By Flor de María Vila A.
Becoming a victim of “robotizing” is truly menacing for our profession. Turning into a sort of teaching android is something that should be avoided at all costs. But before taking distance from this danger, we need to check if we have not already become a prey of it, or if we are not in the process of becoming one.
Choose an answer to the questions.
Here are some ideas:
1. Today you have a class and you haven´t prepared anything special. You have had a very busy week or you have had some problems at home or maybe you haven´t felt very good recently because of an illness or something similar. So you take the book, read the title of the unit and prepare yourself to decide how you are going to have your students do the exercises. Whatever the circumstances are, you check the teacher’s guide and the students’ book and you feel that just doing the exercises as the book indicates will be just fine. YES or NO?
2. You feel that you must begin every lesson with a warmer, so you always use the same game or the same question. The idea is to help students connect with the lesson, so it doesn’t matter too much the way of doing it. Besides, students love that. Do you always begin / do / present an activity in pretty much the same manner? YES OR NO?
3. You have had a great lesson with your teenager students. In fact, they loved it. You feel satisfied. You have been assigned to give the same lesson, but with a group of adults in the evening class. Since you had such a success with your teenage class, you don’t hesitate to use the very same strategy with this evening group. It has to be a sensation too. Do you use the very same lesson plan with all your students without considering the big or small differences that might exist? YES OR NO?
4. You propose, for instance, that learners work in pairs and that they do so with the person next to them. To introduce some variation, you have them move around and find another partner to work with. This definitely works because students have the chance to use the language being learned with different people. Do you always organize the experience of interacting in the same way? YES OR NO?
If you have 4 yeses, you regrettably are on a first name basis with C3PO and R2D2.
If you have 3 yeses, you unfortunately have already adopted the robot style.
If you have 2 yeses, you pitifully are on the way of embracing the robot style.
If you have 1 “yes,” you, possibly inadvertently, are on the verge of espousing the robot style.
If you need more ideas and reasons to avoid becoming a victim of “robotizing” check the following link.
Can you give us more examples that show evidence of “robotizing”?
Can you mention how to avoid any of the symptoms mentioned above?
M.A. in Cognition, Learning and Development from PUCP, B.A. in Education with a major in English Teaching. Ms. Vila is currently Teacher trainer, Pedagogic Consultant and Member of the Research Team at Centro de Idiomas de la Universidad del Pacífico. She is Academic Director of International Contacts (test training & foreign applications advisory) and relationship manager for American universities´ MBA admissions officers with International Contacts. She is official Examiner for several University of Cambridge tests, freelance consultant with Universidad ESAN, experienced speaker on diverse English teaching issues for prestigious institutions, and senior international examinations trainer (GMAT, GRE, TOEFL, IELTS).