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Philosophy of Teaching & Learning

My philosophy of teaching and learning has been molded and remolded my entire life, between different

schools and teachers and systems of learning. Though I’m sure this philosophy will take new forms year

after year, there are some basics that serve as the foundations to my professional perspective. Although

I’m joining the profession because I love the subject I teach, I’m also joining because I had experiences

with my own teachers, who genuinely cared for me and made me feel seen and heard, that I wish to

replicate in a classroom of my own. The values that I carry with me from these experiences include

strong personal connections, students’ ability to independently and fearlessly produce the language, and

teaching methods that both motivate learners and create true understanding of the content.

Creating personal connections with every student and fostering a sense of community in my classroom

are vital components of my teaching practice. I strongly believe in leaving no one behind, and there are

various ways that I can let students know I’m here for them. Simple gestures like remembering students’

birthdays and the things that make them smile come easily to me—but it is the more difficult work, like

approaching a student who seems down or who I know is going through a hard time, that really counts

in the end. This is the work that made a difference in my own education, and I will continue to be the

cheerleader my students need not only by checking on them, but by giving them frequent positive

feedback for good or improved effort, celebrating the achievements they accomplish both in and outside

of my classroom, and letting them know with verbal praise or personalized notes when they have done

something especially well.

It is my desire to create an environment where students care more about language mastery than they do

about getting perfect grades on each assignment, as this attempt at mastery begets personal

achievement. They are already used to rote memorization of facts for science or history or math, but

language is interactive and should be handled as such. I happily encourage mistakes and fearlessness in

my classroom, because there is no better way to learn than by putting yourself out there and embracing

failure. This culture of resilience is cultivated by giving positive reinforcement for every attempt at
communication, as many students count themselves out once they’ve made an error in front of others.

Students are also made aware that I, too, make mistakes in the target language, but that I see each

mistake as an opportunity to improve my skills. Communicative interactions are facilitated with my

guidance, like starting class with a habitual activity called Dime, dime! in which students use either

written or verbal communication to answer a prompt, and keeping that momentum going throughout the

class period by using popsicle sticks to call on every student by the end of each class period for various

tasks like sharing the answers to a worksheet or explaining what they know about a grammar point.

Additionally, paired and group speaking exercises are commonplace so that they can experience growth

as a team. There is no better way to learn a language than by speaking it with others!

While I am a self-proclaimed grammar nerd, I am aware that many world language educators are making

the shift towards Comprehensible Input (CI) classrooms that value vocabulary comprehension over

explicit grammar instruction. I believe in giving students the best of both worlds! While I do utilize explicit

instruction, I have also made use of CI methods with books like Robo en la noche by Kristy Placido and

Soñar un crimen by Rosana Acquaroni, as well as modified Integrated Performance Assessments (IPAs)

that check comprehension of various texts like videos, infographics and news articles. I believe that

Comprehensible Input is a wonderful way of motivating students to absorb and work with the target

language because it can easily be achieved with themes that are relevant to their lives, and there are a

variety of text types to work with. I use this method in tandem with grammar instruction partially

because I just think grammar is fun, but also because it is important that my students understand the

rules of the language. In the long run, I truly believe that they will be better for this combination of

methods.