Based on random yet connected thoughts about why I do what I do when I teach.
Philosophy of Teaching – Teaching Fundamental Level Upgrading English/Math
Creating a safe and supporting learning environment is critical to students at all levels, especially at the Fundamental level. Using active learning strategies such as collaborative peer review and peer mentoring helps students to become involved in their class learning community, their learning process, and their self-assessment. Most of these students have experienced some form of learning disability or challenge, which may now affect how they learn and perceive learning. When one method doesn’t work, another method needs to be offered, until the concept/content is learned. This requires patience, empathy, and a variety of teaching techniques and resources to teach each student individually.
Supporting students in proceeding at their own pace allows them to maximize their learning time. Students who already know the concepts/content and only need to review (“this is easy”) are encouraged to individually fast-track through each level, so they can move up to Intermediate as soon as possible. Students who used to know how to do the concepts/content but have forgotten (“this is hard”) often just need to practice more; asking and helping each other is encouraged. Students who never learned the concepts, content, and applications (“this is confusing”) are the ones who need the most direct teaching.
Helping students deal with subject and test anxiety is critical to student success; marking tests as soon as possible with the students helps them to learn what was “easy, hard or confusing” for them. Re-teaching what is confusing during the marking of the test helps students to relate with their mistakes right away and helps to reduce their anxiety of waiting for their test results. Tests are used to help the students find out what they know and don't know, so they can tell the teacher what help they need to continue. Developing and including reflective and active learning activities to support ongoing self-assessment is essential.
Introducing students to the learning process and how to effectively study helps them to reduce their anxiety and achieve success. Teaching students about the “3Ms: mindset, mindfulness and metacognition" prepares and allows them to embrace change and dis-connect from past “mis-learning” behaviour, so they can pursue and re-connect with effective foundational learning habits. Also, teaching students how to use the technology needed for course work and where to find resources helps reduce “tech-stress” and prepares them for future courses.
Empowering students to become independent, self-directed and self-assessing students is the basis and goal of effective teaching.Always open to suggestions for improvement for "Out of confusion comes clarity".