MAKING COMMENTS ON BARBARA’S STUDY ABOUT THE PERCEPTIONS OF A TRULY GOOD TEACHER’S CHARACTERISTICS
“Today, education must do more than teach. It must inspire individuals to make a difference” (William H. Donaldson). It is undeniable that the short but meaningful saying tells us what makes a good teacher and that a good teacher both gives students knowledge and inspires them to be interested in their learning. To be a really perfect teacher, besides pedagogical content knowledge and skills , we also need to ameliorate our attitudes and behaviors towards students, which was mainly mentioned as an ultimatum that Barbara Mullock (the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia) wanted to share with us in her article - "what makes a good teacher? " - the perceptions of postgraduate Tesol students. To be 100% frank, I am not really knowledgeable enough to appraise a foreign research; however, I definitely love to learn and try to apply what I could absorb from the course and my own teaching experience to express my evaluation toward the article. Hopefully, I will be given the ocean of useful comments in order to perfect my abilities of doing a reliable research as well as of improving my reading skills. I now find it vital to deal with the abstract of the writing with hope that it will be more understandable. Above all, I will briefly summarize the content of the article. Then, some strong points and maybe not really strong ones will also be referred to as my questions or wonders to the research. Importantly, in the next part of the writing, I will give my own suggestions of doing another research related to the topic just in my point of view. Last but not least, I will share with you what I learnt from the article and how it is so important to my teaching career. Being motivated by the belief that if what teachers do well and how they do these things are thoroughly understood, we would be able to “conduct initial professional education of teachers”, Barbara Mullock had an article on what makes a good teacher, the perceptions of postgraduate Tesol students. The participants of the study were 42 postgraduate students of applied linguistics and Tesol at three universities in Sydney including both experienced and novice teachers. In her literature review, she gave a general and critical look about theoretical background of general education, the identifications of expert teachers, some features of an expert teacher in general education and also some findings from Tesol language teaching. Some researchers mainly mentioned were Shulman (1987) in "Knowledge and teaching", Berliner (1987) in "Ways of thinking about students and classroom by more and less experienced teachers", Harmer (1998) in "How to teach English", and Cortazzi and Jin (1996) in "Cultures of learning language classroom in China", etc. The methodology or procedure in the study was to use interviews and questionnaires with a similar question format. It was divided into 2 groups, one group with 25 students using interview and transcription and the other group with 17 students using questionnaires. The results from the interviews and questionnaires were combined and then analyzed in the manner outlined in Lincoln and Guba (1985: 347 -8). Very interestingly, in her findings, she compared her study results with those of Cortazzi and Jin (1996) with greatly remarkable differences. Particularly, in Cortazzi and Jin’s study, the most frequently mentioned category was knowledge of the subject matter (67%) while that category was second to knows and understands students needs, strengths and weaknesses in her recent study. Besides, the table about most frequently mentioned characteristics of a good Tesol teacher was also mentioned with 21 characteristics, which tells us most of the qualifications of a good teacher. In the discussion part, she wrote about some useful comments. She, for example, distinguished 2 types of good teachers, “expert”...
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