Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I’ve never given much thought to the idea that a good teacher should also be an “illustrator”, but perhaps I should. First of all, an illustrator clarifies by using example or comparisons, and surely this is what I should do in my classroom work. No matter what lesson I’m teaching, I need to focus on making it as clear as possible to the students, and an effective way to do this is by using illustrations. If I can show them a model of what I’m talking about, or compare it to something already familiar to them, I have a better chance of bringing understanding to them. Another way I can be an illustrator is by serving as an example or comparison for the students. Instead of showing the students a model, I can be the model. For instance, if I want to teach my students to be neat and organized in their work, I can be neat and organized in mine, thus illustrating the behavior that I want to encourage in them. It’s instructive that the word “illustrate” comes from the Latin root meaning “to make bright”. So much of what I try to teach my students must seem utterly “dark’ to them at the start of the lesson, and my task is to shine a light on things. Perhaps I could put it this way: I need to put a little “luster” on my English lessons, and I can do this by being a good illustrator.

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