Vitthal Gore Sameena Begum
Associate Professor of English Instructor
Nizam Institute of Engineering and Jizzan University,
Near RFC, Deshmukhi, Hyderabad Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
In the post-modern era, English language teaching and learning has gone through a phase of change. It has seen developments and shifts in the areas like teaching-learning methodologies, learning environment, purpose, employability, etc. These radical changes are due to the changing role of English in the present scenario. Today English language occupies a proud position of not only an international language but as a language of survival and a ladder to success. As a result, the language teachers’ responsibility is also increased. It has broadened in many ways and at the same time narrowed down based on purpose, environment, learners, methodology, etc. It has guided to the expansion of language teacher’s role in the language pedagogy. It is getting redefined as an instructor, facilitator, mediator, mentor, guide, trainer, etc. With these new-fangled roles, the duties of language teachers have also been changed. It demands an out of box approach to the teaching and learning process. The language teachers have to constantly update their knowledge, look for new methodology, and learn to use technology for pedagogical purpose. All these demands on part of the language teacher not merely a good command over the language but also certain skills which help them to juggle the various roles successfully.
The English language teaching today is packaged with teaching of various skills such
as communication skills and soft skills which include leadership skills, positive attitude, problem solving, time management, team building, self-confidence, handling criticism, flexibility, negotiation, conflict management, etc. These are also referred as People’s Skills. Therefore an English language teacher should be able to create awareness of these skills in the students and hone them with certain preparation. The teachers’ role is not merely imparting knowledge but bringing real time experience to the classroom for the students with result oriented efforts. The teachers themselves need to develop their skills and personality to justify their job. One such skill is Managerial Skill.
As ‘Management’ is a practical skill and is very essential for effective functioning of an organization, it finds a place in all kinds of organizations including educational institutions. There are two aspects of Management, one is to learn Management as a subject and the other is to become an effective manager. Its importance is never denied in any organizational setup but in teaching scenario the role varies from that of a ‘pure’ management practices. Teachers’ role has always been imparting content in classrooms, designing syllabus and assessing students objectively. But today teachers’ role has become multidimensional. In addition to the basic skills a teacher has to have a command over certain skills which are concerned to teaching-learning process, classroom management, handling pedagogical issues, using technology for teaching, knowledge of various electronic gadgets, etc. Therefore, there is a need to understand these skills. The Managerial Skills in non- educational organizations may not be directly related to classroom management but indirectly help in teaching process.
Some time ago, managerial skills were connotated only to the business and corporate world, but nowadays most of the success gurus suggest managerial skills in every walk of professional and personal life. As a matter of fact, there are a few managerial skills which have become essential to lead a successful professional and a satisfied personal life. The concept of teacher as manager is established as an important one in effective teaching. For the last 50 years, linguists have examined the effectiveness of schools and colleges in particular teaching methodologies and styles, but the Organization for Economic Co- operation and Development (OECD) collected data from 11 countries and identified five dimensions. Turner & Bisset (2001) listed them as follows:
- Knowledge of substantive curriculum, areas and content.
- Pedagogic skills, including the acquisition of and ability to use a repertoire of teaching strategies.
- Reflection and ability to be self-critical, the hallmark of a teacher’s professionalism.
- Empathy and commitment to the acknowledgement of the dignity of others.
- Managerial competence, as teachers assume a range of managerial responsibilities
within and beyond the classroom.
All these five dimensions essentially focus on the vivid skills that a teacher should have while performing the role as a teacher in the classroom and outside the classroom. The following section deals with the managerial roles which are requisites to every individual in personal and professional life. According to Mintzberg (1973), managerial roles of a teacher are:
- Informational Role
- Decisional Role
- Interpersonal Role
- Informational Role:
This involves the role of assimilating and disseminating information as and when required. Following are the main sub roles which managers often perform:
- Monitor – collecting information from organizations, both from inside and outside the organization.
- Disseminator – communicating information to members within the
- Spokesperson – representing the organization to the outsiders.
- Decisional Role:
It involves decision making. Again, this role can be subdivided into the following:
- Entrepreneur – initiating new ideas to improve organizational performance.
- Disturbance handlers – taking corrective action to cope with adverse
- Resource allocators – allocating human, physical, and monetary resources.
- Negotiator – negotiating with trade unions or any other stakeholders.
- Interpersonal Role:
This role involves activities with people working in the organization. This is supportive role for informational and decisional roles. Interpersonal roles can be categorized under three subheadings:
- Figurehead – Ceremonial and symbolic role.
- Leadership – leading organization in terms of recruiting, motivating, etc.
- Liaison – liasoning with external bodies and public relation activities.
To successfully execute managerial responsibility, good communication skills in monitoring and disseminating information, removing or avoiding barriers in communication become very important. The manager is also the representative on behalf of the organization who works according to policies of the organization. Besides, critical and analytical thinking is required to take new initiatives, or finding alternative solutions, performance improving measures, managing conflicts, trouble shooting, coping with adverse situations, managing resources, etc. The manager should also develop an ability to handle people at various levels in the organization setting a good example as a leader by building a team. www.answers.com search shows Katz (1974) who has identified three essential Management Skills: Technical, Human, and Conceptual.
- Technical Skills: The ability is to apply specialized knowledge or expertise. All jobs require some specialized expertise, and many people develop their technical skills on the job. Vocational and on-the-job training programs can be used to develop this type of skill.
- Human Skills: This is the ability to work with, understand and motivate other people
(both individually and in a group). This requires sensitivity towards issues and concerns of other people. People, who are proficient in technical skill, but not with interpersonal skills, may find it difficult to manage their subordinates to acquire the human skills, it is pertinent to recognize the feelings and sentiments of others, ability to motivate others even in adverse situation, and communicate own feelings to others in a positive and inspiring way.
- Conceptual Skills: This is an ability to critically analyze, diagnose a situation and forward a feasible solution. It requires creative thinking, generating options and choosing the best from the options available.
The description provided by the two experts can be brought in a nut shell as the skills required to execute good managerial work are strong command over the subject, good communication skills, positive interpersonal skills and effective decision making skills.
The teachers’ job by definition would be successfully imparting knowledge. The curricular activities of teachers are unlike the ancient times when there were handful of students or it was one to one basis of instruction. But today there is a massive expansion of
the education system and there are classrooms with a large number of students which is a challenge to the new age teacher. Adding to the challenge is multidimensional education which is expected to result in overall development of a student and in addition to curricular aspects; schools and colleges emphasize co-curricular and extra-curricular aspects as well. All these demand managerial skills in a teacher without which one may find as a fish out of water. Teachers’ work, in an institution, besides taking classes may include administrative work such as managing admission process, examinations, sports, timetable, library, laboratory, etc. To accomplish these, various skills such as team building, time management, etc. become crucial. Let us put the purview of teacher’s responsibility in the managerial roles to identify the managerial skills required by a teacher.
- Organizational Skills:
Besides performing content teaching task in class, the teacher should also organize the subject inputs such as teaching notes, study material, etc. based on the methodology and
syllabus requirements. The subject units have to be first divided and planed to execute them in the class. Today technology has become a major teaching aid with Over Head Projectors,
Power Point Presentations, Multimedia Laboratories, Virtual Classrooms, Digital Classrooms and in such cases where technologically advanced teaching aids are used, class preparation
and complete awareness of the teaching aids become compulsory. Such organized preparation will help a teacher to create a conducive environment in the classroom.
Lesson plans were always essential part of the teaching process and will remain so. This is one of the managerial measures to keep things in place. At tertiary or higher level
teaching, this is not in detail as lower classes. A lesson plan is like the route map with a means to reach the destination. Preparation of the lesson plan leads to another important
managerial skill that is very crucial and it is ‘time management’.
- Time Management:
Time Management is an integral part of any professional activity and one of the steps to success. It’s not merely a classroom that has to be managed but also the pre-class
preparation time and post teaching time that has to be controlled. Teaching process includes preparation for the class, execution in the class, and then testing and assessing, giving
feedback and taking remedial action. All this moves in cyclic process at least till the stage of testing, assessing and giving the feedback. Any snag in time management will disturb the
cyclic process, thereby affecting the teaching. Today’s education is all-round education or precisely scholastic and the teacher should spare herself/himself for organizing extra-
curricular and co-curricular activities for students, especially the language teacher. Good time management skills and proper planning again become very much handy. Therefore
lesson plan, class preparation, recording students’ progress and other paperwork put a load on teachers. Proper preparation becomes another important factor and it is planning.
Planning is very crucial for any kind of activity in any field. It is essential from
student’s life to a professional career. What is crucial in planning is identifying those parameters on which planning can be based such as the time limit, time available, individual capacity, resources available, ultimate purpose of the activity, etc. Planning can be short term or long term, objective specific or general. Planning and preparation are actually based on the kind of activity or task that has to be accomplished.
Management of Communication is another important factor for success in any area especially teaching because teaching in other words is communicating knowledge. Besides communicating knowledge, effective communication encompasses communicating instructions, purposes, removing conflicts, etc. This is one skill which helps in development of other skills. Communication includes verbal and non-verbal communication. As it is rightly said that a teacher sets an example for students, teacher’s communication especially a language teacher’s communication should be flawless, effective and successful. It should be clear, unambiguous, and effective. Communication happens upward, downward, horizontal and diagonal directions and varies in the formality. A strong awareness will make an individual a strong professional. The process of communication is said to be successful if the message reaches to those intended across a spectrum of people, whether they are students or colleagues or boss. Alexander, R. (2005) solicited that a teacher can explore the notion of ‘dialogic teaching’ through a consideration of the forms of talk which contribute to learning: narration, explanation, instruction, negotiation, discussion, speculation, analysis etc. The group of students is always a varied, though the group may have something in common, it’s the difference which the teacher has to reach.
- Managing Groups:
Managing groups is another important factor. Schools and colleges are nothing but
students grouped in classrooms and teachers have a collective influence on this group. Yet it becomes necessary that the teacher reaches out to the students individually. The teacher has the task to convince, correlate and bring the entire group together. Handling students as a group could have challenges like the size of the group, mixed intellectual abilities, varying motivational levels like enthusiastic, less motivated, de-motivated, varying age groups, varying social-economic background, etc. The teacher has to manage the group to make it a team and enhance their learning. Teacher’s influence on the group in developing affable climate is the most critical for learning to take place. Teachers intentionally or unintentionally contribute to the development of a group. It is important to understand feelings and sentiments, motivational factors and be a constant source of motivation. Hence, an understanding of group behavior is essential for a teacher to function effectively.
- Guiding Students:
Student problems and guiding students is a very distinct feature of a teacher which sets apart one teacher from the other. Students in their growing years may have problems
specific to their age and may need the respective approach. A teacher with proper psychological understanding, analysis of student behavior (phobias, doubts, etc.) can
streamline such students with others to build a functional team. It requires adequate human skills.
- Managing Administrative Work:
Besides teaching, academician themselves handle the work which by definition is
managerial in educational institutions. They are of course not trained managers. Strong academician who show good caliber in multi-tasking and maintain good public relations are often given such managerial responsibilities. It has been observed in the institutional context that an academic assuming managerial function often gets distracted from academic activities. Therefore it is important that the academician returns to original field and improve academic skills.
- Subject Knowledge:
With the advent of information technology, access to information has become very easy but in rural areas and a few other cases, teacher is the main source of information. The responsibility and the accessibility have made it even more important for the teacher to be updated with recent trends and developments in the subject areas concerned. The teacher should be able to bring the updated knowledge to the classroom and also should have the expertise to impart it. The teacher is an example to the student in more than one way and the teacher should be able to show dexterity of processing knowledge and also applying it to the maximum. This way the teacher helps the student to develop analytical and creative thinking. The teacher, therefore, should be involved in the process of self learning.
The above discussion highlights a few roles of teachers which need managerial skills to be successfully executed. As today’s work environment has become multifaceted and multidisciplinary and teacher’s job has also evolved, the teacher cannot just restrict herself/himself to academics but has to juggle different roles to justify his/her job and impart holistic education. Therefore a teacher may need to develop managerial skills such as classroom management, managing teaching, time management, management of communication, student management, and management of self learning, to be a successful professional in the field. As the learners and their purpose of learning has changed, the teachers and the teaching approaches are also going through changes. To execute this big job of teaching and set an example to the students for making their careers, it is essential the teachers also be trained as managers.
Alexander, R. (2005). Culture, Dialogue and Learning, Robin Alexander DfES Primary
National Strategy: Excellence and Enjoyment: learning and teaching in the primary years: Professional Development Materials. DfES
Good, Thomas L. & Brophy Jene, E. (1773). Looking in Classrooms. USA: Macmillan Publishing House.
Lewis, Phillip V. (1975). Organizational Communications: The Essence of Effective Management. Ohio: GRID Inc. Columbus.
Mintzberg, H. (1973). The Nature of Managerial Work. New York: Harper & Row. Turner, Rosie & Bisset. (2001). Expert Teaching (Paperback). David Fulton Pub. p.6.