I am always asked why I chose to change career paths and pursue teaching English to speakers of other languages. This is a short teaching philosophy that I hope answers that question. This philosophy is dynamic, not static, and I am sure that with time and experience, I will be able to refine and amend this philosophy to better reflect the teacher that I hope to become.
My Philosophy on Teaching
There have been many teachers during my education that have shaped my perception of what an effective teacher should be. From the fun-loving science teacher, Mrs. Schmidt, who made biology engaging and relevant to a small town teenager, to Dr. Starkey, who opened my eyes to new world philosophies and ideas through thoughtful discussion and community involvement. The teaching style that both of these teachers had in common was the care and consideration that they showed to the learning goals of every student, and this is what inspires my own teaching philosophy.
In my own second language learning, the main method of teaching used was audio-lingual, also known as the army method (not surprising since my teacher was a retired Navy instructor). I found this method to be ineffective, and possibly even detrimental to my early ESL learning. My preferred style of teaching is the direct method, primarily because my interest is in teaching students that are intermediate speakers. This method encourages the students to use their knowledge of the target language to effectively communicate in a classroom setting to be understood and to understand their peers.
My main objective as a teacher is to facilitate my students in learning lifelong skills that prepare them to function successfully in a globalized world. I hope to achieve this through effective teaching practices that engage them to develop critical thinking and processing skills. For any teacher to be successful in a TESOL environment, they must be thorough in engaging and understanding the needs of their students, as well as knowledgeable in their comprehension of English and the rules thereof.
My background in liberal arts directly informs my teaching style. Inspired from my own experience with teachers, my teaching method is a combination of discussion and empowerment through delegation. These two teaching methods seek to challenge student’s preconceived notions of what they know in order to push them to think critically and, through delegation, students become empowered to take their learning into their own hands, with guidance from the instructor.
The way I will achieve my teaching objectives is through the day to day interaction with the student, through the creation and implementation of curriculum that is designed to bring relevancy to the subject, as well as providing opportunities for students to express themselves and their ideas.
The personal rewards of teaching in a TESOL environment is observing the enrichment of students lives through their mastery of English, and how this mastery can help them become active participants in a globalized world. English learning to me is an opportunity for people to better their lives, make new friends, and ultimately, create less division in a world that seeks to highlight our differences instead of our similarities.