First, I enjoy teaching and tutoring, measuring success by feedback from colleagues, students, and parents. I hold degrees, credentials, and certificates for mathematics, social studies [economics, history, et al], computer science, and English. I have taught them all, in the US and abroad. The following remarks focus on English, but the approach is common to all my teaching and tutoring.
For English, I favor a cultural approach that references films, music, popular culture, and literature as well as grammar, pronunciation, and word choice. I stress reading aloud, to synchronize listening, speaking, reading, writing, and editing vocabularies. This synchronization brings quick benefits to students who previously had been unable to match spoken words with their written equivalents.
Next, having worked in many countries around the world, I have studied many languages, and appreciate the differences as well as the commonalities of language. As a writer on both technical and non-technical topics - including my "Fables to Read Aloud" and "Dissimilar Dragons, A Short Interpretation of English for Native Speakers of Chinese." I am especially conscious of the interplay of narrative and dialog.
Finally, as one who has studied and taught in many colleges and universities in the US and abroad, I can provide insights into what they expect and how they screen applicants through tests and written personal statements. Here following is an extended form of my personal teaching philosophy:
1. Every child deserves respect and encouragement from the students, staff, faculty, and management of the school he or she attends
2. Similarly, every teacher merits support as well as thoughtful criticism from faculty, colleagues, and - yes - parents. A teacher's views may not always be acted upon favorably, but a respectful administration - and parent - takes them into consideration.
3. In international schools, where English is often a second language, teachers bear the added responsibility of supporting development of English fluency - listening, speaking, reading, writing, and editing - while presenting and assessing a specific subject. My own practice is to mark all materials twice, first for grammar [ungraded] and second for subject matter content [graded]. I am gratified to observe that written skills - and vocabulary - improve along with subject matter knowledge. Indeed, one of the problems that I initially underestimated was that students do poorly on exams not just from ignorance of the subject material but from an ignorance of the ordinary vocabulary used in framing questions. As a practical matter, I require all students to bring their personal running glossaries to class, regardless of the source of the new words each student encounters.
4. Because foreign teachers have experience in foreign colleges and universities as students as well as teachers, they function as de facto advisors on such schools. In China, for example, far too many parents think that only a few schools in the US or the UK present competent programs. They fail to understand that the range of schools - particularly in the US - means that students need to do research and try to find the best fit, not just accommodate to the well-intended advice of family friends or business associates.
5. Inside the classroom - teaching from an American perspective - I expect the students to do the reading, raise questions on what they do not understand, and question what is unclear. As a lecturer, I do not expect to cover every point in the text, but rather to amplify what seems most relevant, based on my own experience as well as feedback from the students themselves.
6. Finally, I do not believe the classroom is a "zero-sum game." I encourage teamwork, both to make studying more efficient and to make the challenges more personal.
As for technology in the classroom, I am of two minds. On the one, I appreciate the use of PCs/MACs, Office Software [regardless of the brand], and the internet, to make assignments and responses unambiguous. On the other hand, I see the classroom as meriting a degree of spontaneity that can sometimes be restricted by over-heavy use of canned audio-video presentations.
As specific teaching experience, I taught many years part time while working as a global IT consultant. Most of that teaching was at the college or professional level. Full-time teaching includes: computer science teacher at Control Data Institute, [1973-1974]; visiting professor of computer science in South Korea [2003-2004]; English, mathematics, and computer-aided instruction in other subjects, Proviso [Illinois] West High School [2005-2007], CIE A-Level economics at the Nanjing Foreign Language School [2008-2010]; CIE A-Level economics, business studies, and English at the Qingdao Kaplan Centre [2011-2012]; and economics at the Shandong University of Science and Technology in Jinan [Spring, 2012].
Finally, my IT experience covers a wide spectrum including large system programming, global consulting, and applied software R&D.
Finally, my most valued credentials are the friendship and respect of former colleagues, students, and parents. I frequently receive email from former students now happily and successfully studying in the US, the UK, or Canada. Sometimes, they talk of personal growth and change; other times, they request a letter of recommendation. Often, it is a request that I review a critical paper or letter. I welcome them all. From my perspective, such correspondence reflects both my enjoyment of - and success with - teaching. My grandparents and parents were teachers; my daughter represents a fourth generation of teachers.
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