More Thoughts on My Philosophy of Teaching and My Teaching Practice

It’s been a while, a variety of distractions which I shan’t detail here have kept me away, but now with English camp over, I can resume this blog—at least for the time being…Anyhow, I have been doing multiple blog posts on topics pertinent to my “philosophy of teaching.”  I’ll continue on the theme, this time asking the hard question: how does my actual teaching align with my philosophy?”  Good question and to get more insight into this query, I may need to resort to actual data collection—but in lieu of that, I will rely on that all too fallible recording device: the human brain (the camera does indeed lie!).  I’ll detail what I feel are my strengths and weaknesses on the first four “tenets” of my teaching philosophy and close with a few comments and questions.

Philosophical Tenet

Strengths and Weaknesses

Service

Strengths: Some promotion through hidden curriculum methods (i.e. making slides for presentations which promote that orientation)

Weaknesses: Now that I think about it more, it would behoove me to walk around the class and clean up a little right before I leave the room.  That sends a good message of responsibility

Respect

Strengths:  I do my best to learn students’ names (my co-teacher provided me with a handy chart that has students’ names right underneath the picture for each grade!).  I will frequently incorporate little bits of knowledge I learn about students’ interest into the various worked examples as we go through the material and target language items.

Weaknesses:  Sometimes I have lost my patience in class.  Unfortunately I feel many of the factors influencing effective classroom management are beyond my control (I will not address this right now).  That being said, my response is under my control.  So, aggressive reactions to student behavior is unjustifiable. 

Community

Strengths: I have been able to establish a rapport with many classes.  I often have inside jokes with classes based on our shared personal experiences(such as communicating in broken Japanese with a few students before class begins in my high level 3rd grade class: bakayaro).  I go to classes several minutes early and attempt to have light chat with students (either in L1 or L2) prior to the start of class.  Students, due to their love of games (“today full time game”), are often put into teams…though convenient, that is the essence of community building.

Weaknesses: Students don’t have too much input into how the class is ran.  Recently, I have begun to utilize surveys, but frankly classroom management concerns limit my trust in students’ willingness to tolerate any shifts in my pedagogy.  I also have a tentative belief that my students aren’t to receptive to alternative methods of teaching (such as group work).  Thus, there is mutual frustration and on my part some degree of suspicion.

Anti-douchism (okay it’s time I drop the term, I hope this is the final time I type or write that neologism)

Strengths: I have a little acronym I say to myself, especially before lesson planning: PSOTA (personal state of the art), I strive to do my best in terms of lesson planning concerning my current state of knowledge and managing the constraints I face.  This has resulted in increasingly complex lesson plans—which I’m not sure have a beneficial impact on students.  Nevertheless, it may communicate this message: put forth a solid effort at whatever you are doing, which is at the core of a strong character in my estimation.

Weaknesses: I think I may slip into using Korean too often.  It’s easy, gives me practice, and students feign ignorance of basic English (who knows it may be more than feigning).  Next semester (I’ve already solicited my head co-teacher’s approval) I plan to spend the first two weeks coaching students on basic commands and phrases for the classroom.  Of course, no guarantees this will work, but it’s a start.

 

This introspection makes apparent that my behavior and beliefs are not entirely congruent.  I don’t think that is such a problem as long as one is willing to improve.  This exercise made me aware of a few steps I can take to improve my teaching.  Thus, as is my custom, I’ll close with two questions for my readers: where do you feel your beliefs and behaviors align the best in your pedagogy?  Where do you feel is the greatest discrepancy?

Cheers!

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About cmiller112

Teacher, Father, Jogger, Sleeper, Husband, (add extra label here)
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