Teaching a language, and especially English which is the language of the whole world, has always been a quite demanding task. Language teachers always seek new methods and means of teaching and are always cautious of how to teach a language without insulting some other culture. This by itself is a very challenging task and one that increases the workload of a teacher. But in our times, this is not enough. We live in times of crises. There is a moral crisis, a financial crisis, family crisis where most children grow up in single parent families, employment crisis and so on.
Nowadays our classrooms are increasingly becoming diverse. The traditional classrooms which used to be more uniform are a thing of the past. In recent years most classrooms include students from different backgrounds, cultures, religions and family situations and this makes the job of the teacher even more complex and demanding. The aim of education and the basic duty of an educator should be to find a way to teach students acceptance, understanding and respect for anything different.
A teacher's role has significantly changed through the years with the emergence of technology. Electronic devices connected to the Internet exist everywhere and are used for a variety of tasks, from the most trivial ones to the most complicated. And of course the classroom could not be an exception to this reality. Our students learn how to use tablets, computers and smartphones from a very young age and they cannot imagine their everyday lives without these devices.
Using technology in the 21st century classroom is I think a sine qua non. Students are digital natives. They are born into technology, they use technology daily and different devices are part of their everyday lives.
From a very young age, they know how to use a tablet, for example, and how to find videos that interest them, or even apps that are entertaining for them. Not including technology in the teaching procedure is like speaking to them in a different language. The benefits of using it in the classroom are numerous.
I have worked in many different schools. Some of them were very well-organised having a computer room or even computers in every classroom. Some others though lacked these kind of facilities. What really surprised me was the fact that in the schools where technology was assisting the teaching procedure much more learning and understanding took place. The students were more eager to work and had much more fun. In the other schools where a traditional teaching procedure took place discipline problems were commoner and the students did not have the same amount of enthusiasm.
I have been working at the same private language school for the past ten years. I was used to the teaching methodology used, I had mainly children aged 8-16 as students, I taught the same levels (A2-C2) each year, I knew the textbooks and I felt quite confident as a teacher since I practically did the same things every year. But this May everything changed when the new job offer by the owner for the coming year was completely unacceptable.