Obstacles Teachers May Face

1 January 2017

The process of how an individual learns is based on the theories surrounding behaviorism, conditioning, modeling and self regulation. Students can be problematic if proper resolutions aren’t put in place when a dilemma arises. There is a great emphasis on the importance and relevance in motivating the students in the classroom. Without the knowledge of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation and what drives students to learn, teachers may not know what inspires or how to encourage students to work to the best of their ability.

Teachers must portray themselves in a professional manner at all times, whether they are dealing with students, parents or colleagues. Professionalism can be defined in several ways and some characteristics of a professional teacher include being committed to learners in a way that incorporates a code of ethics, have the ability to make routine and efficient decisions in a complex and ill-defined situation, conduct a critical self examination of one’s teachings, i. . reflective practice, and acquire the element of professional knowledge to constantly improve, develop and expand one’s methods of teaching to maximize learning environments (Eggan, P. & Kauchak, D. 2010. pp, 4 – 6). One obstacle a teacher may face is if he or she gets asked a question that they don’t know the answer to. Students look up to teachers and depend on them for the knowledge they require (Yero, J. L. , 2002. P173).

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Understanding each topic is simply not enough; a teacher needs to be able to represent topics in an understandable way that is appropriate to the age of the learner. For example, the solution to explaining how to multiply numbers is to firstly acquire the knowledge of content then illustrate how to multiply the numbers. This is referred to as pedagogical knowledge. Pedagogical knowledge requires the teacher to understand principles of instructional strategies and classroom management.

Involving each student in the learning process in order to enhance productive learning comes with knowledge and experience. Instructional strategies that promote productive learning include: selecting topics that are important for students to learn, provide clear learning objectives and prepare learning activities respectively, design assessments that relate to the workload and maintain the instructional alignment between the three, i. e. the connection between learning objectives, learning activities and assessments (Eggan, P. Kauchak, D. 2010. pp390 – 394). A teacher must have a positive and caring attitude, be organized, communicate effectively, respect and encourage rather than punish and constantly question and prompt incorrect answers to manage a productive classroom (Nelson, J. , Lott, L. & Glen, S. p20-27). Identifying clear standards of acceptable behavior i. e. rules, be supportive to each student and create a sense of equilibrium are all strategies to ensure a productive and manageable classroom.

The aim of all teachers is to promote as much learning as possible. Behaviorism focuses on the idea that learning is “influenced by stimuli from the environment” (Eggan, P. & Kauchak, D. 2010. p,164). For example, feeling nervous before an exam is a learned behavior due to previous experiences/knowledge of exams. This feeling is involuntary to the individual, and it is referred to as classical conditioning. Classical conditioning can be positive or negative, depending on which, it can have different effects on the learner.

If the teacher uses positive reinforcement within the classroom the students will gradually associate learning to the teacher’s manner and thus feel safe within the classroom resulting in a productive learning environment. In contrast negative or non-reinforcement results in the cessation of a behavior and results in a classroom environment that is not productive. Children learn acceptable behaviors through observing adults, therefore teachers are role models, and it is important for a teacher to demonstrate respect, tolerance, and values to motivate learning (Call, N. Featherstone, S. 2004 p. 47). Cognitive modeling is essential to the learning process as teachers use this to perform a demonstration and verbalize the thinking behind the actions taken (Eggan, P. & Kauchak. D. , 2010. p. 182). An obstacle one may face is if some children are having trouble learning how to pass a netball to one another. Often, children instinctively bounce the ball, instead of passing it, as classical conditioning has taught them to do so from a young age.

The teacher must describe one’s thoughts of how to pass a netball, whilst performing the action, which in turn encourages students to verbalize their understandings in any situation, resulting in a productive learning environment. Modeling is the key concept of social cognitive theory. Cognitive, behavioral and emotional change in children is a result of observing models. Modeling affects people by learning new behaviors, facilitating existing behaviors, changing inhibitions and by arousing emotions (Eggan, P. & Kauchak, D. 2010. p. 183).

These observations lead to learner expectations, which in turn are accomplished through self-regulation. Settings goals and monitoring that progress is an essential element of learning. The student observes another student passing the netball. He then models the observation, uses that experience to expand his knowledge thus takes responsibility and control of his learning. Teaching is constantly developing and changing, and the need for motivation is a necessary procedure to support and increase student learning and the teaching process.

A common obstacle teacher’s face is how to motivate uninterested and unengaged students. Some students seem naturally enthusiastic about learning, but many need or expect their instructors to inspire, challenge and stimulate them. An unmotivated student is likely to choose work that is inappropriately easy, show a negative attitude, give up quickly and leave tasks unfinished. This can disrupt the students around him and cause interruptions in the learning environment (Nelson, J. Lott L. , & Glenn, S. 1997 p. 72).

There are two broad forms of motivation; extrinsic – where some students will be motivated by the approval of others, for example, by getting a good grade, and intrinsic motivation, where the learner studies in order to understand the content presented to them because they like the challenge and want to perform (Eggen, P. & Kauchak, D. 2010. p. 287). To encourage students to become self motivated and independent learners, teachers can give frequent, early, positive feedback. This supports the students beliefs’ that they can, and are doing well as viewed by the humanistic theory of motivation.

The teacher can also help students find personal meaning and value in the material as viewed by cognitive and social cognitive theory of motivation, and create an atmosphere that is open and positive which help students feel that they are a valued member of the learning community which is based on the socioculural theory of motivation. In addition, a teacher can ensure opportunities for students’ success by assigning tasks that are neither too easy nor too difficult which is a view shared by behaviorist theories (Eggen, P. & Kauchak, D. 2010. p. 289). It must be understood that individuals are motivated through a wide variety of needs.

While teachers can’t make or teach students to be self-motivated, they can encourage and promote this highly desirable trait. To conclude, there are many solutions to the obstacles a teacher may face in a learning environment. A teacher should act and approach a classroom with a professional attitude and an academic manner by being knowledgeable and recognizing the importance for assessing oneself. Teachers must be aware of the influence they make on students’ learning and how to promote positive and engaging classroom environments in order to solve the dilemmas they may be presented with in regards to behaviors students display.

Furthermore, teachers need to understand that the process of motivation stems from stimulation, which in turn is followed by an emotional reaction that leads to either a positive or negative behavioral response. By understanding the theories based on solutions to the problems a teacher may face in the classroom, they may have a better chance at expecting when a problem may arise, and resolve the situation immediately.

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