INNOVATION IN ESL/EFL CLASSROOMS: A HUMBLE OUTLOOK
WHAT IS INNOVATION?
As ESL/EFL teachers, being innovative is a fundamental way of bringing constant changes and improvements to our teaching practices and learning outcomes.
Innovation is the implementation of a new process, product or an approach that adds value to the learners’ and teachers’ experience.
New does not mean it has to be 100% new. As long as there is a new variation or one new element in a very common theory, approach or technique, it is an innovation.
Innovation is a tool which will allow ESL/EFL teachers to share with others so that others are inspired to innovate.
Innovation could also be defined as thinking of, seeing, doing, trying what others don’t think of, see, do or try.
In short, innovation is executing an idea, approach, a strategy, technique or activity that addresses a specific learning and teaching issue with success. Surely, success does not mean 100% scoring A+ but it can simply mean any little meaningful progress made especially by learners.
THE JOURNEY OF BEING INNOVATIVE
Be mentally prepared to fail as failure is a part of being innovative. Perhaps, it is a crucial part that makes us be more innovative than what we would have planned or imagined.
Whatever failure or hiccups you have to face, just do not worry. Every day is a new day! Even if a mistake is made the day before, we always have the next day and many other days to get it fixed!
Occasionally, you may hear evil voices whispering foul words like, “Why are you wasting your time trying to implement this new thing in your class?” “No need to innovate! You are wasting your time!” Ignore those evil voices; by doing it, you are simply halfway there!
Have a motto to hold on to all the time. It could be “Conformity is the enemy of growth” or anything that you strongly believe in. The choice is always yours.
INNOVATE AND SHARE!
If you look deep into your heart and mind and you decide there is nothing (no teaching tips, no learning strategies to be shared) to be shared, then, there is something for you to worry.
As you grow to be senior teachers, ESL/EFL teachers should be making more contributions; ESL/EFL teachers should be able to offer tips and guidance to the younger ones. How? Innovate and share!
ESL/EFL teachers make a living by doing what they do; teach. Nevertheless, they make and develop life when they innovate and share.
Real job satisfaction is sharing what you have with people who matter
Professionalism only grows by innovating and sharing
The most valuable gift an ESL/EFL teacher can give to others is his knowledge and expertise.
Sharing makes you bigger than who you are.
Two things that may make some ESL/EFL teachers stay in their “cave” are they keep doing what they have been doing for 20 years and keep becoming recipients of input, knowledge or strategies developed by others. Do not choose to be the same, choose to be different and better! Let us be innovative and make our journey as ESL/EFL teachers a masterpiece. Innovation will mould us not to be followers throughout our career but will open doors for us to be designers and contributors too. Embracing innovation in our teaching career will unlock our potential to soar higher and higher.