My Philosophy for Learning a Second Language

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There are as many teaching philosophies as there are teachers in the world and teaching philosophies are a living idea of what it means to be a good teacher. My teaching philosophy has certainly changed since I began teaching 11 years ago however, there are some “big rocks” to my teaching philosophy that have not changed regardless of the subject matter or grade level that I am teaching.

This year I am teaching French as a Second Language to grades 5 & 6. The overarching goal of French as a Second Language is the use of the language itself (as is stated in the Alberta Program of Studies). A colleague of mine helped me to formulate my teaching philosophy for FSL. Here it is:

  1. The shift in second language learning is now focused on the use of the target language, in this case French, and less on paper tests. This is true of many subject areas. In recent years, my own teaching practice has shifted from a focus on giving paper tests which test a students’ ability to memorize and regurgitate facts to the process that the students go through as well as the skills that students use in order to solve problems. Research shows that paper tests are not an accurate reflection of acquired learning but rather of the students’ ability to memorize content.
  2. Target Languages, like French, are performance based classes and it is my expectation as the teacher that the students participate in class and try to speak in class using the target language.
  3. Written test and report cards are only a snap shot of the whole picture of a students’ learning and acquisition of the target language. Other teachers may choose to assess French or other subject areas through written tests however, my philosophy aligns with the idea of focusing on performance tasks. These performance tasks mostly on speaking and comprehension of the language.

 

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