Principles underlying my teaching
I am currently applying for a Delta module 3 course, and one of the requirements is to write about principles underlying your teaching. There is a 750 word limit and you have to mention examples from your own teaching experience. So, I started thinking about that and it is not very easy to write a short summary of the things you think make for good teaching. So, here is what I consider the most important principles (and part of the essay :).
A teacher should always be willing to learn:
I have a BA in English, a M.Ed in Tesol and have passed modules one and two of the Delta. I have attended webinars, I like attending conferences and have presented at a few. I do this because I like to learn. I believe that teaching evolves, there is always a new idea or technique out there, and a teacher should always be willing to learn and try out the new things she has learnt. I am a firm believer of CPD, because when I do the same things over and over again, I get bored. I also think that learning helps me approach my teaching differently and when I notice that something is not working I can read up on it and try something else. So, learning something new may give me a new idea; make my lesson more interesting and enjoyable for my learners and me.
A teacher should have a good rapport with her learners:
I think that students learn better when they have a good relationship with their teacher. What I mean by good relationship is that they feel free to ask questions, they are not afraid of making mistakes and taking initiatives. They come to class happily. I recently asked my EAP students what they think makes a teacher boring, and they said they like their teacher to be funny, friendly and tell stories about her/his life. I totally agree with this. I do like telling my students stories about what I did on the weekend, for example, and I like to make them laugh when I can. I want my learners to feel free to take risks with the new language and not be afraid they will embarrass themselves.
A teacher should know her learners’ needs and adapt her teaching:
I really think that there is not just one way to teach something, and that a teacher should be willing to adapt and be versatile. I approach teaching vocabulary or grammar to children differently than when teaching adults. With children I often try to make it fun, with adults I try to connect it with their needs and explain how and when they will need to use something. I also think that when a lesson not working, I need to change it. . When I see that my students have not understood something, I try to find different ways to help them. If one task is not working or an explanation is not good enough, I need to find another way. I often have to stray off my lesson plan with my BE students who do not feel like having a grammar lesson after a very long meeting. They sometimes just want to have a conversational lesson. So, I do that. I change my lesson to suit their needs. My learners’ needs always go first.
Pair work-group work:
I think learners learn better when they do things in groups or pairs. I like mixing up groups and pairs as well. I do this so that all my students have the chance to learn and work with another student. I also think this is a good way for shyer students to make friends and for strong students to help weaker ones. Jigsaw reading tasks and lots of pair speaking tasks, for example, are often parts of my lesson plans whilst when I teach EAP, I often set up study groups or group presentations.
The most important principle is this one though: a teacher needs to love teaching. I love it. I have been doing it for as long as I can remember. If you do not love teaching, you can’t teach.
So, what do you think? What principles underlie your teaching? What makes for a good teacher in your view? Feel free to comment in the comments section : )
Till next time........