Additional Critical Impact Factors
Some of the key factors English or Foreign Language teachers face can include the following:
• Large class sizes
• Limited time
• Insufficient resources
• Mixed ability students
• Students with learning disabilities
• Behavioral problems
• Administrative demands
• Personal restrictions
In continuing, let’s consider the last four factors in turn and how they too can negatively impact an English EFL, ESL or foreign language teaching and learning class room setting.
Students with learning disabilities
On occasion, learners with have known or undiagnosed learning disabilities when they come to English class. They may be inadequately prepared or academically unprepared for the rigors and discipline they face when attempting to acquire a foreign language as young learners, teens or adults. This can strongly impact the teacher who may now be expected to compensate for deficiencies of learners while maintaining an “acceptable” pass rate of English or other foreign language acquisition skills.
While these can often be linked to external or motivational factors, behavioral problems can be highly disruptive in a foreign language class room setting. If behavioral problems result from learning disabilities, the disruption can be compounded beyond what the teacher may be able to successfully or practically cope with. Violence, inattention, excessive cross-talk with other learners, absenteeism, physically moving around the class room and other distractions are but a scarce few of the problems related to this category.
“Enough is enough!” Teachers often cry when the necessity for completing numerous forms, surveys, permission slips, highly detailed attendance records or over-zealous “fund-raising” campaigns are required of them. A teacher’s job is to teach and while certainly, some administrative procedures must be maintained, all too often administrative demands wreak havoc in the EFL teacher’s lesson plans.
Each of us on occasion needs to attend to personal matters, go for medical or dental appointments. We get sick; catch colds or the flu, sprain an ankle, break a bone or suffer from one or more f a myriad of health or social problems. We suffer from stress, have family problems or even become distraught over the ailments of a loved one or pet. Any or all of these can affect our class room performance, unwilling though we may be to allow it to do so.
These final four factors that we have considered here can also have a substantial impact on the effectiveness of the English EFL or ESL language teacher. As stated earlier, with more and more students in fewer and fewer classes and even those classes are expected to be taught with less and less resources or fewer and fewer hours. The results however, both on the part of learners and the administration, is to produce better and better English language production skills. The need then still, is for solutions to an ever-worsening series of growing problems. This will require the full cooperation of both teachers, administrators and to some extent, the learners themselves.
Good luck to us all. We'll need it.
Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. Now YOU too can live your dreams in paradise, find romance, high adventure and get paid while travelling for free. For more information on the lucrative, fascinating field of teaching English as a Foreign Language, send for his no-cost, full multi-media, hypertext-linked pdf ebook, “If You Want to Teach English Abroad, Here’s What You Need to Know”. Send an e-mail with "Free ELT EBook" in the subject line to: email@example.com