Teachers make a significant difference in their students’ lives. Teachers convey knowledge, inspire students with a positive attitude toward education and can successfully empower them to be lifelong learners. With this message in mind, my teaching philosophy revolves around making a positive difference in my students’ lives. I value the opportunity to work with my students and I make every effort to make their time spent in class productive; to leave them with a great experience that encourages them to come back with the urge to learn, practice and succeed.
Being a student before pursing my career as a language instructor influenced my teaching philosophy greatly. I entered this profession with an understanding of what students mostly want from their educators. Some of these needs are clear objectives, guidance and smooth mechanism running the classroom. In order for the teacher to provide such needs, I believed that he or she must have a clear goal and understanding for their curriculum contents and structure. That’s why my teaching philosophy starts with me and my students’ learning goals, then I work backwards to analyze these goals, then structure my lesson plans and enrich my curriculum with useful materials geared to serve and achieve these goals. I believe that this “working backwards” approach keeps a clear map to both teachers and students for the expected accomplishments.
I believe that teaching foreign language in particular needs some essential elements that can ensure its success and productivity. A good start to establish these elements is inside the classroom where it can be initially introduced to the students under the supervision from the teacher. One example of these elements is the collaboration and communication among students inside the classroom. It is very important for the students to be encouraged to use their target language with their peers. In my opinion, foreign language classes should not be lecture type of sessions. Foreign language teachers should facilitate the use of the language in a very welcoming environment that encourages students to communicate and practice their linguistic skills. This practice is the first step for the language students to enter the immersion phase, where they can communicate with the native speakers of their target language.
Feedback is another important element in the foreign language learning process. During communication practice, I believe teachers should provide positive and constructive feedback to their students without discouraging them to continue participating in classroom discussions. My favorite method of providing feedback is by modeling. I use some explicit feedback mostly when approaching the whole class and not one particular student. I treat my classroom as a team with a mutual goal to ensure unity and collaboration. In addition, I often use my personal experience in learning my second language with my students; to inspire them to consider errors as a step forward toward mastering any skills. I remind them that we all learn something new every day by working together. I also think that students should be encouraged to only use modeling when they give feedback to their peers. I found that in adult education classrooms higher then K-12, students occasionally neglect some etiquette and approach their peers using poor manner, which affects the atmosphere of the classroom. In my classroom, I take the responsibility of providing a safe environment for my students, to make them feel secure to practice while receiving a constructive feedback that helps them achieve their linguistic goals.
In many circumstances, I find the language teacher is the student’s first resource in acquiring the target language. That being said, I believe that the language teacher should provide the students with the most authentic language materials that introduces the students to the real language which they will encounter outside the classroom and in real life situations. One of the best ways to reinforce the language’s authenticity in class is to integrate culture based content within the curriculum. Learning about the culture of the target language improves the students’ ability to use their language skills more accurately and in the right situations. If I’m not able to take my students to field trips in an effort to embed the culture element into my curriculum, I often try to transform the classroom to part of the country of the target language. If we are not able to travel to Egypt or Lebanon , I work with my students to bring it within the classroom wall. Food, art, music and sports are great resources to learn and immerse into the target culture.
As my teaching philosophy revolves around my students and their goals, I also like to give great attention to the program’s administrative team. Open communication and feeling united is the key to the team’s success. I believe that when the students are working within a highly efficient system, it can enhance and positively impact their achievements. I trust that by working closely with the administrative team, teachers can have the support in upgrading their language programs’ resources and dynamics.
Whereas I teach my students a foreign language, I continue to gain new knowledge and experience every day; either from my students or from continues professional development efforts. I make sure these gains reflect on my teaching philosophy and bring only the best tools and possibilities to help my students succeed and achieve their language learning goals.