MAXIMISING ENGLISH TEACHERS’ COMPETENCES AND ROLES THROUGH SELF-CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT
English Education Study Program
Faculty of Education and Teacher Training
It has been believed for years that English teachers’ quality plays an important role in implementation of positive changes in our school teaching and learning activities. For that reason, no wonder if efforts focused to improve the teachers’ quality are developed in various types of program conducted by our government through the ministry of national education. The certification issue for instance, is one of many efforts aimed at improving education quality throughout the improvement of teachers’ qualification which covers teachers’ professionalism, personality, pedagogy, etc.
Referring to the issue of teacher qualification above, one important aspect a teacher of English needs to develop is the self-concept (SC). Teachers’ self-concept here refers to their positive attitudes toward their profession as an English teacher who has multifaceted roles as an educator, counselor, manager an even a parent for students in order to achieve the main goal both instructional and managerial one. A research study conducted by Ngan and Young (2005) shows that teacher self-concept has a significant impact for the students’ academic and personal development. Positive values, attitude, emotion and personality are positively correlated with the students’ motivation in learning, in this case learning EFL. This indicates that self-concept of teacher is one crucial factor related to a high teacher efficacy. Further they say that if teachers have strong self-concept, they are psychologically safe and benefited their interaction with their students in the classroom.
This writing is focused on the discussion of teachers ‘self-concept development as a multidimensional constructs like social, personal and pedagogical self and its implication to the process of improving a teaching and learning quality in the classroom. This writing also tries to show positive correlation between teachers’ self-concept and students’ educational outcomes in terms of attitude and motivation to learn.
Keywords: teachers’ self-concept, teachers’ qualification and personal development
Teacher: Competences and Roles
In the context of teaching and learning English as a Foreign Language (EFL) in
Referring to the roles of teachers, it is known that teachers have multifaceted roles both in and outside the classroom that change from one activity to another, or from one stage of an activity to another. If teachers are fluent at making these changes their effectiveness as teachers is greatly developed (Harmer, 1983). Further, Harmer lists about eight roles of teachers which are controller, organizer, assessor, prompter, participant, resource, tutor and observer. Those roles need to be developed in order to support a good learning atmosphere within the classroom. In addition, to make it clearer, the additional roles of teachers can be seen in figure one below.
Figure 1: The Roles of Teachers
In order to be able to maximize those roles mentioned above, it should be noted that teachers’ competence should be enhanced in order that they can have a high self confidence as teachers. Teachers’ competences here refer to two basic competences English (the what) and teaching competence (the how). Thus, a maximum achievement of teachers in fulfilling their roles is much influenced by their competence on those two. To be specific about competences teachers need to have as well as some supporting indicators, the writers put forward several key points as mentioned below.
- The teacher accurately demonstrates knowledge of the content area and approved curriculum.
- Utilizes and enhances approved curriculum.
- Gives clear explanations relating to lesson content and procedure.
- Communicates accurately in the content area.
- Shows interrelatedness of one content area to another.
- Teacher appropriately utilizes a variety of teaching methods and resources for each area taught
- Provides opportunities for students to work independently, in small groups and in large groups, as appropriate.
- Uses a variety of methods such as demonstrations, lectures, student- initiated work, group work, questioning, independent practice, etc as appropriate.
- Uses a variety of resources such as field trips, supplemental printed materials, manipulatives, etc. as appropriate.
- Provides opportunities for students to apply, practice, and demonstrate knowledge and skill learned through various modalities
- The teacher communicates with and obtains feedback from students in a manner that enhances student learning and understanding.
- Explains and/or demonstrates the relevance of topics and activities.
- Communicates to students the instructional intent, directions or plan at the appropriate time.
- Establishes and states expectations for student performance
- Clarifies actions, directions, and explanations when students do not understand.
- Actively solicits communication from students about their learning Communicates regularly with students about their progress.
- The teacher comprehends the principles of student growth, development and learning, and applies them appropriately.
- Uses and instructs students in the use of cognitive thinking skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, divergent thinking, inquiry, decision-making, etc.
- Uses teaching techniques which address student learning levels, rates, and styles Uses materials and media which address student learning levels, rates, and styles.
- Uses resources such as community service agencies, school personnel, parents, etc., to meet students' learning levels, rates and styles
- The teacher effectively utilizes student assessment techniques and procedures.
- Uses a variety of assessment tools and strategies, as appropriate.
- Uses information gained from ongoing assessment for remediation and instructional planning.
- Maintains documentation of student progress
- Communicates student progress with students and families in a timely manner
- The teacher manages the educational setting in a manner that promotes positive student behavior and a safe and healthy environment.
- Serves as a model for constructive behavior patterns.
- Executes routine tasks effectively and efficiently.
- Establishes and states expectations for student behavior
- Handles transitions effectively
- Has materials and media ready to use
- Minimizes distractions and interruptions
- Manages student behavior effectively and appropriately
- Identifies hazards, assesses risks and takes appropriate action
- The teacher recognizes student diversity and creates an atmosphere conducive to the promotion of positive student involvement and self-concept
- Demonstrates sensitivity and responsiveness to the persona] ideas, needs, interests and feelings of students
- Acknowledges student performance and achievement Acknowledges that every student can learn
- Provides opportunities for each student to succeed
- Provides students with opportunities for active involvement and creativity
- Provides opportunities for students to be responsible for their own behavior and learning
- Promotes positive student/teacher relationships
- Encourages high student expectations
- Demonstrates an awareness and respect for each student's background, experience, and culture
- The teacher demonstrates a willingness to examine and implement change, a appropriate
- Seeks out information on methodology, research, and current trends in education to enhance an improve the quality of learning
- Implements a variety of strategies to enhance learning
- Recognizes that change entails risks and modifications may be needed
- The teacher works productively with colleagues, parents and community members
- Collaborates with colleagues
- Communicates with parents on a regular basis
- Uses conflict resolving strategies when necessary
- Involves parents and community in their learning environment
- Communicates in a professional manner with colleagues, parents and community members regarding educational matters
(Adapted from: http://www.socorro.k12.nm.us/mentoring/competencies.htm)
The exploration about teachers’ competences and roles above suggest that teachers are to have appropriate qualification in supporting their profession. It is therefore important for them to keep their mind “work” for them. However, whatever discussions about teachers today, in my opinion, one main point is teachers are aware of their profession and feel confident with the profession as a teacher. Building the internal side (positive belief) of those teachers like positive self concept will be much contributive in the attainment of the targeted objectives. Teachers’ performance “on stage”, as we know, is much influenced by their own self-concept as teachers. In other words, what they have in their mind about their profession as a teacher will affect their behaviour in the classroom, the choice of leadership style within the classroom and the way of socialization with their students. In his research report about teacher self concept, Ming et al (2000) reports that teachers with positive self concept will contribute positively toward students’ motivation in learning, class tend to be more democratic and comfortable for students to learn.
Bridging this condition, self-concept development for teachers seems to be very strategic effort teachers need to do. Doing this means that we do a reflective activity in order to enhance their quality as teachers which is ,again, expected to help them maximize their roles both in and outside the classroom.
Defining Teacher Self-Concept
Many definitions about self-concept are proposed by many experts of education. Felker in Ming (2000) defines self-concept as the summation of the views which an individual has of himself/herself; and is a single set of perception, ideas, attitude which an individual has about him/herself. This definition is in line with Nevid (2000) who says that self-concept is one’s impression or concept of him/herself. It includes his/her own listing of personal traits that he/she deems important and his/her evaluation of how he/she rates according to these traits. Bowes (2000) added that the perceptions of self are results of the interactions with one’s significant others, self attributions and overall experiential aspects of the social environment. The three definitions above suggest that positive self concept is something which is internally built and is much influenced by the experience and belief one has.
In a more specific sense about teacher self concept, Ming at al (2000) states that teacher self concept is of a multidimensional construct which comprises Personal Self, Pedagogical self, Administrative Self and Social Self. The personal self refers to teachers’ feeling of adequacy, the second refers to teachers’ perception as an effective teacher, the administrative deals with teachers’ administrative work and the last refers to the sense of good relationship with others. The following table covers the elaboration of each construct.
Table 1: A Multidimensional Construct of Teacher Self-Concept (Ming at al, 2000)
It reflects the individual’s feeling of adequacy and satisfaction of being a teacher. Some of them are as follows:
a) The general personal qualities of a teacher
b) The physical appearance of being a teacher
c) The sense of morality as a teacher
It reflects the teacher’s own perception as an effective teacher at both satisfaction and competence levels. Some of the areas of perception are as follows:
a) Teaching methodology
b) Educational mission
c) Professional development
d) Areas other than classroom teaching related to pupils’ wholesome development
It reflects the teachers’ sense of adequacy and satisfaction in managing general school administrative work related to pupils, staff and parents
This reflects the teachers’ feeling about the relationships with their students, colleagues and parents at the satisfaction and competence level
As we know, teaching is a sharing activity between someone and other people. In this sense, teaching is a sharing between teachers and their students. Thus, it is vital to have teachers with positive self-concept in order to create supportive helping relationship needed for enhancing achievements in students particularly in reluctant learners (Thomson and Handley, 1990:20 as cited by Ming at al, 1995). Further they also say that high self esteem of a teacher is related to good interpersonal relationship within the classroom.
Teacher’ self concept is also associated with teacher burnout. Teachers with positive self concept are happier, more productive and more reflective in discharging their duties as teachers (Crouse and Kevin, 1981). The following is a humanistic perspective of self concept formation.
Figure 2: Humanistic Perspective of Self Concept Formation (Abstracted from Crouse, et.al. 1981:10)
Teacher Self-Concept and Educational Outcomes
Ming at al (2000) says that there is a highly significant relationship between teachers’ self concept and students’ own perception of themselves in the classroom. Apart from this Schuer in Ming (2000) found a significant gain in academic achievement level in students who saw their teachers as possessing a high degree of unconditional regard for them.
Teacher self-concept is also associated with teachers’ burnout. Teachers with positive self concept are happier, more productive and more effective in discharging their duties as teachers (Crouse and Kevin in Ming, 1981). Finally, it can be inferred that positive self concepts in teachers facilitate not only themselves as effective teachers but also pupils as effective learners with positive self esteem and performance.
Related to the educational outcomes which comprise students’ self concept, motivation to learn, attitudes towards peers, teachers and school, Cheng and Ng (1991) state that teachers with positive self concept create positive and effective classroom. Further, they also say that the positive self concept affects the learning attitudes and performance of students.
In addition, the educational outcomes can be classified at the behaviour level and attitudinal level. Regarding this, Cheng and Ng (1991) suggested that the educational outcomes at the behaviour level like students’ academic achievement should not be taken as the only mean to evaluate the classroom effectiveness. They viewed that attitudinal indicators are better tools to measure the students’ classroom process outcomes because behaviours are mostly affected by attitudes. They also added that attitudes indicators may include students’ self-concept, attitudes towards their peers, teachers, schools and their motivation to learn.
Self-Concept Development Program
Referring to what the writers mention above, maximizing the existing programs for teachers’ self-concept development seems to be very important. This is a good way to bridge teachers’ quality through the effort of fertilizing their self-concept as teachers.
Gebhard (1993) says that there is a positive relationship between teachers’ positive self concepts and their awareness as teachers who are encouraged to be competent. Thus, in order to enhance the competence which affects their positive self-concept, he also suggests the following activities to be conducted by teachers.
- Observation of other teachers’ teaching
Having this activity, teachers can see their own teaching in the teaching of others, and when teachers observe others to gain self-knowledge, they have the chance to construct and reconstruct their own knowledge.
like observation of other teachers, it is also possible for teachers to observe their own teaching through video or audiotape their teaching and then review it.
- Action Research
This is a self-reflective inquiry initiated by teachers for the purpose of improving their classroom practices.
- Teachers Journals
Teachers journals (also known as diary studies) provide another way for teachers to gain awareness of their teaching. In this activity, teachers can freely reflect, criticize, doubt, express frustration and raise questions in the journals.
- Teacher Community
Last but not least are having activities in a form of teacher community or teacher club. This teachers’ organization can be a good medium for teachers to share their experiences to improve their quality as teachers.
The explanation above shows that English teachers’ self concept plays an important role in implementation of positive changes in our school teaching and learning activities. Teachers with positive self concept will contribute more in the classroom. Further, teachers with positive self concept towards their profession as teachers will be happier than those who are not. For that reason, efforts focused to improve or develop the positive self concept for teachers should be sought. The reason is quite clear that self concept has a very close relationship with teachers’ service quality in a classroom. Thus, the ideal education outcomes can be well guaranteed, Insya Allah.
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Crouse and Kevin. 1981. Reflection: Self Concept Development for teachers. Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ federation,
Harmer, Jeremy. 1983. The Practice of English Language Teaching. Longman,
Harnawidagda, Hadjid. 2007: Autonomous Learning to Promote Teaching Competence for Teachers in Remote Areas: TEFLIN Journal.
______Teacher Development: Making the Right Moves: selected articles from the English Teaching Forum (1989-1993)
Ming et.al (1995) Primary Teachers’ Self Concept: It’s Relationship with Teachers’ Behaviour and Educational Outcomes.