Teacher Diaries: Mr. MacDonald – Teaching Philosophy
When it comes to teaching style, mine generally stems from the desire to nourish my students’ natural curiosity. Children learn most effectively when they’re happy and enjoying what they are doing. When I plan lessons I try to incorporate games and activities I know my students will find engaging because if they are excited about doing the exercises they are more likely to retain that knowledge, even subconsciously.
A student who is not engaged — or does not fully appreciate the subject — needs far more focus and active memorisation in order to hold on the same information. When one has a thorough understanding of a topic ideas around that topic flow more naturally. You can explore a topic in greater detail and then expand upon it. Thorough understanding, however, only comes when you are genuinely engaged and take a keen interest in the subject matter. This is where the challenge of being a teacher comes in – ensuring your students are engaged.
This principal is not just important as a student but is key as we all grow and develop in life. A friend of mine from the UK used to have a saying: “Everyday is a school day”. I took it to mean that we are all continuously learning and opportunities to expand our knowledge are everywhere. (Admittedly though, he was a teacher so every day for him was a literal school day.)
One advantage to teaching language to young students is that nearly everything is new to them. They are filled with questions about the subject matter which you can use to reiterate and reinforce the language points you want to focus on. I can tell when my students are engaged: its when they are most creative. I know that they’re using the knowledge I have given them and are expanding upon it in their own ways.
I have included a great TED talk video which illustrates some of these points about how important it is to engage students’ curiosity.