What teaching is really like

IATEFL colleague Marjorie Rosenberg pointed me in the direction of this post about what we should say when outsiders demonstrate through their insensitive, often ignorant comments that they really don’t have a clue as to what teaching is about:

Weber’s 12-point defense of our jobs has reminded me of an article I came across 10 years ago entitled Good Medical Practice. It had been published originally in 2001 by the General Medical Council, and acted as a guide to doctors with respect to their relationship with their patients.

Reading the article made me see teaching in a new light. Apart from causing me to re-evaluate language teaching positively because of how much it parallels such a highly respected profession as medicine, it also allowed me to rough out a guide to good practice for ELT.

This first appeared in IATEFL Issues 181, and later re-appeared as one of a selection of samples of what members could find in the IATEFL newsletter, now IATEFL Voices. If you’re interested in reading my re-writing of Good Medical Practice. You can read it here.

As a professional development exercise, if you demonstrate the parallels between doctor-patient and teacher-learner relationships, you can then get your teachers to work in small groups and re-interpret the remaining points. In a final feedback phase they can share their re-interpretations with the rest of their colleagues.