For a student to be successful in the language-learning process, I feel that great responsibility must come from the both the student and teacher, but especially from the student. Student responsibilities include coming to class every day, doing the things required of the them by the teacher, having a good attitude, have a desire to learn, and most importantly, really trying their best to learn. This of course boils down to the intrinsic motivation of the student, which is one of the key responsibilities of the teacher to encourage and bring out of each student.
It is my belief that teachers need to find out as much as they can about their students; where their English skill levels lay, why they are taking the class, their motivation for learning the language, how they feel they learn best, and what they plan to do with the language after the course, including whether the students will continue to study the language after that particular course; what they’re goals are and what they want to accomplish in and out of the classroom, and how they will accomplish these goals. These goals need to be measurable and specific enough so that the students will have a decent chance at accomplishing them. Language teaching really depends on the situation and the many aspects that factor into that particular situation. Thus, it is the teacher’s responsibility to find out as much about that situation, every aspect they can, so that they can better know how to plan a successful and good experience for the students of the class, as well as to better elicit their students’ intrinsic motivation.
I believe that teachers have an important role in helping to motivating the students to want to learn the language, and to encourage students to keep up the battle of learning the language, if it is the student’s wish. I don’t think the teacher should coerce students to want to learn the language, but they should do their best to encourage the students and help them along the way with the trials they will face. Teachers should warn students that language learning is not without risks and that they probably will endure some tough and challenging times during the language learning process. This need not be done with a negative attitude, scaring the students away, but rather, do it in a kind, considerate, and comfortable way, letting the students know that as their teacher, you will be there to help, encourage, and strengthen them as they experience these struggles of learning the language. I feel strongly that teachers must show their students that they care and that they are excited to teach them and see them learn/progress. Of course this has to be done within reason. A teacher needs his or her own private life, but making oneself available as much as possible for the students so that they may come and get help when needful of it is an important aspect of teaching.
Concerning language teaching theories and methodologies, I believe in taking an informed, eclectic approach. Most teaching theories and methodologies have something to offer the teachers and the students; every one can be useful, depending on the circumstance one is in when teaching a course. One need not narrow his/her mind and only follow the newest methodology trend; rather, teachers should realize that past theories and methods have things to offer even in modern day teaching circumstances. Teachers need to be open to new ideas as well as old ideas, and be aware of when these new or old ideas should or could be implemented. One specific area of language teaching that I believe all teachers should recognize is the importance of teaching specific language learning strategies to students, so as to help them develop learning autonomy both inside and outside of the classroom.
Error correction and evaluation are important aspects of language teaching. The frequency of error corrections, the manner in which it is done, and when it is done must be taken into consideration. Evaluating students and correcting their errors can be discouraging, and can lead to a decrease in their motivation or even abandonment of the course. But I believe that students need some form of error correction and evaluation to help them better grasp problematic aspects of English. I don’t think all the responsibility should be put on the students to try and figure out what they are doing wrong and right. I feel that the responsibility should fall on the teacher to indicate where a student could improve, and error correction/evaluation is an area where direct feedback can be given.