my 6-thing-Philosophy for Teaching
Updated: Aug 7, 2018
Teachers are real people. (Yes, I know, what a shock!) And because of our uniqueness as human beings, we also have a uniqueness when it comes to why we do what we do. This post is all about my personal teaching philosophy. A code of conduct, if you like, or a map 🗺 that I like to use when guiding my students towards better proficiency in English or Spanish. If you're interested in finding out more about my style and approach as a language teacher and tutor, this is a great place to start!
thing #1: Exposure
Exposure for me is just another way of saying "get started." It's about getting straight to the point and actually listening to, speaking, reading, writing or playing around with the language itself as much as you can. Feel free to be creative (see thing#4) about how you go about it. We have so many fantastic resources at our fingertips with the internet now, that it's easy to mix things up and find different ways to expose yourself throughout the day, like this for example.
Sometimes it's easy to procrastinate for a long time by thinking about what you're going to do, planning a strategy, buying books, sharpening your pencils ✏️, sitting on the toilet playing a game on your iPhone... the list is endless. Don't get me wrong, a #goodplan is a good idea, but don't let that distract you from your real purpose for too long.
Thing #2: Make mistakes
Making mistakes is an incredibly important part of learning. When it comes to learning a language, mistakes can be embarrassing 😣 because when you're speaking out loud everyone can hear you when you stuff up! However, this can work to your advantage! I've always found that the most embarrassing mistakes I've made are the ones I remember for the longest.
As a teacher, I encourage my students to participate as fully as they can, and not worry when they make mistakes. They're a vital part of the #learningprocess, and nothing to be embarrassed about! Asking questions if you're not sure what's going on, admitting when you don't know and readily making mistakes are some of the best strategies you can use to make faster progress.
thing #3: Regularity
When it comes to practising, studying, revising, memorising and any language-learning task, #regularity is really important ⏰.
It's much more efficient to spend 10 minutes every day of the week doing something towards improving your language skills than it is to spend two hours on a Sunday night. Your brain learns by creating new pathways, and these pathways need constant reinforcement.
THING #4: Creativity
At first glance, it might seem that creativity doesn't have a lot to do with #languagelearning. Actually, I think creativity 🎨 is extremely important for learning.
Creativity is a way of making us see and experience things differently, and this helps us to remember things a lot more efficiently. Something that sticks in your mind, well... sticks in your mind! You can use your strengths to help you improve your weaknesses, or use things you enjoy to help you with things you find boring. For example, some of my students love art, so we try to use artistic means when memorising vocabulary or learning grammar.
Thing #5: Fun
Fun?! 🎉 Is it really possible to make learning fun?! Well, yes and no! As a teacher, I always do my best to make things as interesting and fun as I can (although arguably, making Spanish verb conjugations "fun" is one of the most challenging things anybody could ever attempt to do in life!).
However, it's not just my job to make things fun. I try to point my students towards what they are interested in, what is a bit different, and what might bring a sparkle to their eyes. But it is also the responsibility of the student to engage, involve themselves and mirror my enthusiasm for it all to work. One of the best ways I have found to make things we are trying to learn more 'fun' for my students is to reveal their relevance. We all enjoy learning things when we think they will actually make sense and help us in our lives.
thing #6: Perseverance
It's all very well trying to make learning as fun as possible but there comes a time when you have to face the fact that at times, learning a language can be really hard!
You're going to want to watch Netflix 📺 instead of learning your Spanish words. You're going to want to skip past those hard questions in the textbook. Going to the gym might even start to look appealing compared to tackling the #Spanishsubjunctive! But, when you start to get the feeling that something is just too hard, it might help to realise that this is the perfect time to polish your perseverance skills. Perseverance is a key ingredient for a happy, successful life and language learning is one of the optimal ways to improve it.
What is part of your philosophy for learning? Leave your comments below!