Philosophy of Teaching

My philosophical approach to TESOL, integration of faith and learning, and second language acquisition is written on the pages of my BLOG, but I will attempt to summarize them here.  My life is a continuous positive cross cultural experience. 

Viewing culture from the world view of the culture is essential to success in English language teaching.  Native English speakers are often a liability to a global English conversation because they are encumbered with so many idioms and collocations that nobody can understand what they’re trying to say. 

Language and culture are two sides of the same coin.  If one wishes to gain insight and understanding of culture, one must also learn the language, and vice versa.  Language is often the first side of the coin.  Language is a window into culture in that cultural clues lay within the language.  For example, verb endings in Latin cultures vary depending upon gender.  Pronouns vary depending upon the relationship of the subject and the object of the utterance.  In asia, where social status, honor and respect are valued higher than in Western society, the misuse of pronouns can have disastrous consequences.

Equally important to the relationship between language and culture is the relationship between motivation and opportunity.  Without opportunity there is no motivation to learn the language.  Without motivation to learn the language, there can be no cultural understanding.  This relationship is essential as well.  

The language I speak reveals volumes about my culture.  For example, English obviously came from England, where appearances, social standing, and status are very important.  To a Mexican, it is not rude to walk into a bar and say "Give me a beer."  In English (and England), this would most likely get you thrown out.  The whole concept of indirect speech did not begin with journalists fearful of being sued.  It began with English people using indirect speech to show deference and respect to someone of higher social status or someone who has something the speaker needs or wants.  So in English, one doesn't say "Give me a beer."  One would say, "Excuse me, may I please have a Guinness when you have a moment."  To a Latin speaker, this seems like a silly waste of time.  This is a prime example of how English reveals English culture.

To be understood, one must first seek to understand.  To teach one must first be willing and able to be taught.  My best advice is to abandon the agenda, love everyone as best you can, teach everyone as best you can, and learn as much as you can about the culture of those to whom you are teaching.