blogging gobbledygook and such

Today have settled with administration to drop the language class. It’s brought some food for thought: that a teacher’s influence can go further than one might think.

It’s silly to not think that a teacher can actually make you like or dislike a subject, but it was something that prior to this incident have never considered. Have always thought that love for a subject is brought on by one’s inclined interests.

Last semester the English class had learnt the history of England. Now, that sounds fascinating in itself to self but the lecturer we had certainly had a different way of teaching history that made it fun and exciting and at the same time we did work too. We watched three videos during this class, all related to the history of England; once we saw a movie about King Arthur (starring Richard Gere and Sean Connery), another we saw about Queen Elizabeth I (starring Cate Blanchett), and the last was an old Discovery Channel documentary about the English civilization. For assignments we get to pick a partner and a topic to research and present to the class. The topic partner and self got was Medieval Art and Architecture. Other topics included Medieval Food and Drink, The Bayeux Tapestry, The War of the Roses, Medieval Monastery Life, Medieval Gardens, Medieval Castles, Medieval Church, The Hundred Years War, Magna Carta, The Black Death, Feudalism, et cetera. We had not learn this in class, so it was very fun to learn about it as classmates did their presentation with PowerPoint slideshows and graphics. In retrospect, the topics we covered were somewhat elementary, given that it is a college class, but the way our lecturer taught it was in such a relaxed and fun manner. It was hardly a surprise that more than half the class aced the course last semester.

This semester, at the advice of Ms Nut and self’s inclined interest, signed up for the language class. However, the terrible experience in that class has left self disliking the language because of its association with the lecturer! Maybe one might think it is petty to allow someone to shape your liking and interest of a subject, but it is human nature to like or dislike something based on experience, aside from what interest he or she has to begin with. (Have decided to give the language another try the next semester if another lecturer is teaching it. But right now, anything to do with the language just makes self feel sore.)

Then again, there are who are so intrinsically motivated that nothing can stop them from acing a class, no matter how dry a subject is to them, no matter how nonsensical (huh, in Malaysia, there are plenty of useless subjects one is forced to learn!), no matter the quality of the teacher. Their admirable motivation is almost mechanical; how do they have such drive for something they have no passion for? (Or maybe what am perceiving as intrinsic motivation is truly really derived from more extrinsic inspirations?)

For this girl, a good teacher is so important in her inclination towards the subject. She is glad that aside from a few bad learning experiences, most of the lecturers are generally nice and passionate about what they teach. They may not have cultivated in self a deeper love towards a subject, but at the very least it left self with good memories and feelings of the subject.

Comments on: "Do teachers influence your liking towards a subject?" (3)

  1. The way a teacher instructs can often determine how much you learn and can influence your desire to learn a subject. I did not have a problem like that in college, but in junior high school and high school, where you have little or no choices on required subjects or teachers, I butted heads with the problem often. My most unbearable moments came from a teacher that felt that crossword puzzles was the ultimate History teaching tool. She would use them as homework and as test outlines. I never liked doing crossword puzzles (and I still hate them) and my grades suffered. I plodded my way through the class until I advanced and was thus rid of the teacher. At least in college you could choose to move in another direction. You will find life is full of those situations. It is part of becoming an adult. You often have to choose to either put up with a situation/person you are not comfortable with or gamble and move in another direction. Of course there is “risk and gain” opportunity with either choice you make. But, right or wrong, gain or loss, at least, as an adult, you get to make those choices and have a measurable control over the outcome of the choice you make.

    sulz: crossword puzzles sounds fun! haha, but each to his or her own, obviously. you’re right about risking whether staying or going, and felt like would be gaining if have left the class. no regrets so far.

    hmm, being an… adult isn’t so bad sometimes. still have a hard time thinking of self as an adult!

  2. Welcome to the adult world. The decisions rarely get any easier. The balance of loss to gain consequences only gets wider. And the older you get the faster life and the decisions you must make rush to the front of the line. Life reminds me of a large gourd. The base/beginning is fat, squat and full of experiences that seem to take forever to form. Then at some point life’s experiences start to contract and taper off to a narrower fast rushing experience leading to the end where it will eventually break loose from the life sustaining vines that feed it.

    sulz: very much looking forward to those times! ‘>_-

  3. hello,thank you for this space, but i just want to ask if you could provide me with some strategies for motivating my secondary school’s learners ,i’m a future English teacher in Tunisia and i need your help
    thank you.

    sulz: am no teacher, but as a teenager, was always attracted to a subject when the teacher has an open-minded approach to the class, who does not discourage students when they want to speak up, who do not disapprove negatively when they disagree, who does not get impatient when a student cannot understand the lesson, and who actually knows her stuff before teaching it. it also helps to like a subject tremendously when it is done out of the usual class teaching methods, like watching a movie related to the topic, or doing class presentations using powerpoint etc.

    hope this helps. 🙂

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