Monday, December 22, 2008

The 7 Habits of Highly Ineffective Teflers [part 2]

Yes, the second of the seven habits of highly ineffective Teflers is “Begin with the End in Mind”. Nothing could be closer to the truth in true Tefl-land, of course, as every single EFL teacher who walks into a classroom has only the idea of walking out of it again in 90 minutes’ time uppermost in his or her mind.

This might not be exactly what Covey, the author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” was waffling on about, but we’re all into adapting resources to our own particular needs, are we not? In fact, Covey had some awful crap such as ‘personal mission statements’ and ‘setting long-term goals’ in mind, but these are so anathema to the average Tefler that they don’t even warrant a moment’s attention – do they!

So, it’s back to the classroom focus, and how we can apply “Begin with the End in Mind”. In my opinion, there are two ‘ends’ that need to be clearly addressed here. Let’s call them Objective A and Objective B, shall we? The first is, as already stated, the end of the lesson; and the other one is that floppy thing between a chap’s legs, often referred to obliquely in the phrase “getting one’s end away”.

However, even if you’re a female Tefler, you can still partake of the charade that is implied in Objective B, namely picking out the horniest students and luring them to your bed for a touch of Total Physical Response (NB: for Celta-belters, this is a teaching technique that was not mentioned in your course). After all, Tefl methodology is no discriminator of gender, especially concerning the extra-curricular type of approach (also known as ‘very personal tutoring’), so please read on, Brenda.

Right, let’s get back to basics, shall we? Having the end of the lesson in mind (Objective A) means that you can dispense with all that rubbish you ever learned about process teaching. No, the product is king here, and the product is achieved when you mumble something about the break coming up, and can somebody lend you a ciggie, please? If nobody rushes forward to squeeze a Marlboro between your frothing lips, you are a crap teacher – simple as that.

That means making them laugh in class, playing loads of games, and ensuring that everybody shouts at each other heartily and nobody really learns much at all. Talk to them about ‘generating classroom energy’ and ‘increasing their self-esteem’; tell them that ‘practise makes perfect’, as you launch into the 93rd role-play on buying a round of Kilkennies or ordering food at a restaurant; and remind them that all EFL teachers enjoy lots of beer and curry at the weekend.

All that nonsense should easily take you through to the end of the lesson, when you can put into practice (or ‘strategise’, as Americans like to say) the techniques necessary for the second goal, Objective B, to materialise. Networking with students in the break is, after all, an essential part of the modern EFL curriculum, as they are usually much richer than you, and you can sponge off them (see paragraph above). They’ll only be here for a few weeks anyway, and they’ll soon forget about that 20 quid you borrowed.

Most importantly, though, you can invite the attractive ones for a bit of extra-mural socializing at your local rub-a-dub-dub, and expose them to the seamy side of the UK drinking scene. Your students will likely be so astounded at the crude nature, the callous anti-intellectualism, and the repulsive countenances of your friends, that they’ll be tempted to consider you an enlightened guru and a sex-god at the same time.

By now you should be just one step away from achieving Objective B (see picture alongside). However, if you still need help from me, send me an e-mail with a bank order for 25 quid attached, and I’ll help you out.


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