A short (mostly only audio) post

I have been wanting to do all an all audio post for a while and I even have a topic in mind but I never managed to do it. My class two weeks ago gave me something somewhat interesting to share so here goes….
(the story is just over 90 seconds long and can be heard by hitting play below)


  1. Sandy Millin

    A very interesting reaction 🙂 The idea of a teacher being in ‘teacher position’ is one that I’ve thought about a lot over the last year, mostly because of watching how it affects people’s behaviour in class when they adopt that position. I find they get louder, talk more, and generally become more dominant and controlling. It’s funny how shifting our position can have such an effect on us, our students, and random visitors to the room!

  2. Matthew

    Mike, you need to do audio posts more you’ve got a great voice and fantastic delivery. Thank you for sharing this!

    In the anecdote I quite often relate to trainees (often in small pieces, in connection to some specific thing) about “the best teacher I’ve ever seen” there are these things: I didn’t have to hear the class: I would stop on the way to my own class and simply gaze through a window into his class…he was almost never in the ‘teacher position’: he floated around the room, or huddled up with Ss, or kicked back in a chair but never seemed without full attention and awareness of the Ss and room…there were always smiles and laughter and a sense of ease: when I finally asked and sat in the room, my suspicions were confirmed – humor was baked in, along with a strong sense of meta-activity as students and teacher talked about how and why they were ‘having class’. I use the ‘kicking back’ piece to support a point about control vs. initiative in s-centered activity, and never name this teacher (I think I’ve actually lost track of his name, and he came and went like an ELT ninja, ya never really knew) but sometimes refer to him as ‘the puppeteer’.

    I was reminded of him as I imagined looking through the door of your classroom, being brushed on the shoulder by those Ss who came in and out and then eventually right in.

  3. Chris Ożóg

    Great, Mike, enjoyed this (it has been 9 months since I last heard your dulcet tones..). I’m working with a trainee at the moment who is having serious trouble getting attention (class is 13 Upper Ints) and it’s causing them all sorts of problems. We’ve talked about teacher position, techniques for gaining attention, when interventions are required, etc., but something is still missing. The problem is that the teacher has a very timid and quiet personality and I’m starting to run out of ideas to help. Even if, like in your class, a mere seven learners and the teacher were sitting in the room and it didn’t look like ‘a class’, the teacher would still not be in control of the room. By control, I don’t mean tight routines and shouting, but there is a sense with an effective teacher that they are in control, even when they are not (as in your class). At least, there is that sense to me. Whatever can we do to help?

    Also, I listened to this in bed. Just thought I’d share that.


    • Sandy Millin

      Is it a confidence issue? I used to get one of my trainees who had a similar problem to chant ‘I am the teacher and I am in charge’ to themselves before they walked into the lesson – they might not feel like they should be in ‘teacher position’ at all, wherever that might be in the room!

      • Chris Ożóg

        It’s not confidence as such, it’s just that the teacher is a very quiet person full stop. They have a number of culture issues against them too (sex, age, status) and it’s just a real nightmare. We discussed these and I said that I know of no culture where a teacher is not in a position of authority (at least in name) in a classroom and that they should play the role (as I termed it) to get out of their own timid personality. We’ve looked a different techniques from banging the board to standing front and centre and yet we still struggle. I’ll suggest the chanting, but I suspect we are possibly dealing with a case of someone who is not cut out to stand in front of a room full of talkative people.

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