What Do Students Expect From Their Teachers?
Generally we know what we expect from our students. We use these criteria to evaluate their work, their participation, and often their behavior too. But do we ask the students what they expect from our courses? I have done so—especially when I felt the course was not going well. And this feedback has always helped me adapt to a better strategy. I encourage teachers to conduct surveys or simply to speak outside of class with their students.
Three categories of expectations
I have observed that students’ expectations or hopes fall into three categories: learning, motivation and respect.
- First, they want to learn something new and useful in each lesson. They do not expect the teacher to know everything. They want the teacher to convey knowledge or a skill relevant to their lives. So it is important to communicate a program or curriculum and tell students what they will be able to do at the end of a course.
- Second, they want the teacher to bring out the best in them, help them to find the courage to speak out, give them the desire to do the required work, and show them that by completing the program they will achieve certain goals. A teacher who can motivate the students will find the later very cooperative.
- Third, they want the teacher to respect them, i.e. understand their difficulties, their hesitations, and their complexes. They don’t want to feel humiliated, if they give the wrong answer. They don’t want to be harassed by reprimands, i.e. “Don’t chat in the back”, “Don’t be so lazy”, “Don’t text on your phone”. If your class is interesting and the students all have things to do, they won’t be using their cell phones. And students want the teacher to be fair in the grading procedure and even in everyday activities—not to have favorites, not to let the best students dominate the class, not to label certain learners as weak from the very beginning.
Respect versus authority
Today there are so many wonderful resources on the Web, many of which are free or cost a very minimal fee. Consequently, we no longer have problems finding materials for our courses. The obstacle to be overcome involves meeting the expectations of our students. That is why it is essential to put ourselves in the place of our students when we are preparing our classes. We should ask ourselves, “What important knowledge or skill will the students be learning?” “Are the activities we propose actually motivating?” “Are we showing proper respect for our students?”
My experience has shown me that respect is far more important than authority. If you respect your students, they will respect you—and you won’t have to raise you voice or formulate threats to get their attention. Authority will come naturally from this mutual respect.
A digital book for teachers’ professional development
For complete details about my own course and all the worksheets and recordings used to make students speak English with confidence, you can read and work with QualityTime-ESL: The Digital Resource Book Version 5.0. It is a 3,000 page book in MS Word with audio and video documents on a DVD (price €29 with shipping).
You will see this digital book is well worth the investment. There are even two series of podcasts to be used as oral drills in your teaching. This digital book will help you develop your own course and to achieve the goals you set in conformity with the expectations of your students.
To order go directly to the store.