"A different language is a different vision of life” Said Federico Fellini the Italian film director. This statement sums up well one of the main principles my teaching philosophy is based on: teaching a language goes beyond teaching how to communicate in that language. Learning a language gives you the opportunity to step inside the mind and the culture of thatlanguage. It is about broadening your horizon and opening your mind. As a teacher I always try to communicate my passion to students and instill in them that learning a foreign language is a lifelong skill that will indeed make them grow as a person. I believe that being enthusiastic and being passionate about your subject matter makes a tremendous difference in teaching and facilitates generatingthe learner’s interest.
My teaching methods
1. Create a conducive learning environment
Create a learning community in which students feel safe and comfortable is essential to them reaching their full potential and being active learners as opposed to passive learners. I have been able to experience that students learn better when they feel that the teacher genuinely cares about them andis sensitive to any kind of “distress” they might experience. Equally important is the need to be able to learn about students’ individual needs and learning styles. Indeed, knowing about each individual helps make the teaching content relevant and relatable to every student in the classroom. I always share my own experience as a second language learner to show my students I can relate to them,and it always has a positive effect on affective filter and on their performance.
2. Maximize the use of the Target Language
Ideally, the class should be an immersion experience for learners. As Brandl and Bauer (2002) have shown, Students themselves show a preference for an extensive use of the Target language. I have experienced myself that students make more progress and are morewilling to use the language themselves when they see it being used by the teacher. Yet it is essential that the teacher always makes sure he is being understood. When I am using the Target Language my goal is to serve as an example but also to show students they can actually understand someone speaking in the Target language. So making sure they are following me is as important as using the language.In my experience I have noticed that, at first, students are usually reluctant to use the Target language but I believe that getting them in to the habit from the beginning and systematically encouraging them to try to answer in the Target Language is crucial. For example, I always greet students in the Target Language as they come in the classroom; I give them instructions and explain new words inthe Target Language. Progressively students do become more comfortable and some of my students actually end up taking the initiative to use the Target Language inside or outside the classroom.
3. Planning is vital
A good lesson starts with planning. Planning undeniably is what helps the teacher to “resolve problems and difficulties, to provide a structure for a lesson, to provide a mapfor the teacher to follow and to provide a record of what has been taught” (Richards 1998, p.103). It is also essential for each lesson to fit into a broader long-term goal. As important as it is to plan each lesson it is also crucial to have long-term goals that you share with your students at the beginning of the semester. Knowing where you are heading also allows you to plan each lesson inaccordance with what you want your students to be able to do at the end of the semester. I have found it even more effective to involve students by asking them what they want to be able to accomplish. Throughout my experience I have come to realize that the more time I put into preparing my lessons, the easier it gets for students to learn during the lesson or the semester. Besides, planning also...