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Before

entering the ESL/EFL classroom as an instructor, a person ought to have developed an awareness of their own teaching philosophy. This philosophy should serve the teacher well. It will give this instructor a list of guidelines that will aid them in teaching their class effectively. It is so important that I become consciously aware of the rationale for what I teach and how I it. As a seasoned professional in the middle of my career, my teaching philosophy has been informed by both my work experience and academic experience. When I first entered this profession, I had only a vague understanding of education and student learning. I was not aware there was a method or any guidelines to teaching. I thought that a combination of a lively teacher personality coupled with bright & snappy teaching material was the key. This notion was debunked during the completion of my Masters in TESOL. My teaching philosophy has grown considerably since then. My teaching philosophy first states that I need to understand the theories behind my profession and how I can apply them. I believe in a social constructivist approach to learning. Below are several important points related to my teaching philosophy: 1. Student rapport 2. The learners background knowledge & experience 3. Creativity of the student 4. Whole language approach 5. Teacher self-reflection I need to explain each of these points further below to show how they fit into my teaching philosophy. 1. Developing rapport in class Rapport is a key part of any class. Rapport deals with people-management. I believe once rapport is established, then the learning can take place. It acts as a bridge between the teacher and student. Also, it acts as a model of how people can relate between different levels of authority (i.e., students can relate to one another). Rapport-building both deals with individuals and the class as a whole. The teacher should build rapport with individual students. But he needs to engage the whole class and create a positive rapport that makes a positive classroom dynamic. 2. Learners background knowledge & experience It is true that all students enter the classroom with a wealth of experience and knowledge. As the classroom instructor, one of my primary roles is to discover and exploit this to further the students language skills. One way to discover it is by surveying their language needs and background experiences.

My very own teaching philosophy

I use this knowledge to encourage them to build on this background so that they can develop their language skills. 3. Creativity of the student From my experience with the classroom, the gift of creativity is often under- used or even undermined. If only half of a students creativity was used, her language learning would become sky-rocket. Therefore, I make students aware of this great pool of creativity and show them how to tap it. For example, when teaching writing, I help synthesize ideas from different sources and come up with different ways to paraphrase. 4. Whole language approach To me, the whole language approach means that language learning should be personally meaningful and relevant for each student (or group). This might mean that students interact with one another to help each other in learning. One example of this is with peer feedback in essay-writing. During pair- discussions about essay feedback, students evaluate each others essay and see language as something they can learn together (not just in isolation). 5. Teacher self-reflection A continuous process of teacher self-reflection is one of the best ways for professional development. This is a foundation of my professional practice. This self-reflection can take many forms. One form is reflecting on ones own practice in isolation. Another form is connecting it directly with lesson planning. This ensures that lesson plans maintain the highest quality and my teaching continues to improve. All these factors that make up my personal philosophy work together in a complex web of interaction. This web helps me strive to become a better teacher who helps students develop themselves (in terms of language learning and, perhaps, learning how to learn). I know that this philosophy of mine keeps evolving as I learn more about myself and my classroom.