Effortless English Archives

Automatic English For The People

Saturday, August 13, 2005

The Power of (Teacher) Autonomy

by AJ

This autonomy thing works for teachers too. When we are saddled with intrusive management... or our autonomy is otherwise impinged, quality tends to suffer.

As I reflect on my problem class (Friday Russian class) I realize this might be the most important issue. I am "sharing" this class with another teacher. She teaches it on Wednesdays and I teach it on Fridays. But she does all the grading and assigns all the points and determines all graded assignments. The class, therefore, correctly realize that she is the "teacher in charge" and I am not. This situation, I think, has slowly undermined my motivation and class management.

By contrast, my Monday class is totally my own... assignments, grading, exams, materials,... everything. Maybe its just my attitude.. maybe its a natural result of having autonomy and complete responsibility--- but whatever, I love this class and its fantastic.

Ive written a lot about the need to push students towards autonomy. But its just as important for teachers to have it. Through wile, strength, troublemaking, or deception... we've got to seize autonomy.

Because we all know... if we left it to the administrators and pencil-pushers... we'd be teaching grammar-translation for standardized tests. Look to the horrificly high failure rate of foreign language classes to see where that leads.