My teaching philosophy
I have always considered myself as a cultural bridge by teaching English to Japanese. I believe that my responsibility as a teacher is to provide students with a set of useful tools for using English, to help them understand the English they might encounter in their lives in Japan or abroad, and to motivate students to further explore and expand their interests in the language and culture. My belief is that the students’ own interests are the best catalyst for learning. Therefore, in my teaching I try to cater to the students’ needs while focussing on the material that needs to be covered. My goal is to nurture life-long learners of the English language and culture.
The following points of learning and teaching English are essential to me:
Balance / Structure / Flexibility
I believe that students gain most in a learning environment that balances structure and flexibility. It is important to have organized and clearly sequenced materials that build on what the students have already learned. Once the students have a good foundation, they can and are encouraged to build on what they’ve learned and to draw from their own interests and pre-existing knowledge. I know that in junior high school they learned a lot from their Japanese English teachers, and I often call on that foundation. Easy explanations supported by practice and repetition help solidify the basic concepts and skills. I strongly feel that the structured part of the lesson should always be followed by a less structured part, usually in the form of pair work, and/or group activities like games.
Fun and Friendly Atmosphere:
I believe that it is important to provide a fun and friendly atmosphere that is conducive to learning. A classroom is a learning community. Providing students with a learning environment in which they feel comfortable hearing and using English makes the lessons go more smoothly. I periodically incorporate games to review material and use language in new situations.
Development of original materials:
Original materials have allowed me to create lessons that are, first, easy to perform, second practical and useful with real life situations and language and, third, enjoyable for the students. Facility is very important to me. It is important that a lesson be simple and straightforward enough to be performed as smoothly as possible.
Encourage students’ use of English in context:
One of my goals in teaching is to maximize student-talk in English. I do this by helping students understand when they can use certain English expressions and by helping them develop strategies and confidence in effective communication. Rather than giving homework the focus of my lessons is on partner speaking activities: groups of two-to-four. I can see and hear their performance immediately.
Teaching is a constant challenge and learning experience for me. I will continue thinking and building on what I have learned in order to teach English effectively. My goal as a teacher of a foreign language and culture is to direct students towards mutual understanding through language learning and discussion. My primary role as a teacher is to nurture the students to build good relationships across cultures and among one another.