How My Personal Classroom Experiences Have Shaped My Teaching Philosophy
Teaching and learning are processes that go hand in hand with one another. Effective teachers are able to inspire and engage students with a desire to learn. They must be able to impart their abilities of learning into students in various ways. Through my personal teaching experiences, I firmly believe in establishing high, yet attainable expectations, creating a curriculum that is student centered, and providing real life experiences for students to help them grasp the concepts taught in the lesson.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Sarah N.
Classroom Management is the Foundation of Learning
Effective classroom management is more than being a strict or authoritative figure, it requires a structured learning environment in which certain behaviors are promoted and others are discouraged. Establishing an effective classroom management plan must begin at the start of school, and be consistently enforced throughout the school year. This is vital in developing relationships of trust, and upholding high expectations for learning behavior. In my personal teaching experience and observations of other educators, when an effective classroom management plan is set and enforced, students are more engaged and self directed in their learning. Students’ attitudes are very different when expectations and procedures are clearly communicated. Clear explanations involve modeling, practicing, and reinforcing until students have a deep understanding of classroom expectations.
Student Centered Lesson Content is Key
The content of lessons should be meaningful and should adopt a student centered approach. When students are more involved in designing their learning experiences, they have a better grasp of the goal of the lesson and are more attached to learning outcomes. Asking open ended questions, encouraging student collaboration and group projects, and providing students with self-reflection assignments are vital in teaching students to become inquirers, rather than passive learners. By adopting a student centered approach, teachers act as a facilitator as opposed to an instructor.
Interactive learning is a more hands on, real world process of relaying information in the classroom. Students are invited to participate in the conversation. You help students become learners who explore an open ended question with imagination and logic rather than recalling memorized information. Through effective communication skills, the teacher will be able to address students’ needs, interests, and engagement in the learning process. Students will become more independent in their learning and display accountability. In order for it to be considered a student centered learning environment, it has to be open, dynamic, trusting, respectful, and support the different learning styles in the classroom. Teachers need to introduce student centered instruction for increasing students’ motivation, promoting peer communication, building student teacher relationships, and promoting active and interactive learning and responsibility for one’s learning.
Also read: Guide to Writing Your First TEFL Syllabus
Real Life Experiences Make a Real Difference
Students should be given meaningful lessons and assessments that apply to their own lives. Students learn in different ways. By adhering to students strengths, students can be engaged and connect their preexisting knowledge to new concepts. By following a student centered philosophy that emphasizes hands on learning, students can discover concepts taught by actively participating in lessons. Using visuals and other forms of realia is helpful in connecting concepts taught in real life examples. Listening to the radio with students, providing magazines to read, taking field trips to restaurants, grocery stores, museums, and libraries are also great hands on experiences. By considering the needs and interests of the students in the class, it can garner motivation and engagement as students work to complete assessments.
Also read: The Good and Bad of Course Materials
Bring It All Together
Students should be challenged with a learning experience that is rich and meaningful, hands-on, and student centered. Students should be given clear expectations to abide by in the classroom and should be provided with a variety of different instructions in various ways. Providing students with visuals, extra materials, a peer partner, along with various other ways can support and motivate them to work for success. A student centered approach is key to providing opportunities for students to take ownership of their learning. Students will become inquirers rather than passive learners who merely memorize and regurgitate information. They can inquire deeply about the concepts they are learning in order to apply it to their own lives. By providing real life application and opportunities for students to display the understanding of concepts taught in the classroom, the teacher can help them make deeper connections and growth in their fluency.
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