EFL Colleges Management
by Piotr Jednaszewski
EFL Management is all what I would call the EFL institution leader contribution to the development of his organisation in terms of:
- Manager contribution within the system
- The management realities
- Perspective Management
- Personal Development
For organisations, if not for academics, the key purpose of any organisation theory or approach is to help them analyse and rectify the weaknesses and problems of their current situation, and to assist them in bringing about the changes necessary to achieve future objectives. Not surprisingly many managers look for simple, foolproof solutions.(1)
In this article I would like to focus on Manager’s contribution within the system as this is the main root from which grow out such issues like: perspective and development. The realities shape our vision of the surrounding world. Hence the way of perceiving the world is very individual and can be shaped through personal retrospective on achieved experience, knowledge and outcoming from them possibilities. The article presented below shows the way of development approachable for every Teacher – Manager as I firmly believe.
Manager’s contribution within the system
Through my college work I tried to find, with many ups and downs, the right balance in my personal contribution into the:
- teaching methods used by my teachers, recommended by me and expected by students
- books and teaching materials preferred by the students, but not always by teachers and vice versa
- teachers’ and students’ expectations
In all of three above mentioned issues I could not find the faultless managerial tools apart from talking and discussing with people which could enable me to find the right balance between the needed and the expected. According to Bhaskar, ‘the purpose of an experiment is to isolate one mechanism, which normally operates alongside others, so as to create a closed system where a given cause will always produce the same effect’(2) To do so my colleague teachers and I have prepared a model questionnaire for students, which was to enable us to check if our understanding – teachers and managers understanding of students participation in the programme is the same as the learners’ expectations. The questionnaire included the following questions:
Why are you on the language course?
What would you like to learn?
These two questions seemed to sound similar but the answers were in 85% out of a 100 questioned students different. As for the first one, there were reasons like having a better job, passing international exam, getting better mark at the A level exam. Then, for the second question, the answers were divided into two distinguishingly different groups. The first group of 68% answered that they would like to communicate fluently in the international environment and use English in their everyday life, whereas the second group of 38% was strongly motivated in learning grammar rules, doing tests and not wasting time on speaking because of the international and A-level exams assessment. Having the mixture of students in seven out of ten tested classes created a hard job for teachers where to put the right balance not having the students – College customers complaining and disturbing one another on the course. So the new system had to be created, which could enable both groups to become more motivated in developing all language skills and show the concerned students that not only separated skills play a role in their further language development but that all of the language skills are essential. The system or rather the new motivation programme was divided into two stages.
Teachers were asked to talk to students and lead that talk as an open discussion starting from asking questions on:
What do you expect from the course?
Where do you plan to use English?
And then going to more guided questions like:
Do you think that you will not need writing or speaking and why ?
How can writing improve speaking? (followed by an open discussion)
How can reading improve writing?
Why is proper usage of grammar essential in everyday talks / business talks?
What language is the most popular in business world?
What language is used in business and science documents all round the world? Could you provide some examples?
The discussions in particular groups took no more than 10 to 15 minutes and it was of a crucial role that teachers developed a relationship with the students in order to make them feel more relaxed and open as it is recommended and conducted in research methods in business studies (3)and finally to arise students’ interest in broadly understood language development. With arising students` interest through discussions, students could reflect upon the issues of language usage and register, development of different language skills and their needs known or not known to them. Moreover, research methods used for business studies proved to be the right tool not only for obtaining the feedback from the students but also as part of the educational and student language development instrument and that was also present in the second stage of the created EFL managerial practice.
(1) Burnes, B. (1996). Managing Change. London: Pitman Publishing, 46.
(2) Johnson, P., & Duberley, J. (2000). Understanding Management Research . London: SAGE Publications, 32.
(3) Ghauri, P., & Gronhaug, K. (2002). Research Methods in business Studies . Edinburgh: Pearson Education, 45-52.
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