Some educators state that old teaching practice is much better than the current teaching practice but some others say on the other way round. Both of them have their judgments based on their own perceptions. Their perceptions can be true for some extent but the following characteristics are common practices the past.
Teacher-centered activity is very dominant in the old teaching practice. The teacher is the centre of attention as he is the only main actor in the class. The teacher dominates the talk, time, and is more authoritative and active. However, his activity belongs to level learning activity, according to Biggs (2003), and is also called surface learning. In this activity Biggs (ibid) and Glasser (1998) mention that learners are involved in note-taking, seeing, hearing and memorizing.
In the activity, teacher tries to transfer his knowledge. Learners tend to become recipients of knowledge being transferred. There is little attention or consideration whether the learners are able to accommodate the knowledge being poured. Harden and Crosby (2000: 335) describe teacher- centered learning strategies as the focus on the teacher transmitting knowledge, from the expert to the novice. The most important thing is that he is able to pour the whole knowledge for a certain period of time. Unluckily, much knowledge flows over out of learners’ brain capacity.
As recipients, learners feel that there is a little personal contact with the teacher. The teacher is busy teaching and gives the learners very little opportunities to respond and comment on what is being taught. Learners are ordered to sit nicely and quietly. This makes them like statues that can not move and become passive, bored or nervous. Malcolm Knowles in Burnard (1999) describes the traditional environment where is this ‘so-called educational atmosphere, students become passive, apathetic, and bored’.
Teachers who are not creative tend to become slaves of books. They just follow what are in the books rigidly. Their goal is to finish the content of the book. They do not care whether the lesson is interesting or how far the learners can follow or understand them. Motivated and bright students will explore what they need by themselves but less motivated, not enthusiastic, and slow learners will feel frustrated and give up.
Source: Leo, S. 2013. “A Challenging Book to Practice Teaching in English”. Yogyakarta. Penerbit Andi