From my experience teaching students from culturally diverse backgrounds, varying in age and proficiency levels, I have discovered that the purpose of educating our youth is to produce individuals capable of functioning as mature, responsible adults in society. It is hoped that these young adults will contribute in a productive manner to that community in which he or she ultimately resides.
In order to produce individuals who will be productive and function successfully in society, I, as an educator, believe that I must challenge students in my classroom to perform at their utmost. In order to accomplish this goal, I attempt to incorporate into my curriculum content which will engage as many students as possible.
In reaching the majority of these students, I try to build on and further develop their current knowledge base while raising it to a higher level. In teaching foreign languages, I have found that by building on what they already know, their current knowledge base, I attempt to give them input which is one level above and beyond their current level. Thus, while attempting to develop and expand my students' knowledge, I build into my curriculum opportunities to employ the formula and concept proposed by Krashen of i + 1, input plus one level beyond the current level of knowledge.
In my attempt to apply this (i + 1) concept to the students' learning process, I incorporate listening, speaking, reading, and writing activities into the lesson plans. This process allows me to assess the learner's current knowledge base while expanding upon it. By providing input one notch above the learner's current level, I am challenging the student to function and perform at the next proficiency level. My role as teacher in the learning process is to provide opportunities for students to explore, discover, and identify their strengths and weaknesses. By challenging them to function at a higher proficiency level, I contribute to their exploratory process as they discover and develop their own capabilities.
In order to implement this teaching philosophy, it is my hope that the environment in which I am teaching and working is pleasant, safe, warm, peaceful, comfortable and conducive to learning so that we may focus on the task at hand, that of learning a foreign language. In this environment, students will be able to open themselves to the learning and discovery process. It is my intention that my classroom be free from racial prejudice and cultural bias so that each student has equal opportunity to participate and demonstrate his or her capabilities. As the teacher, it is my responsibility to provide this type of classroom learning environment.
In order to assess student learning, I employ various methods to determine student acquisition of material. These methods and techniques range from role-play dialogue performances to quizzes, tests, skits, reports, and conversational drills. Just as students' multiple intelligences must be reached in the learning process via development of the various senses (i.e. visual, oral-aural), so must the form of evaluation encompass individual strengths. For this reason, I employ a variety of assessment techniques.
It is my hope and intention that I work in conjunction not only with my students but also with my fellow colleagues toward the common goal of producing mature, responsible, capable young individuals prepared to experience the challenges that life has to offer them.