The Traffic Cop Syndrome

| December 31, 2003
The Traffic Cop Syndrome

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Eric Pollock

Bio Data
Mr. Eric Pollock is an English instructor at the Kyunghee University of Seoul, Korea. In this article he considers the role of the language instructor in the classroom and notes the role of the language instructor is generally misunderstood by students in an EFL situation. He further suggests the language teacher has far greater depth of responsibility towards his/her students than being simply a Language educator.

Over twenty years ago, Long (1983) suggested that the teacher made very little difference in the development of a student’s language ability. When comparing language learning as to the time spent on it in class, on a whole, it could reasonably be argued that the teacher could do very little in the way of improving a student’s ability in a relatively short amount of time. If a student spends 3 hours a week in class, what do they do with the other 165 hours of the week?

Language learning has come along way since then. The student has become the center of the language classroom (Tudor, 1996), and the role of the teacher has been to one of enabling the student to develop their own language abilities as they see fit (Benson & Voller, 1997). This is a more holistic approach and considers the various aspects of the individual’s needs to learn language.


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