Becoming caring teachers of English: An implication of innovation?
Universitas Katolik Indonesia Atma Jaya
In the literature of teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL), teachers are usually confronted with the preoccupation of improving their competence in the subject matter they teach or keeping abreast with the latest teaching approaches, methods, or techniques. That is, even though the current trend of TEFL is centered on learners, teachers seem to pay less attention to their learners compared to such aspects like the subject matter or teaching methods. That is, the majority of teachers, if not all, still teach based on the curriculum rather than based on their students’ individual needs. In this paper I would like to point to the fact that the majority of our students of English as a foreign language (EFL) are at-risk students. It is widely known that first language acquisition differs from second language acquisition and foreign language learning in the sense that all normal children acquire their first language successfully but few learners acquire a second or a foreign language successfully.I would argue that being a caring or supportive teacher will be a critical piece of a successful learning program of EFL. Caring teachers are those who believe each and every student of theirs is special and they all deserve to be successful in their learning. Caring teachers should implement this belief by being familiar with their students’ individual differences and give their students instructional treatments based on their individual differences.
Keywords: learner-centered, caring teachers, at-risk students, individual differences