As a teacher, I feel it is important to communicate my expectations and philosophy regarding the teaching and learning processes in second language acquisition. I view language proficiency as the ability to express oneself clearly, appropriately, and creatively in a variety of contexts. Therefore, I aim to prepare my students so that they have the tools necessary to make language their own through personal decisions of language use. By the end of each course, I hope that my students are closer to achieving “their academic, professional, social, and personal goals and [are able] to succeed in their daily L2 interactions” (Hinkel, 2014, p. 407).
I believe that my role as a teacher is to present the materials in a way that will be most advantageous for the students’ specific language learning goals. I set clear, measurable goals so that the students are able to evaluate their progress based directly on those goals and objectives. These goals will reflect high expectations for conduct and achievement both in and out of the classroom. This understanding of the students’ background and subsequent clearly articulated goals will help me and the students have unambiguous expectations that can be addressed candidly throughout the course.
In order to support those specific language learning goals, it is important for students to have clear, explicit instruction, as well as opportunities for implicit learning through exposure to authentic use of the target language. In order to provide this foundation for my students, I aim to establish a classroom culture that allows students to take responsibility for their own learning in a controlled and nurturing atmosphere. This classroom culture will also facilitate a safe, encouraging environment in which the students feel comfortable taking risks with the language. Another important factor in establishing this environment will be prioritizing the feedback I provide my students to be relevant, constructive, and focused.
I consider it my responsibility as a teacher to remove as many barriers in the learning process as possible. Progress is possible only if the student is willing and determined; however, I have the power to motivate through an individualized, goal-focused, flexible teaching approach. I want my students to learn the skills and tools necessary to succeed in real-life situations and be able to continue to improve their level of English after leaving their formal language education.
Hinkel, E. (2014). Culture and pragmatics in language teaching and learning. In M. Celce-Murcia, D. M. Brinton & M. A. Snow (Eds.), Teaching English as a second or foreign language (4th ed., pp. 394-406). Boston, MA: National Geographic Learning.