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Shawn Ford
SLS 690: Teaching Practicum
Fall 2001


Note: The following article was written as the final project for SLS 690, instructed by Professor Graham Crookes of the Department of Second Language Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Please pardon any errors or omissions. Refer to the References section for additional information on the topic.

Personal Philosophy of Teaching

In the following paper, I will try to put into words my developing personal philosophy of teaching. I add the word “developing” because I believe that as a novice teacher, I am beginning to realize my own pre-existing beliefs and values regarding education and teaching as I formally acquire the theoretical and pedagogical foundations of the teaching profession itself. Each new course, reading, and discussion has potential to influence my philosophy of teaching. Therefore, instead of discussing my “personal philosophy of teaching”, perhaps I should discuss my “dynamic philosophy of teaching”.

I have decided to divide my philosophy into sections that seem somewhat logical to me. I will begin by discussing my personal experiences as a learner in the public education system and as a life-long learner, and how my experiences have shaped my philosophy of teaching and learning. Next I will address my developing theoretical views of teaching and learning in general. Following theory, I will highlight some of my opinions regarding pedagogical practices. Then, I will present some of my views of the student in ESL. Lastly, I will touch on my views of the educational system itself and specifically the field of second language studies, and my opinions about the institution in which we are situated.

VIEWS FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

Before beginning my discussion about my own personal philosophy of teaching, I think it is important to think about my own schooling as a child and how that has shaped my views. Therefore, first I will reflect on my public school experience from primary through secondary school. Then I will consider some of my college experience and how that has influenced my teaching

Elementary-school experience
Overall, I have very good memories of my experience and of my education in elementary school. I went to a very strict school in the southern U.S. where corporal punishment still was used to punish disobedient students. I remember that all of my teachers were very strict and sometimes seemed mean, but I also remember that I respected them a great deal. The school was integrated with black students and teachers. My best friend was Vincent and a cohort in troublemaking was Chris, both black kids who I hung out with at school. I remember spending a great deal of time on phonics and reading in classes, and I even read as much as possible out of class.

In the fifth grade, I was placed in a special accelerated class where we studied Algebra and diagramming English sentences among other subjects. I remember a very fun and rewarding project I had to do in the fifth grade. My whole class was involved in a project to tutor reading to a kindergarten class in my school. This is one of my best memories from elementary school.

Implications to teaching
I feel that in a way I have somewhat of a traditionalist nature from my elementary school days. I think that teachers deserve respect and should maintain a level of control in the classroom. However, I am glad that the public school system has moved away from corporal punishment as a way to maintain order in our country’s classrooms. There are other ways that teachers can gain their students’ respect and keep their classrooms orderly. I think that when teachers genuinely care for their students, it shows in the way they teach and in the time they devote to their students. This kind of caring nature is bound to positively affect their students.

In contrast to my perceptions of traditionalism, I also am aware that I lean towards modern approaches. Since my elementary school seemed to experiment with different teaching approaches and course offerings, I have always looked forward to that aspect in schooling, most of the time with disappointment. However, I know that schooling can be very positive because of my good experiences early on in a good school.

Middle-school experience
My middle school years were spent in different schools all over the southern U.S. due to my family's occupations, but still I have pretty good memories of my education during this time. However, what I remember most about middle school isn’t my education per se, but rather the social contacts I made in school. I always tended to migrate towards immigrant students wherever I went: in Florida a close friend was a Hindu kid, in Arkansas I made friends with Hispanic kids, in Houston my friends were Nicaraguan, and in San Antonio my girlfriend for a time was from Bangladesh and I had many Hispanic friends. I probably always was attracted to immigrant kids because I was an immigrant in a way, too. So, I think I developed sensitivity to immigrant students’ feelings at an early age.

During these years in middle school, I began studying Spanish as my foreign language elective. My memories of studying Spanish are rather fuzzy except for the eighth grade. My teacher at that time was very dynamic. She was Hispanic, she seemed to speak Spanish very fluently, her classroom was Spanish-only, and she relied heavily on conversation in the classroom. We spoke all of the time in her class. She rarely lectured or taught straight from the textbook. Students worked together in groups and as a whole class practicing grammar patterns, writing stories, doing skits, and acting out real-life tasks. She helped make the language real, useful, and fun. Her Spanish class was in marked contrast to my previous or following experiences studying Spanish.

Implications to teaching
From this period of my schooling, perhaps the most important development that has influenced many aspects of my life since then, including teaching, was contact with different immigrant students. In middle school I had some great experiences with immigrant students, so I know a little about their struggles. I know somewhat about how they feel trying to be accepted in a new place since I moved around a great deal as a kid also and had to gain acceptance in each new community. I believe that I can be more open, patient and understanding as a teacher to my foreign students due to my own experiences as a child in school.

While taking Spanish in the eighth grade, my opinions about language teaching were greatly influenced. Although I do not know my teacher’s personal philosophy of teaching let alone her conscious approach to teaching Spanish, I do know that in her class a communicative approach to teaching the second language, similar to that discussed by Lightbown and Spada (1993), was used most of the time. We did have a textbook that we used, we did spend time on translation activities, and the teacher did present specific grammar structures to us, but as a class, we spent a great deal of time talking in pairs, in groups, and as a whole. Since I believe that I learned so much in her class, and I attributed it at the time to spending so much time engaged in meaningful use of the language, that experience forever shaped my opinions about how a language class should be structured.

High-school experience
When I moved to San Francisco in the ninth grade and entered high school, I lost interest in school. This was the first time I had ever been to an inner-city school. The school in my district was pretty much split between white middle class and Asian middle class students, and my family was from either lower-middle class or upper-lower class, but definitely below that of the other students. In all honesty, the content of the school instruction was very low. I felt that I had already learned most of the material covered in my classes while in lower grade levels at previous schools. In addition, the students at this high school had little respect for the teachers or for the school. After one year, I dropped out and took the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE) with the intention of working and figuring out what I wanted to do with my life before going back to school.

By the time I graduated high school, I had lost faith in the American education establishment. I felt that schools only served the needs of selfish adults. I thought to myself, “Adults must work to earn money to pay bills to The Man, and as a result, they must pay their taxes to Uncle Sam who provides compulsory education for children so adults can work more without the responsibility of children around all the time.” I had developed a severe disdain for the entire American social structure regarding public education. Above all, I really felt sorry for the teachers, even the ones I did not like very much. It seemed that even they did not really like the education system. I saw how hard they worked with children who did not appreciate them, and I knew that they were getting paid far less than they deserved. It always made me upset that teachers were not respected very much in society.

Implications to teaching
I believe that my high school observations, coupled with my feelings that teaching should be one of society’s most valued professions, have influenced me a great deal to enter the teaching field. As I have gotten older, I have seen that there is a necessity for quality education. There is a need for people to challenge social attitudes and to work for positive change, especially with regards to education. To a large extent, my former negative attitudes towards schooling have provided some of the inspiration for me to enter the teaching field.

College experience
Regarding my career as a student in higher education, of most relevance to my current situation as a teacher of ESL was my experience studying Japanese as a second language at Kapiolani Community College (KCC). I completed my two-year language requirement in the program at KCC in three years. I repeated two semesters of Japanese language intentionally because I did not have the confidence that I had learned enough even though I maintained a 3.0 average.

After entering the Liberal Studies in ESL program at UH and taking the entry-level courses, I began to realize why I had so much difficulty learning Japanese. KCC uses textbooks based on a communicative approach to language teaching, but in classroom practice very little beneficial communication actually takes place. The teachers typically spend the majority of the class time introducing new grammar or sentence patterns lecture-style and randomly asking comprehension questions. Then the students repeat the patterns out loud as a class and spend a few minutes practicing a pattern with a classmate. My experience with Japanese proceeded in this way for three years. As a result, I was very frustrated with the language and myself because I felt that I did not progress very far considering the amount of time that I put into learning.

Implications to teaching
My experience with studying Japanese was in marked contrast to my previous experience with Spanish. My Japanese language classes went against much of what I believed a good language class should be. I often made mental comparisons between the two language classroom experiences. What these comparisons all boiled down to was that in the Japanese classes, the students just did not get enough class time to practice using the language in a meaningful way. Through the process of thinking about my own language learning, I became interested in the general issue of language acquisition. As I asked more questions and learned more about the relevant issues, I began to focus the attention of my studies first towards linguistics and then towards ESL. Again, another negative experience with teaching contributed greatly to my later decision to enter the teaching field, and more specifically the ESL teaching field.

Conclusion of personal experience
I feel that in many ways, both my positive and negative experiences with public schooling directly shaped my own philosophy of teaching. As a future educator, I come into the teaching establishment with criticism of the entire system of schooling. At the same time, I think that I now have a more open mind about schooling because I did not participate in the public education system for most of my post-adolescent youth. I was able to seek out and discover things on my own during that time. In addition to my criticisms of schooling, I also have a lot of sympathy and understanding for teaching as a profession. I have seen how hard teachers can work, how much they can care, and how difficult their jobs can be. As the situation currently exists within the America public education system, I believe that teachers are far too under appreciated considering the enormous social responsibility that they have as perpetuators of our society's beliefs, ideas, and accumulated knowledge.

Cultural boundary crosser
While considering views from my personal experience that have influenced my personal philosophy of teaching, I also should discuss my experiences as a cultural boundary crosser as described by Crookes (In press, p. 6). I have always considered myself a boundary crosser of some sort or another since my childhood. As mentioned previously, I tended to gravitate towards minority and immigrant children while in elementary and secondary school. This is probably because cultural differences always fascinated me very much, and I was eager to learn about alternative viewpoints. In my personal life as an adult, I am married to a Japanese national. On a daily basis I am engaged in cultural boundary crossing with my spouse as we exchange and construct meaning between our different cultures and languages. I feel that I learned a great deal about people and the world from a young age due to my openness to other cultures. This openness also helped to broaden my perspective and understand behavior in different contexts.

Meeting and interacting throughout my life with people from cultural backgrounds different than my own has helped me to broaden my perspective about the world and consider different viewpoints. Additionally, traveling to other countries has greatly affected the way that I currently perceive the world around me. Perhaps due to my own experiences, I think that a broad perspective is an essential quality that teachers should possess. I feel that a broad perspective is important because a broad perspective can help a teacher recognize that there are multiple ways to approach any issue. This recognition may then lead to increased understanding, patience, and acceptance.

Coupled with a broadened perspective, I believe that as a cultural boundary crosser, I have an increased awareness of culture-specific behavior. This is an important consideration because different cultures potentially have very different norms for culturally appropriate behavior in different situations. By becoming aware of this issue and seeking to understand different cultural behaviors, a teacher may be in a better position to appreciate and possibly even anticipate what others deem appropriate behavior in certain situations. I feel that this awareness is a necessary strategy for second language teachers to have.

THEORETICAL VIEWS


Theory
Before I made the decision to teach and began to pursue that goal, I had never considered the thought that the act of teaching in and of itself is shrouded in theory. I had thought that theory in education was reserved exclusively for subjects such as astronomy, biology, psychology, and mathematics. However, after beginning my studies in ESL, I realized that most teaching has some sort of theoretical foundation, whether explicit or not. This is especially true for second language education, where a multitude of theories exist for language teaching (see Celce-Murcia, 1991) and language learning (see Lightbown & Spada, 1993).

In my own personal philosophy of teaching, I believe that it is important to be consciously aware of the theory behind what I teach and the way that I teach. It is empowering to understand the theories associated with my field and to be able to articulate my opinions professionally. Also, I think that it is necessary to be aware of the complex interplay that exists between teaching, learning, and curricular theories in actual classroom practice.

Social Constructivist
Social constructivism is the education theory that I am most interested in as a teacher, and I believe that I manifest this theory in my classroom through my approach to teaching. In social constructivist thought, the individual learner in the classroom setting is engaged in a complex social process of constructing new meaning based on the learner’s preexisting knowledge (Gee, 1996). The individual is inextricably connected to the social setting; therefore, the negotiation of meaning, which includes identity formation as well as ideology formation, presupposes interaction with others (Wenger, 1998).
Through my lesson plans for my ESL writing course, I attempt to make social theory a reality. According to McComiskey (2000, pp. 6-7), there are...

“three levels of composition: textual, rhetorical, and discursive. At the textual level of composing, we focus our attention on the linguistic characteristics of writing. At the rhetorical level, we focus on the generative and restrictive agencies (audience, purpose, etc.) of communicative situations. And at the discursive level of composing, we focus our attention on the institutional (economic, political, social, and cultural) forces that condition our very identities as writers.”

In all of my lessons, I have my students focus on each of these levels of compositionat different points during the writing process. For example, as I announce a new writing lesson, I typically address the rhetorical level by explaining to my students the purpose of the lesson and the intended audience. I also discuss the social and cultural functions of the writing assignment, thereby addressing the discursive level. Then I present examples of the finished product to analyze the linguistic characteristics of the writing. During the drafting process, I provide feedback on both form and content, which attends to all three levels of writing. And finally, upon completion of the lesson, I reiterate discursive issues to provide my students with social ideas about the uses, functions, and potentials of that specific composition assignment. I feel that by structuring my lessons I this way, I am helping my students acquire the secondary discourse of American higher education, as discussed by Gee (1996), and thereby providing my students with greater access to the language of power (Delpit, 1998).

Critical pedagogy
Having presented my primary philosophical persuasion regarding education, I will briefly discuss critical pedagogy, which is another teaching theory that interests me and is also in line with social constructivist thought. Critical pedagogy may be described as a philosophy of teaching that deeply examines and attempts to understand the complex interaction between teaching and learning, with an explicit aim of transforming both the immediate and extended social setting (Wink, 2000). Connected to this approach to teaching is the notion of transformational teaching and learning. According to Wenger (1998), “Education is not merely formative- it is transformative” (p. 263). Transformation is seen as an essential part of the social setting of education for both the student and the teacher. Through the process of learning, the student undergoes a transformation of identity to a full participant in the acquired discourse of the social situation. And at the same time, through the process of instructing, the teacher is also transformed through the social interaction that has taken place. Crookes (work in progress) refers to this process as one of “self-actualization” (p. 6).

Another theoretical idea that interests me, and I believe may also apply to a critical pedagogic approach to teaching, is communitarian philosophy (Crookes, work in progress). A teacher with a communitarian perspective would consider first the benefit of the entire community of students in the classroom setting instead of each individual student. I believe that I approach my teaching in this manner. For instance, I am cautious about devoting class time to grammar issues unless I have evidence that all of the students could benefit from the discussion.

PEDAGOGIC VIEWS

As discussed in the previous section, I am interested in critical pedagogy as an approach to teaching, and I believe that this view is reflected in my actual classroom practice. While I consciously attempt to adapt my personal teaching style to a more critical perspective, I am aware that certain pedagogic views from my childhood experiences with education, which could be considered more traditional, are subconsciously reflected in my teaching as well. It is important for me to consistently reflect on the interplay between the conscious and subconscious theoretical decisions that I make as a teacher and my actual classroom practice, as advocated by van Lier (1994); therefore, research of my own teaching is a constant aspect of my classroom practice.

Views of legitimate authority
Due to my schooling as a child, perhaps my most influential experiences concern my views of the teacher as the legitimate authority in the classroom. Since the schools that I attended as a young child were very strict regarding discipline and authority, I developed a strong respect for teachers. I am certain that some of that respect developed due to my perceptions of teacher caring, concern, and attention, but I mostly remember respecting my teachers because I had to. My teachers were trained to give me knowledge and to look after my progress. I never questioned their authority.

Now that I am a teacher, I believe that I still have that basic attitude, only now my view is from the receiving end. I view myself as the person within my classroom that has been appropriately trained enough to claim legitimate authority over issues related to language teaching and learning, and therefore, I expect a certain amount of respect from my students. The problem may lie in exactly how I make this expectation explicit to my students. I try to do this by including some of my expectations in my syllabus, by discussing my personal thoughts with my students, and by providing an example of my philosophy to my students in the way that I interact with them.

Rapport
Rapport is an important aspect of classroom pedagogy that I believe has more to do with people-management skills than to teaching specifically. If a teacher begins with managing her/his class well, I believe that good rapport can be achieved. It is important for me to think of rapport not as something that only exists between teacher and student but also as something that exists between the teacher and the class as a whole. A class is composed of many separate individuals, but when those individuals come together and engage in the social functions of a classroom, certain characteristics of group dynamics become more apparent than those of the individuals that make up the group. It is for this reason that I feel that rapport on the group level should be a goal of every teacher.

I think that rapport between the teacher and the class is something that is gradually built up over time given the pre-existence of mutual respect and trust. Just as I feel that students basically should respect their teachers, teachers should respect their students as clients in need of a service, in this case education. In addition, teachers should trust that their students come into the classroom with good intentions, in this case to become better writers, to fulfill a prerequisite, or just to pass the class. Of course, respect and trust should not be distributed randomly or selectively; they should be given out equally to all students. I believe that equality is a key to maintaining positive classroom rapport. When students see that they are treated in an equal manner with respect and trust, it may pave the way to a constructive classroom environment.

Classroom technique
As a teacher I have come to understand that individual teaching style is an integral part of classroom pedagogy. Hence, I have realized the importance of reflecting on my own classroom technique to see if it is consistent with my theoretical decisions and how it fits into my personal philosophy of teaching. Upon reflection it seems to me that one of the most crucial aspects of classroom technique is teacher attitude. Teacher attitude can make or break an activity, a lesson, or even a class.

A teacher’s attitude should project an air of calmness and confidence, especially if the desired image is one of legitimate authority. Associated with confidence, I think that a teacher needs to remain somewhat upbeat, almost motivational at times, to help keep students focused and interested in the class. And, a teacher should strive to reflect a feeling of approachability exhibited by appropriately directed kindness and caring. If these attitudinal characteristics of calmness, confidence, kindness, caring, and an upbeat nature are adhered to by the teacher, I believe that a great deal of progress may be made towards a positive classroom environment where productive learning will take place.

Whole language
I am interested in the concepts from the whole language approach to teaching as applied to the ESL context (Freeman & Freeman, 1998, as cited in Crookes, in press). According to this approach to language teaching, lessons should be designed in such a way that they focus on the learner, encourage social interaction, attend to both oral and written language skills, promote students’ native languages and cultures, exhibit trust in the learner’s potential for development, and are meaningful to the students. I believe that most of my lessons incorporate these points, although I may not be consciously aware of this. As a part of my personal philosophy, I strive to make the concepts of whole language a more explicit aspect of my critical approach to teaching.

Creativity
Somewhat absent from the second language literature that I have been exposed to is the contribution that creativity makes to the learning process. When I was a child in primary school, I remember feeling that creativity was encouraged because of the kinds of activities assigned such as plays, art contests, presentations, and the like. As an adult in higher education, I get the feeling that almost the opposite is encouraged. Instead of promoting individual creativity, it seems that conformity is favored in the emphasis on rote memorization of facts and figures, repetition of the teacher’s lectures, and reproduction of previously done work. However, creativity for me plays a very important role in the classroom for both teachers and students. For teachers, creativity is an essential element for choosing, designing, and presenting interesting assignments and for allowing a degree of spontaneity to occur in the classroom. As for students, creativity may help promote a greater sense of individual identity, may prove to be a motivational factor as it has done for me, and consequently may provide students with an increased desire to succeed. It is for the previous reasons that creativity should be encouraged in the classroom.

Evaluation
Evaluation should be a crucial part of every language teacher’s pedagogic considerations. At some part of the learning process, students will be evaluated to determine their relative success. And, at some point in time, teachers themselves will be evaluated to determine their relative success.

With regards to students, a major source of evaluative data traditionally is gathered using assessment tools in the forms of tests. More recent research has focused on the use of alternative assessment tools such as portfolios (see Gottlieb, 2000), learning logs, peer-assessment, and teacher-student conferences (Norris, 2000). In my classroom, I subscribe to this alternative assessment philosophy. Whichever approach to assessment a teacher uses, Norris (2000) stresses the importance of making the testing process as purposeful as possible. This is done by first identifying exactly what is being assessed, which will aid in selecting the appropriate testing tool. Next, determine how the evaluative data will be used and for what purposes. Finally, evaluate the entire process of assessment to determine its usefulness. It is in this final stage where the focus of evaluation shifts from the student to the teacher.

I am a firm believer of a continuous process of teacher self-evaluation, such as that advocated by Richards and Lockhart (1996), in which they connect self-evaluation to lesson planning and overall teacher development. By incorporating a system of consistent reflection in my teaching, I feel that I am able to continually progress as a teacher as I adapt to the changing needs of my students. One manifestation of this teaching philosophy is action research, a structured and purposeful form of self-evaluation, in which the teacher identifies a problem in the classroom, conducts small-scale research within the classroom, and then makes changes in the classroom aimed at correcting the problem (see Richards & Lockhart, 1996; Crookes, 1993). I am also very interested in this idea, and I have done this in my own classroom when the need has arisen.

VIEWS OF THE STUDENT

The student should be the central concern of any teaching situation; therefore, I must mention some of my views of the ESL student as the recipient of my teaching practice. In my consideration of students, I will first briefly state my feelings about their relation to the system of education itself. Then I will talk about some of what I know and have observed regarding human nature, student backgrounds, and behavior, and how these aspects of the student influence my personal teaching philosophy.

With regards to the relationship between the ESL student and the education system itself, I am most concerned about the opportunity to acquire secondary discourses (Gee, 1996) and access to the language of power (Delpit, 1998). In addition, I am also concerned with issues of equality in education.

Regarding human nature, I believe that I am aware of the differences that exist between individuals, as mentioned by Richards and Lockhart (1996). I am very intrigued by the issues of the individual learner and society, as discussed by Norton and Toohey (in press) and Pierce (1995). And, the entire issue of motivation is highly interesting, especially the role that the teacher plays in student motivation.

Other aspects of the student that I am interested in and I believe I attend to in my classroom include learner styles (Richards & Lockhart, 1996), background knowledge (Ferris & Hedgcock, 1998), and L1/ culture 1 (Celce-Murcia, 1991).

VIEWS OF THE FIELD OF ESL

Another important piece of my personal philosophy of teaching has to do with my views of the field of ESL. Over the past several decades, ESL appears to have increased in status globally within the sphere of education as well as entire societies. At the same time, ESL as a whole has undergone almost constant change as new theories and approaches have been researched and proposed. This increased attention has also brought with it certain criticisms of English as the second language of the world and as the language of power. Therefore, I would like to quickly touch on some of the issues from the domain that I feel are important to me at this time.

Perhaps the most controversial issue regarding the field of ESL is its rise to status as the language of world power and the implications if this (Crookes, work in progress). As an ESL teacher, I am very aware of this issue and even discuss it in my classroom. An additional aspect of ESL that I am very concerned about is its colonizing nature over individuals as well as entire societies. I am also very attentive to the transitional nature of the field of ESL (Celce-Murcia, 1991). Teaching approaches, theory, and other changes seem to be proposed so frequently that it is important for teachers to remain up-to-date with current practice. One last aspect of the field that I am critical of is its affair with labeling (Celce-Murcia, 1991). The terms “ESL”, “LEP”, “generation 1.5”, etc., seem to over-simplify concepts and situations far too much for me. I would prefer it if it were the industry norm to use more lengthy explanations that incorporate specific processes taking place for the individuals being discussed.

INSTITUTIONAL VIEWS


My presentation of my personal philosophy of teaching would not be complete unless I devoted some attention to the educational establishment of which I am a part. Considering my critical perspective of education, I am interested in aspects of the learning institution that have a direct impact on my performance and development as a teacher. Among the issues that I am most concerned with are teacher training, accountability, and curriculum development.

With respect to teacher training, I am interested in the issues of professional development, classroom research, and the down time necessary to conduct the former activities (Crookes, 1993; Crookes, work in progress). I feel very strongly that a teacher’s workload should remain balanced between preparation time, class time, and down time.

Professionalism, as discussed by Middlehurst and Kennie (1997) and Richards and Lockhart (1996), is another concept that interests me. Somewhat associated with professionalism are issues of ethics and codes of conduct, as addressed by Crookes (work in progress). Another concept that Crookes talks about briefly is that of consequentialism, whereby individuals are responsible for their own actions. Although I adopt a social perspective to learning, I also believe that individuals within social settings regularly make independent decisions for which they must assume responsibility.

Yet another institutional concern of mine is teacher agency. It is important for me as an individual teacher to have a certain degree of choice, control and authority over my classroom, my lessons, and my materials. Richards and Lockhart (1996) discuss the optimal situation where a teacher also plays a role in needs assessment and curriculum development. However, in this day and age of accountability (Emihovich, 2001), teachers seem to be more on the defensive for themselves within their institutions instead of offensively planning for their students. In light of this trend, I am very interested in Fetterman’s (1996) notion of empowerment evaluation as a mechanism for teachers to combat accountability concerns.

Administrative issues are the final pieces of the institutional puzzle that I will address. Within this area, needs assessment and curriculum development seem the most prominent. I would turn to Nevo (1995) for a discussion of the straightforward institutional concerns about these functions. Then I would consult Crookes (1997) and Ferris and Hedgcock for a more critical perspective to needs assessment and curriculum development, which includes the teacher in this process.

CONCLUSION


In wrapping up my personal philosophy of teaching, I would like to say that I have tried to include some of my attitudes, beliefs, and feelings in an organized manner regarding teaching and learning from the micro-level of the individual and the classroom to the macro-level of society. While not entirely comprehensive, I feel that this attempt to make explicit my teaching philosophy is, for the time being, complete. As mentioned in my introduction, since my philosophy is currently undergoing intense development, I would consider this paper a “work in progress” awaiting additional experience, insight, and theory for future development also.


REFERENCES

Aebersold, J.A., & Field, M.L. (1997). From Reader to Reading Teacher: Issues and strategies for second language classrooms. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.

Celce-Murcia, M. (ed.). (1991). Teaching English as a Second or ForeignLanguage (2nd edition). Boston: Heinle & Heinle.

Crookes, G.V. (work in progress). Notes for ESL 690. University of Hawaii Department of Second Language Studies.

Crookes, G. (1993). Action Research for Second Language Teachers: Going beyond teacher research. Applied Linguistics 14 (2), 130-143.

Crookes, G. (1997). What influences what and how second and foreign language teachers teach? The Modern Language Journal, 81(1), 67-79.

Delpit, L.D. (1998). The politics of teaching literate discourse. In Vivian Zamel and Ruth Spack (eds.), Negotiating Academic Literacies: Teaching and learning across languages and cultures. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Pp. 207-218.

Ferris, D. & Hedgecock, J.S. (1998). Teaching ESL Composition: purpose, process and practice. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Fetterman, D. M. (1996). Empowerment evaluation: an introduction to theory and practice. In David M. Fetterman, Shakeh J. Kaftarian, and Abraham Wandersman (eds.), Empowerment Evaluation: Knowledge and tools for self assessment and accountability. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Pp. 3-46.

Gee, J.P. (1996). Social Linguistics and Literacies: Ideology in discourses (2nd edition). London: Taylor & Francis.

Gottlieb, M. (2000). Portfolio practices in elementary and secondary schools: toward learner-directed assessment. In G. Ekbatani and H. Pierson (eds.), Learner Directed Assessment in ESL. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Pp. 89-104.

Lightbown, P.M., & Spada, N. (1993). How Languages are Learned. Oxford: Oxford UP.

McComiskey, B. (2000). Teaching Composition as a Social Process. Utah UP.

Middlehurst, R., & Kennie, T. (1997). Leading professionals towards new concepts of professionalism. In J. Broadbent, M. Deitrich, & J. Roberts (eds.), The End of the Professions? London: Rutledge.

Nevo, D. (1995). School-based Evaluation. NY: Pergamon/ Eslevier.

Norris, J. (2000). Purposeful Language Assessment: Selecting the right alternative test. English Teaching Forum 38 (1), 18-23.

Norton, B. & Toohey, K. (in press). Identity and language learning. To be published in R.Kaplan (ed.), Oxford University Handbook of Applied Linguistics.

Pierce, B.N. (1995). Social Identity, Investment, and Language Learning. TESOL Quarterly 29 (1), 9-31.

Richards, J.C. & Lockhart, C. (2000). Reflective Teaching in Second Language Classrooms. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.

van Lier, Leo. (1994). Some features of a theory of practice. TESOL Journal, Autumn, 6-10.

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of Practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.

Wink, J. (2000). Critical Pedagogy: Notes from the real world. NY: Longman.


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contents (c) 2001 Shawn Ford/ Webb-Ed Press
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