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Denis DNT Feb 3rd, 2008 02:29 pm

Would you apologize to your students?
 
It's one the greatest obstacles i have found in the teaching profession; apologizing to students after realizing a mistake made in previous lessons.
Some experts call it intellectual honesty!
How many of us go back to our classes and say "I am sorry about what I told you yesterday, it was wrong, here is the correct thing."

mesmark Feb 3rd, 2008 04:30 pm

Re: Would you apologize to your students?
 
I do.

However, I generally refrain from telling them something I'm unsure of. I tell them I'll check and answer their question in the next class.

EngliPatrick Feb 3rd, 2008 06:18 pm

Re: Would you apologize to your students?
 
I think admitting mistakes show maturity. Nobody is perfect. The only difference between the teacher and student is the teacher already know the information being taught. However, both parties are still human, which makes them fallible.

hartinimohdsirat Feb 6th, 2008 07:51 am

Re: Would you apologize to your students?
 
I would apologize to my students if what I taught was wrong. In fact, I even apologized if I was unable to attend their class. I believed in earning respect, one should apologized if errors/mistakes occur and that's include teachers, too. In that way, students have high respect for their teachers and teachers should also respect their students too. But I agreed with mesmark that sometimes a teacher should not proceed if he/she is not sure of something.

Denis DNT Feb 6th, 2008 08:42 pm

Re: Would you apologize to your students?
 
Quote:

Quote EngliPatrick (Post 13562)
I think admitting mistakes show maturity. Nobody is perfect. The only difference between the teacher and student is the teacher already know the information being taught. However, both parties are still human, which makes them fallible.

I totally agree Patrick and I wish the students and the society in general could understand that.
Parents, students and everyone else still consider the teacher to be a kind of perfect person. A preacher of nothing else but the truth. They learn not only what we teach them but copy our ways. We are models, aren't we? :thumb::thumb:

The only other situation in life where I see the same treatment is when a surgeon is coming out of the operation room after a surgery. How many of us expect the doctor could have lost the patient? We all think he succeeded, don't we? I often pity doctors when they say "We did everything we could to....."

Apologize...great! it earns respect. Once is ok, twice, m m, thrice: confused: more than thrice you've lost CONFIDENCE - the only thing that links your students to you; and just like in hospitals they will try the next doctor.

Mersmark seems to have a better option. Yet it covers just those areas where we are in doubt whether the information is correct or not. It doesn't cover what we think is correct whereas it's wrong. And if you become that teacher who is always saying "I am not sure guys, I will check and tell you tomorrow." Your respect is gone still.
Poor me!

EngliPatrick Feb 7th, 2008 02:14 am

Re: Would you apologize to your students?
 
I'm afraid to even ask this question...

What should you do when you are teaching from an English textbook that contains many grammar points that you firmly don't agree with? What do you do? Do you apology to the students and tell them the textbook is incorrect or do you not say anything and hope for the best?

Denis DNT Feb 7th, 2008 09:04 am

Re: Would you apologize to your students?
 
That's even more interesting.
I came across a book like that.
I taught them both what the book said and what I thought was right.:mad:

kiokusou Feb 8th, 2008 01:21 am

Re: Would you apologize to your students?
 
I think you have to be prepared to explain the English, like all languages, is fluid. And far-reaching. Common usage in Australia is different to that in the States, or the UK.

Eric18 Feb 15th, 2008 12:01 pm

Re: Would you apologize to your students?
 
As previously noted and frequently overlooked, we need to recognize the limits of our knowledge and promptly apologize if we make errors.

When I first started teaching English to Russian immigrants, I would regularly have to say "let me double-check" on various grammar points. Students appreciated the honesty, but also felt that I should know the answer. They were right; I learned the material and became a better teacher. Despite a slow start, I earned their respect and they made "significant and meaningful progress."

A good lawyer avoids asking witnesses questions that she doesn't know the answers to. That same strategy in the classroom, however, limits student questions. Sometimes a student will ask us a question, inspired by but not directly linked to, the lessons and topics. Being open and honest means what it says. Sometimes, although you stand in front of the room, you will not know the answer. Just admit it, promise to find the answer to their good question, and keep your promise.

As the great philosopher Maimonides advised, "teach the tongue to say 'I don't know.' "

Siddhartha Feb 21st, 2008 01:58 pm

Re: Would you apologize to your students?
 
Where the grammatical usage in textbooks is concerned, I think it also depends on where it was written, or rather, who wrote it.

I’ve certainly come across a number of textbooks written by non-native English speakers that promote language usage which would make any native speaker cringe. Even in such cases, I try not to come out and call it “wrong” but I do make it known that it’s not an example of usage that a native speaker would generally find acceptable.

Then there are textbooks written by native speakers of an English dialect which might make use of language in ways that seem strange or wrong according to your own dialect. Here, I think the best and most responsible thing to do is point out that there is a dialectal difference there, give examples of how the same thing might be expressed in your dialect (and any others you might be familiar with) and make sure they understand that each of these different ways of expression are equally valid.

Eric18 Feb 21st, 2008 04:05 pm

Re: Would you apologize to your students?
 
That's a smart, tactful, and effective technique. It's also an a reason to acquire better textbooks with more natural, authentic uses of English as spoken by native speakers in English speaking countries!

Denis DNT Feb 24th, 2008 10:10 pm

Re: Would you apologize to your students?
 
Quote:

Quote Eric18 (Post 13820)
.....of English as spoken by native speakers in English speaking countries!


Even that Eric, think of some of the forms native speakers employ when speaking. "We was..." "He don't...." etc.
Should forms like these be accepted for the simple fact that Native English speakers are using them or be corrected to follow standard English rules?

Jenny Zhong Mar 9th, 2008 09:01 am

Re: Would you apologize to your students?
 
You all raise interesting and controversial issues. Don't be afraid to apologize when necessary. I see no reason why one should apologize for a mistake made in a text book! If you don't know the answer to something be sure to let the students know, but don't be afraid to have a discussion about possible correct answers.

~cheers~

Denis DNT Mar 9th, 2008 07:59 pm

Re: Would you apologize to your students?
 
Quote:

Quote Jenny Zhong (Post 14140)
You all raise interesting and controversial issues. Don't be afraid to apologize when necessary.

How often should we Jenny? That's the point?

Jenny Zhong Mar 10th, 2008 08:13 am

Re: Would you apologize to your students?
 
I guess when you (as a teacher) make a mistake, even if you apologize the next day, the students will respect you more. As students we trust our teachers and after all we are all human.

This is the general consensus among the Chinese students here in QD. Personally, I always respected my ESL teachers more when they admitted to making a mistake and reexplaining the topic.

:D

Denis DNT Mar 12th, 2008 08:47 pm

Re: Would you apologize to your students?
 
Great! It's nice to have a student's opinion here.

emile Mar 16th, 2008 08:56 pm

Re: Would you apologize to your students?
 
I have no problem apologising, but then again I have mature adult students who make mistakes in their own jobs. I have to admit that it would be more difficult to apologise to a group of teens. Even more difficult if some of them occasionally try to catch you out.

I've even had adults who try to catch me out from time to time. I tell them, 'If you keep trying, one day you'll catch me making a mistake. However, today is not that day!'

The worst thing is the old 'I spelled it incorrectly to see if you would catch the mistake' trick. I don't think that ever works.

Incidentally, I recently went to an elearning seminar where the guy made mistakes all over the place and some things worked and some didn't - he just incorporated it into his training style. If you're working with technology, I guess you have to expect problems and I think ESL teachers can learn from that.

sepultado Mar 18th, 2008 02:19 pm

Re: Would you apologize to your students?
 
Quote:

Quote Denis DNT (Post 14161)
How often should we Jenny? That's the point?

Well, I have apologized. But it's embarrassing, isn't it? I'm sure you agree that we desire to teach what is right. The times I have had to apologize have sent me back to the books to make as sure as possible I didn't have to do it very often!

I always tell my students, "Don't look at me as a walking dictionary. You are not one yourself for your native language." This has helped reduce potential embarrassing moments for me.

Denis DNT Mar 18th, 2008 08:52 pm

Re: Would you apologize to your students?
 
Yeah, I just got into one of those embarrassments last evening with my adult students. This time it was with the verb 'to ski.'

First I thought it had two 'i' s but was corrected. It has just one 'i' except in it's present continous form. Then I was asked the past simple form of it. I got stuck for a moment and then decided to guess it 'skied.' I wrote this on the board and told them that I wasn't sure if it was true and that I would check and comfirm the next day. A smart guy had one of those complex electronic dictionaries in class and fished out the word in all its forms. The past simple has two acceptable forms 'skied' and another strange form 'ski'd.' They all praised me on my lucky guess. A lucky hero I was last evening just as I could have turned out to be a dull teacher.
Oh, this profession of ours!!!:p

Jenny Zhong Mar 29th, 2008 01:31 am

Re: Would you apologize to your students?
 
I need some advice. One of our ESL teachers thinks he "knows it all" but he really doesn't. Some of us students are becoming bored with the class. It seems he talks too much and doesn't let us give our opinion. Should we say something to him?


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