I have spent nearly half of my life living outside of the United States. In those many years I have worked, taught, studied, and lived in cultures from all around the world. For me, teaching languages is a way to bridge a gap between the culture of my birth and those in which I have lived. Using a shared language
we can explore the differences and similarities of our experiences, knowledge, values, skills and goals.
Both the physical and virtual classrooms provide teachers and students alike with an opportunity to embark on a journey of learning. A journey driven by students and guided by the teacher where understanding is arrived at through collaboration with others instead of simply listening to someone lecture on a topic.
These collaborations, between student and student, student and teacher, and student and content, are the reason I teach. They inspire and drive me help students gain new perspectives and further their knowledge of the language.
My studies and career have given me the opportunity to teach ESL
and EFL at both the undergraduate and graduate levels around the world. I have taught in private language schools for both children and adults and have taught K-12 in public schools. I have also spent time teaching in executive education and teacher training programs. I have taught courses focusing on the four skill areas as well as cross-cultural communication. Navigating these varied teaching environments has taught me to reflect and adapt my teaching to suit the needs of the students and the organizations. Students in my classes can expect to achieve the academic learning outcomes as explained in the syllabuses as well as using the language to explore their own cultures as well as others through inquiry and interaction.
As mentioned above the methods and strategies that I employ are adapted to suit the needs of the students and situation. That being said there are a few methods that I believe can be used in all settings with all manner of students. Firstly I believe in task-based instruction. Creating a task to achieve helps students to maintain motivation more than drills and exercises ever could. Tasks by their very nature are open and allow the students numerous ways to achieve them. Secondly I believe that using authentic materials adds a level of realia that can’t be found in textbooks. When put together, authentic materials used in a real-life task make the learning much more meaningful than simply completing exercises out of a workbook. Tasks and materials can be adapted to suit both traditional and non-traditional students alike.
Through the interactions between me and my students and my personal philosophy
and beliefs of teaching, I strive to develop the full potential of my students in their language learning. As a guide on their journeys of linguistic discovery, I hope that I can develop and foster skills in my students that will prepare them for challenges ahead in their personal, professional and academic lives. In the process, I also hope to continually broaden my own cultural awareness and understanding while I develop further as an educator.