Teaching is Not All About Subject Matter

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The way teachers administer the teaching learning process will definitely be influenced by their belief of a particular teaching methodology. It has the same meaning with Gage’s (1964 as cited in Brown, 2001) statement that teachers’ understanding of how the learners learn will determine their philosophy of education, teaching style, approach, methods and classroom techniques. As a matter of fact, the teachers who belong to essentialists run the teaching process following four beliefs which one of them deals with the subject matter. Essentialists stand for the reinstatement of subject matter at the center of the educational process (Kneller, 1971). However, this paper presents the opposite viewpoint. Precisely, due to the attention span, involvement, and inability to learn abstract things, in teaching children, this paper shall disagree with the importance of subject matter at the center of educational process.

Essentialist teachers accord with the philosophic position that it is largely man’s material and social environment that dictates how he shall live. Thus, according to essentialists, the purpose of the child’s attending school is to get to know this world as it really is. Unfortunately, in language teaching, material is not the only factor contributing. Stern (1983) states that the primary factors in language teaching cover the teaching materials, teaching strategies, teachers’ characteristics, learners’ characteristics and classroom interaction. Regarding learners’ characteristics, in presenting teaching materials, teachers must take students’ attention span into account.

Young language learners have a limited attention span; they can get easily bored, losing interest after ten minutes (Harmer, 2007). As a consequence, ...

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Works Cited

Brown, H. Douglas. (2001). Teaching in Principles: An Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy. New York: Longman.

Cameron, Lynne. (2001). Teaching Languages to Young Learners. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Harmer, Jeremy. (2007). The Practice of English Language Teaching. Malaysia: Pearson Education Limited.

Harmer, Jeremy. (2007). How to Teach English. Essex: Pearson Education Limited.

Kneller, George. (1971). Introduction to the Philosophy of Education. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

McKay, Penny. (2008). Assessing Young Language Learners. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Paul, David. (2003). Teaching English to Children in Asia. Hong Kong: Pearson Education North Asia Limited.

Popp, Maria S. 2008. Teaching Language and Literature in Elementary Classroom. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., Publishers.

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