Oh, for more time before now... Now that I have added more of a personal touch, I feel like I'm on a rant at some educational/political rally, asking for more free ABE and more student funding, or taking an oath before I enter my class at the beginning of each new term.
Philosophy of Teaching – Teaching Fundamental Level Upgrading English/Math
I believe that Adult Basic Education (ABE) is a human right for those who have yet to develop their literacy, numeracy, and technical/computer skills to the level required for meaningful citizenship and achievable employment. As an ABE teacher, it is my responsibility to create a safe and supportive learning environment for all students in my classroom, where my students will become successful members in our learning community and therefor feel valued and validated for who they are now and for who they can potentially become.
I respect and respond to my role as my “learners’ learner”. Teaching is about my students learning and about me learning how to better teach my students. This requires my patience, compassion and a variety of teaching techniques and resources to teach each student individually. This is critical to student success at all levels, especially at the Fundamental level. Most of these students have experienced some form of learning disability or challenge, which now may affect how they learn. I encourage my students to learn about how they learn, so they can develop effective learning and study skills. Introducing students to the learning process and how to effectively study helps them to reduce their subject and test anxiety and achieve success. When I teach my students about the “3Ms”: mindset, mindfulness and metacognition, this 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. When one method doesn’t work, I need to look for another method to offer, until the concept/content is learned. By using active learning strategies such as collaborative peer review and peer mentoring, I am empowering my students to become involved in their class learning community, their learning process, and their self-assessment. My success as a teacher is a reflection of my students’ success. Developing and including reflective and active learning activities to support ongoing self-assessment is essential. Having started with severe computer/tech anxiety to teaching online myself, I teach and support my students in learning how to use the technology needed for course work and where to find resources, which will help reduce “tech-stress” and prepare them for future courses.
I empower my students to be responsible for their learning progress. Students who already know the content and only need to review (“this is easy”) are encouraged to fast-track through each level, so they can move up to Intermediate as soon as possible. Students who used to know how to do math but have forgotten (“this is hard”) often just need to practice more. Students who never learned the concepts, calculations, and applications (“this is confusing”) are the ones who need the most 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 results. I believe test are to empower students, not give all the power to the teacher. I teach my students to use tests as a learning assessment, so they can tell me what they know and don't know and what I need to re-teach them.
I believe empowering my students to become independent, self-directed and self-assessing members in a supportive, safe learning community is the basis and goal of effective and rewarding teaching.
Out of time....out of confusion comes clarity. Feedback is always appreciated.