Teacher Diaries: Mr. James – Teaching Philosophy
As I have experienced throughout my own language learning journeys and from previous English teaching experience, an environment totally immersed in one’s target language (English, in the case of my taught courses at i-Learner) is essential to acquire confidence in speaking, writing, listening and reading. I believe that an extremely effective method is to encourage students, even from the earliest stages, to express themselves using whatever words they know so far – no matter how few they may be – as this can subsequently be expanded when we encounter new vocabulary, grammar points and sentence structures.
Furthermore, language learning is a process of building upwards from concepts that we already know, and in our minds we create links between ideas and memories to retain new words. I aim to create the most engaging situations which forge these links in the strongest way, thus allowing students to remember what they learn most effectively for future use. This way helps students to feel comfortable thinking in English, and to be able to develop into confident and fluent speakers.
I am also interested in the idea that students learn extremely effectively from their peers, and that the classroom teacher is responsible for presenting the learning materials in engaging and interesting ways. For example, if a teacher presents vocabulary, model sentences and ideas relevant to a certain topic, students learn most effectively when they engage in debate and discussion with their classmates using these materials. iLearner’s small class sizes strongly favour learning in this way.
Although I always correct students when they make mistakes (and explain why what they said may be wrong), I aim to create an environment in which students focus primarily on fluid expression, rather than feeling held back by the fear of making grammatical errors.