Monday, August 21, 2017

What's Your Philosophy?

After my first seven-week session (full time) at CCLCS, the Standard I students had their TESL Canada certificates and all the practical tools under their belts that they would need to teach English at local "visa" schools or in places like Thailand, South Korea, and Costa Rica. After a seven-week break, I returned to Toronto for the remaining seven-week session that would--if I passed--make me an Ontario Certified English Language Teacher. We settled in to learn in more depth the history of the teaching of second languages, the various second language acquisition theories--from Krashen to Chomsky. We wrote research papers peppered with our newly gained lexis of the field: L1, L2, interference, comprehensible input, ZPD. We had heated classroom debates on whether the existence of certain words in a native language allowed the speakers to entertain the concept while NS of languages without the words were unable to think in the terms provided by the existence of the word itself.

I still remember how I answered an important essay question on an exam. The question dealt with which SLA theory or theories I found to have the most merit and how that might inform my classroom practice. I answered that I did not feel able to conclude with absolute certainty which theory was the "right" one, nor did I find them to be mutually exclusive. I found some merit in bits and pieces of many of them, and therefore I planned to take an eclectic approach to classroom practice.

And so I have.

I enjoy delving deeply into certain pedagogical works and authors more than others, but always like to make time during summer break and--to a lesser extent--throughout the school year for reading that (hopefully) makes me a better informed instructor.

How about you? Do you enjoy reading books whose target audience is comprised mainly of teachers of English as a second or additional language? If not, why not? Are you an auditory learner who prefers attending workshops or webinars and watching videos on YouTube? What other ways do you enjoy expanding your knowledge and improving your teaching skills and repertoire?

2 comments:

  1. Great post, Kelly! Well, like you, I use a variety of methods, methodologies, approaches and techniques to help my students learn to learn. However, the root of my work is love. Love is in the centre of my life and I do everything with it. Yeah, I know people usually don't talk about it in universities (at least in the ones I attended...), but that's who I am. :-) I keep updated watching videos of Paulo Freire, Viviane Mosé, Rubem Alves, Tião Rocha, Sugata Mitra, Sir Ken Robinson, Vera Menezes and many other educators around the world. I also read academic articles about education, applied linguistics and other fields related to education. I read about peace and conflict resolution too (my husband is taking a PhD program here in Winnipeg - that's why we are here). I like to participate of ESL and EFL teachers groups on Facebook. I discuss and learn a lot there. I like to use Twitter to learn too. Yeah, I think I do learn every day. :-)

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    1. Cintia,
      This response makes my heart happy. Thank you for reminding me that LOVE comes first. My TESL course did not bring in Freire with more than a brief mention. I think I will do some reading on my own. Thank you for all those names for me to investigate! <3 --K

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