All entries for Monday 07 March 2022

March 07, 2022

What is your teaching philosophy? – Wenjing Gong

What is your teaching philosophy? How has this originated and can you evaluate how your educational touchstones will impact on the teacher you aspire to be?

My teaching philosophy has been profoundly formed and shaped by my touchstone. I was born and grew up in China, I started to learn English in Year 3, but l could not speak English until I entered University where I met the amazing teachers who totally changed my point of view in studying language. I am deeply inspired by their teaching methodology and passionately believe that the successful teaching in the language classroom lies in: positive classroom culture, cognitive engagement and academic achievement.

Creating a positive and engaging classroom atmosphere is one of the most powerful tools teachers can use to encourage children's learning and prevent problematic behaviours from occurring (Conroy 2009). I always greet and connect with each student individually at the beginning of the lesson, even if it takes a few minutes, it shows I see and care about them. Once we established a positive relationship with the class, we created a smooth path for our future teaching. The key to assertive discipline is catching students being good and letting them know you like it. (Lee Canter 1989) I take every opportunity to celebrate the joyful success of learning with students. I am very generous in giving praise in the classroom and providing positive homework feedback, as well as rewarding house points. For me, these are very powerful strategies for improving students’ learning and lead to greater motivation.

I still remember how hard I struggled to memorize all the grammar rules in high school. I was upset to see poor grades on examination papers after practising hundreds of question papers, let alone making a real dialogue. Influenced by my English learning experience, I believe the teachers’ role shouldn’t be just standing at the front of the classroom cramming details of grammar, but providing activities that engage students to apply the target language in communication and problem-solving. Inspired by Gardner’s multiple intelligence theory that people do not have just an intellectual capacity, but have many kinds of intelligence, including musical, interpersonal, spatial-visual, and linguistic intelligences (Howard Gardner 1983), I always present the lessons with pictures, videos, ICT tools, TPR, learning based activities to provide students with diverse and authentic Mandarin learning experience and carefully evaluate if the activities are the most effective use of the lesson time. “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” - Ben Franklin. Assigning pair work and group work is another effective way to motivate active learning and encourage peer teaching. Not only helping to build up team spirit and trust connections among students by engaging everyone into meaningful tasks but also developing their communication and problem solving skills.

Besides providing my students with a rich and enjoyable learning journey, I also set high expectations and apply meaningful differentiation to challenge their academic potential. Frequently, I build core, extension and extension plus tasks to ensure that I extend the most able student, meanwhile ensuring the core curriculum is accessible to all learners. Teachers have 3 loves: love of learning, love of learners and the love of bringing the first two loves together - Scott Hayden. I am very grateful to be a teacher. It brings me a lot of happiness and fulfilment to witness each student’s improvement in their learning joinery, which makes my life more inspirational and meaningful.

Reference List

Lee Canter, 1989. Assertive Discipline: More than Names on the Board and Marbles in a Jar. The Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 71, No. 1 (Sep., 1989), pp. 57-61

Maureen A. Conroy, Kevin S. Sutherland, Angela Snyder, Maha Al-Hendawi, Abigail Vo, Creating a Positive Classroom Atmosphere: Teachers' Use of Effective Praise and Feedback. Beyond Behavior, v18 n2 p18-26 Win 2009

Howard Gardner, 1983. Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. NYC: Basic Books

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