Many of my friends who teach English at schools might share the idea that generally Japanese students are passive in their learning. They might not complain whatever you do in class and just passively accept and get involved in activities reluctantly. This general notion captures the tendency of my students, aged 11 and above, however, as long as the young ones are concerned, they don't hesitate to tell me either explicitly or implicitly. Especially younger than 8, speak their mind so explicitly that the comments can sound even brutal. But the straightforwardness is what I really love about them and truly appreciate their feedback in spite of an instant rage or quite sharp heartache arise inside of myself as I receive such sharp criticism from children.
Of course there are some cases reflect just absolute selfish nature of some children and need to be informed that there are some occasions they might have to do things they don't really take pleasure so much. For example, not sharing color pencils with other kids that belong to the school, being an absolute sore loser in learning activities or being excessively violent/ wild physically or verbally to others in class. In fact, any abusive behavior with others shouldn't be allowed for any reasons. At the face of abusive behavior, a teacher as a safe learning environment facilitator, must immediately act to stop such nonsense and counterproductive behavior. A follow-up individual interview also need to be done sometime after class to investigate the causes in order to prevent such unpleasant situations.
However, when children express their displeasure or deficiency in the contents of my classes in a relatively civilized manner, such as a comment, "Oh...that's a kid stuff..." or a big sigh. The voice / sign should be taken seriously and appreciated for their sincere feedback. Yes, it is tough to face your failures especially when you tried to do your best. And also it is human nature that we upset by a negative evaluation and language teachers are humans who are extra sensitive to words. I bet I frown or show a disappointment as I take their criticism but hopefully children would forgive my immaturity and give me credit for the effort to facilitate better learning contents and environment. In fact, most of children I know are very forgiving and give me so many chances to modify things that don't work in class.
From this week, I will record the entire interaction with my students and see what the datas reveal. Whatever it would be, it would be a learning opportunity if I take it so, would it?