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Teaching Philosophy

The teaching of languages is something that has always intrigued me; I find it incredible

that people can go from a set amount of information regarding their own language, and double or

even triple it by looking into and learning from other cultures whose own experiences with

languages are so vastly different. To be able to act as a catalyst so that others can learn about

languages and culture both drives me and dictates how I believe language should be taught.

I believe that classroom learning should simulate real life, and should provide

opportunities for students to use the language as they would in future settings. To perpetuate that,

I believe in fully immersive and conversationally driven learning. The classroom setting should

emulate and frequently reference the culture of the language, so students are surrounded by the

language and culture from the moment they enter. When being introduced to a language, students

need immediate and frequent exposure to allow them to reproduce the language and get used to

hearing and trying to understand it; to that end, I also believe most of class, from the very

beginning, should be taught in the target language. When students begin to grasp concepts, they

should be given chances to solidify them and advance through conversational practice with each

other, actively using the language rather than trying to actively memorize it, to build up a real,

working knowledge of the language.

Most problems with language learning, I believe, can be worked through in this way.

Linguistic anxiety, for example, is very prevalent is classes with frequent testing*1, and can be

caused when students use languages infrequently or outside of realistic context. When students

have a chance to communicate with other students at their level, they can overcome that with the

feedback given immediately when they can understand and be understood by others at their

level. This can also be taken into contexts outside of speaking.


An example is in writing. Writing teaching is often worried about because of its nature of

being boring for students. When you bring communication into it, however, students can see the

writing for more than a method for presenting book reports and summaries. An activity Ive

worked with is to allow students to write out a few questions they could ask any of their

classmates, then pair off with them. In their groups, they take turns asking questions and writing

out what their partners said, as in an interview. This can give students an opportunity to be

introduced to conversation slowly, while integrating writing; and it can go further from there

with similar activities allowing for deeper communication between students. That

communication can build into more communication, and can give students a chance to work

away their anxiety and really learn a language so it can be used as theyd like to use it.

The role I play in that is to facilitate learning by guiding students with authentic and

realistic input which they can then use in practice, and to keep students motivated so they can

keep moving forward at a good pace. Students can work with what theyre given, so as a teacher

its my job to give them the most useable information for them to build off; for that, I believe in

using relatable materials that could frequently be seen in the culture being learned about. Input

should begin with things that people are constantly exposed to, and should become narrower as

necessary as students peer into different topics; besides that, students should be guided to

material they can use specifically for their own linguistic interests. This ties into motivation;

when students feel as though theyre achieving their own personal goals, they can remain

motivated to learn more. On top of that, I believe enthusiasm and encouragement in the

classroom helps students learn; and as such, Id consider it my responsibility to encourage

students as much as possible to continue learning as much as they can.


Bibliography

*1ONWUEGBUZIE, A. J., BAILEY, P., & DALEY, C. E. (1999). Factors Associated with Foreign Language
Anxiety. Applied Psycholinguistics. Retrieved Nov. & dec., 2017.