Teacher Diaries: Ms. Valencia – Teaching Philosophy

I believe that it is vital to immerse children in an environment that takes pride in the art of close reading, nurture them from a young age to appreciate the beauty of language and encourage them to articulate their thoughts.

Children live in a radically different world nowadays. Many learn to use the tablet computer before they could properly speak, and they are constantly bombarded with information. The ability to multitask is perceived as a survival skill. However, despite the technological advancements of the digital age, the habit of browsing online creates a vast array of problems, which adults are sometimes guilty of as well. People prefer big eye-catching pictures and headlines, and hesitate to read more than a few paragraphs. Attention span grows shorter, and fewer people actually manage to read a book from page one till the ending. In the context of Hong Kong, if you walk into any train compartment, you will notice that smartphones have replaced books as the primary source of entertainment. In a world where people speak in emojis, how many people actually engage with their reading material intellectually on a daily basis?

Close reading allows you to savour the words and read between the lines. If books are food for the soul, reading fiction books exercises your mind through imagination, whereas reading non-fiction books enhances your analytical skills and critical thinking. Reading is a powerful tool for self-discovery and transcendence, as well as a means to get to know cultures across time and space.

With the abundant resources at i-Learner, I am more than happy to share the joy of reading literature and nurture children into avid readers by equipping them with a comprehensive understanding of the foundations of the English language, such as grammar, poetic devices and frameworks for analyzing themes. With that in mind, children can read anything, be it seen or unseen, think deeply and stand out from the crowd.

Good writers are often good readers. There is a time for input and a time for output. Once children have acquired sufficient raw materials from well-written texts and poems, they will be able to construct sound arguments and create their own writing with great vocabulary. Like hurdles, the first few may be difficult to tackle, but soon everything becomes completely natural.

Writing takes practice, just like the way an athlete does training intensively. As time passes by, muscle memory develops, and confidence sky-rockets. Similarly, children’s English proficiency increases with practice. At i-Learner, I highly recommend Love to Write classes as we give ample opportunities for children to explore their potentials, meanwhile encouraging them to articulate their thoughts through writing.

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