure to take interest in pupils makes them feel that their teachers do not care. Understanding this, is likely to lead to empathy and, in turn, will lead to better student-teacher relationships, better lessons and less need for over control. All this makes possible a reduction in the number of opportunities for disruptive conduct in the class.
Recent research and reviews of research (Rajendra, 2009; Bharathi, 1997) tend to suggest that pupils give two main reasons for disrupting classes – situations created by poor teaching strategies (not better treated with respect, inconsistency of rule application and poor or non-teaching) or aspects related to the structure and organization of schools (running down the corridor, not wearing school uniform or ‘talking in assembly’). Teachers’ expectations of pupils’ academic levels can also influence pupil performance either adversely or favourably. For instance, a teacher who enthuses about English language and causes the pupils to enjoy the lessons is likely to achieve better performance and conduct in the subject than another who bores the class to tears or is unable to maintain order. Teachers therefore must control their classes to avoid disruptions.
Research has equally shown that pupils dislike four particular traits in teachers or ‘types’ of teacher:
Teachers who are ‘inhuman’ and interpret their role too literarily. Such teachers are perceived by pupils as being ‘a total of rubbish’, ‘robots’, ‘faceless’ and ‘time servers’.
Teachers who treat pupils as anonymous. It is advisable that despite current teacher-pupil ratios, it is vital that pupils are treated as individuals.
Teachers who are soft and/or inconsistent.
Teachers who are ‘unfair’ and make unreasonable demands on pupils. (Mishra, 2008)
Whenever pupils feel that many of their teachers fall into one or more of these categories itemized above, it is likely that they will manifest their displeasure by rebelling and misbehaving.
Conversely, other research suggests that successful schools are characterized by having a majority of their teachers in the following categories:
Teacher who are able to keep control at all time (most important)
Teachers who are able to ‘have a laugh’ with pupils
Teachers who foster warm, empathetic relationships with pupils
Teachers who like and understand children
Teachers who teach their subjects well, with enthusiasm and interesting ways
Teachers who teach all the time rather than indulging in aimless activities
Teachers who are inconsistent and fair
Teachers who treat children with respect and as equals; and
Teachers who allow pupils a sense of freedom in class (Robert, 2000)
Akrofi (1981) in his “Diversified Learning Activities” observed that children are sent to school because their parents want them to have desirable changes in their lives. He is of the opinion that how much learning a child absorbs and profits from depends upon his own willingness to learn and the efforts he makes. Hence, true learning is self-activity. Again, even at a glance, a teacher becomes aware that the individual members of the class have certain characteristics that make them different. Every, pupils as well as every teacher, has his likes and dislikes. A teacher should therefore be aware that the desired changes he wants in every child will have much to do with the method he selects with particular reference to the child’s learning style (his understanding and feelings). If therefore, learning comes through the experience of activity of the child, then there is no one way learning and the classroom learning activities would not vary. Observation of a good classroom shows these important activities; listening, discussion, study, writing, present work, conversation, dramatization, analysis, story-telling, puzzles, self-evaluation, drawings and so on (Opinmi, 2007 & Osokoya, 2006).
All these are felt needs that give drive to purposeful activity, the variety of which makes every pupil whether dull, average or bright expect some success in the classroom. A good classroom therefore is thus the creation of both the teacher and children. The former has a teaching purpose while the latter have a learning purpose (Akrofi, 1981).
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