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Philosophy of Teaching Statement

Shimeng Chen (Rainie)

UCR Extension: TESOL Portfolio

Instructor: Erin Emiko Butler


It is common in China that students fear to speak or cannot speak English clearly to

express their viewpoints, even though some of them are good at listening, reading and writing

and always achieve high grades on tests. Furthermore, some teachers concentrate on teaching

students how to pass the exams rather than teaching how to gain knowledge. Over the course of

my fifteen years as an English learner, my teaching and learning experience has allowed me to

develop a teaching philosophy that is communicative and learner-centered. I am going to

contribute my effort to create positive learning environment for students and improve learners

self-esteems. More importantly, I will lead my students to overcome their weaknesses as well as

develop their strengths.

My role as an EFL teacher is to enable students to figure out the best way of second

language acquisition. To specific, I wish to improve students language competency by finding

out their specific learning styles based on individual differences. Brown (2014) states that one

dimension of learning style is the preference that learners show toward visual, auditory, and/or

kinesthetic input. As a result, my work is to identify the students learning preferences, and

make corresponding teaching programs. For instance, I would send a questionnaire to students

and then I would like to categorize different learning styles for different individuals, after which

I will search and find appropriate authentic materials in order to make students feel comfortable

and obtain knowledge well. Specifically, if I plan to teach 300 level students how to organize a

story, I will divide my students into diverse stations, and they have different tasks based on the

same story given. Colorful images about the story will be prepared for visual learners, and

auditory learners will read the story aloud to others while kinesthetic or physical learners are

encouraged to be actively involved in writing down notes. Afterward, they do a group project, in

which the groups would include visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners, to figure out the main

parts of the story by their own methods and share to the class.

In teaching, one of a teachers missions is to create an effective learning circumstance for

students. According to Barkley (2010), a positive learning environment means that a student

feels comfortable, has a sense of rapport with their teacher and peers, and believes they can be

successful. A positive learning leads to endorphins in the blood which in turn gives feelings of

euphoria and stimulates the frontal lobe. In my mind, a favorable learning context looks like an

English club. That is relaxing and interesting, but still beneficial for students. Students would

have freedom to talk actively in English, and during this period, teacher could teach them the

content in context without overt grammar instruction. Once this kind of learning atmosphere is

created, students motivation may strengthen accordingly so that they will come to like learning

English autonomously, which will improve their language skills.

As a result of many years of learning experience, I realized the importance of self-esteem.

Brown (2014) highlights that teachers can have an affirmative influence on not only the

linguistic performance but also the emotional well-being of a student. According to my teaching

philosophy, I will try to improve learners self-esteems. Students should have a positive mindset

and believe that they have the capabilities to successfully perform an activity. In other words,

students should consider that they can learn and master each new concept, and I, as a teacher, am

supposed to encourage my students. In a class I observed, some students didnt finish their

homework since they failed in a writing test last week; however, the teacher gave them one more

chance to continue the assignment and attempted to let them build self-esteem, in particular, task

self-esteem by saying Try it. Dont be afraid of writing. rather than criticize them directly. In

my future career, when students are afraid to speak in class or fear giving presentations, I would

say You can do it. Believe yourselves. You are smart.

There are many teaching theories and specific methods being used in teaching EFL

students, and I will focus on the Learner-centered Teaching and the Communicative Language

Teaching as well as using the Audio-Lingual Method. I want to combine the Communicative

Language Teaching with the Audio-Lingual Method. One common activity in Communicative

Language Teaching is role play, so I would, for example, use the Audio-Lingual Method to read a

dialogue with certain target forms and expressions, and let students repeat after me. Next, I

would present a number of substitutional word phrases, and then ask students to add at least two

new related word phrases. Later, when they are familiar with the dialogue and target expressions

as well as the substitutions, they are instructed to create new dialogues wiht target forms, and do

role-plays to show their own dialogues. In this case, when repeating the lines of a dialogue, the

students learn how to pronounce each words from the teacher, and according to the students

pronunciation, the teacher makes a clear view that whether the students can master the

enunciation or not. Additionally, during the period of role-play, the learners communicate with

their partners as well as sharing opinions. Hence, I maintain that the interactions between peers

and teacher are obvious, and students will have more opportunities to communicate and practice

what they learnt.

When I focus on students, I get to know about my students well: their goals, motivations,

interests, backgrounds and especially weaknesses, and thus, I can find appropriate ways to help

them to overcome challenges and to succeed, which are my goals. In order to achieve these aims,

on the one hand, I will pay attention to lesson plans based on students needs, choosing

appropriate materials. If students want to work in a company after graduation, I may concentrate

on selecting topics which pertain to business to teach; if students prefer to get further education, I

might focus more on academic reading and writing. Moreover, activities as well as exercises in

class need to be sufficient and suitable. On the other hand, I will devote myself to student-teacher

interaction that will encompass error correction and reflection. It is acceptable to make mistakes

yet it is also important to correct errors, no matter what the form; that is, mistakes could be

corrected by peers, teachers, or learners themselves. Furthermore, I understand that it is

significant for a teacher to teach students with effective methods and skills so that they are able

to receive the right information throughout their learning. Reflecting on teaching, a method for

self-assessment, is a way to become aware of how the teacher teaches. Therefore, for reflection, I

would ask observers, especially my students for feedback, i.e., what works well, or which part of

the lesson needs to be changed, and I would also be willing to give feedback to my students so

that they can know what they do well and what mistakes they make.

Following this learner-centered teaching philosophy will help me grow in my love for

teaching and learning. Teaching is an art, and ones teaching philosophy must be based on the

benefits for students development. Consequently, I, by sharing my passion for teaching and

learning, can connect with my students, and help with their education.


Barkley, E. F. (2010). Student Engagement Techniques: A handbook for College Faculty. San

Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Brown, H. D. (2014). Principles of Language Learning and Teaching, 6th edition. NY: Pearson

Education Inc.