Learning multiple languages has given me the unique opportunity to view the world from different yet related perspectives. Not only has language learning expanded my perspective of the world and its people, it has also opened many more windows for me in an increasingly globalized world. Most of all, I have been able to connect with people from different cultures through language learning. I believe that a nation’s language and culture are interdependent, therefore through language learning we are able to access a culture’s essence.
As a language learner, I had the privilege of experiencing language learning both in a variety of settings. I was raised since childhood in a Chinese-English bilingual immersive environment, but learned Japanese in a classroom setting. These experiences gave me a unique perspective as a language learner, and an even more unique perspective as a language teacher. I understand the linguistics nuances of language, but I also understand the struggles of second language acquisition.
I teach so that the next generations of children will be able to reap the benefits of an broadened world view. My classroom does not just consist of language learning, it also includes cultural comparison so that students will not only learn about new languages and cultures, they will come to better know about their own language and culture. Therefore I believe that an effective language classroom is composed of language and culture, closely tied together.
Language learners respond best to a relaxed and open environment. I try to create a codependent community of learners in my classroom. Students are expected to support one another and work collaboratively towards the shared goal of communicative language proficiency. I often incorporate project-based learning into my curricula so that students may apply their language skills in a group setting. As a facilitator of collaborative learning, I create the foundation so that students may explore the many facets of a language and its culture. I do not provide answers; I ask prompting questions.
Through my experiences in language learning and teaching, I strive to continually improve my language and teaching skills. I am constantly responding to feedback from my superiors, peers, and students. As a starting teacher, classroom management has been my focus because I believe that if students are not on board to learn, the instruction falls to deaf ears. So far I have been working on positive reinforcement of appropriate behavior, and incorporating students in decision-making and management tools in order to promote relatedness in my classroom.