Statement of teaching philosophy

I have been a foreign language teacher for eleven years and a learner for more than twenty! My philosophy of teaching, therefore, is influenced by my own reflections on language learning, both as a teacher, but above all, as a student.

MOTIVATION - I believe motivation is one of the most important elements of success in foreign language learning. Personally, when I started to learn English at high school I was fascinated by its grammar. I felt the same when I started German and Spanish at college. I understand that not anyone takes the same pleasure in studying grammar rules. However, I do believe that having strong motivation to learn a foreign language is essential. For this reason, I like to discuss with my students why they have chosen Italian and to encourage them to reflect on their choice. I want them to find good reasons for learning it, besides meeting the language requirement.

A CONSTRUCTIVIST APPROACH - Good motivation leads to an attitude of curiosity towards the new language. Memorization is just one aspect of language learning, but it is not enough. The curious, open-minded and inquiring learner will achieve success more easily, feel gratified and encouraged in her/his pursuit of language competence. In my classes I tend to involve the students in activities that require their active participation and efforts in discovering how the language works. It would be much easier to provide them with simple, easy to follow rules. However, I expect the students to work the rules out for themselves in order to construct a solid system upon which they can rely in order to become competent and independent speakers/writers in the foreign language. In other words, a constructivist approach is what I favor, whereby the learner first observes, then makes hypotheses about the language and tests them and finally draws conclusions.

A LEARNER-CENTERED APPROACH - Induction seems to suit most students, but not all of them. I am well aware that each learner has her/his own learning style. It is often impossible to cater to each student individually within a class of 20 to 25 people. However, I tend to offer a variety of activities that appeal to different learning styles. In addition, I discuss learning styles with students so that they become aware of their own. I also suggest learning strategies based on different styles and I often give examples drawn from my own experience as a language learner.

THE TEACHER AS FACILITATOR - I tend to consider the role of the language teacher as facilitator, rather than instructor. A facilitator is someone who is knowledgeable about the subject being taught and has experienced the same kind of learning process that her/his learner are experiencing now. She/He knows where the difficulties are and can best advise the learners. She/He acknowledges the different learning styles and provides the learners with the best opportunities for making progress and achieve success. She/He shows enthusiasm for learning and fosters a positive and inquiring attitude to language learning.

TECHNOLOGY - Technology plays an important role in the modern language classroom. Thanks to the Internet learners have the opportunity to access a great variety of sources in Italian: web sites specifically designed for language learning, online newspapers and streaming broadcasts are just a few examples of the variety of tools available. I think it is important that language learners be aware of what technology can offer, but it is even more important that they learn how to use these new tools effectively and independently. For this reason, I tend to integrate technology in the curriculum whenever possible. I also make sure that no one feels left behind and offer constant support in the use of the new media. I am also keen to show how technology can help the students.

ENTHUSIASM - Finally, I would like to touch briefly upon another aspect of language teaching, i.e. the enthusiasm that a good teacher should have. I like my students to perceive how much I love my language and how enthusiastic I feel about teaching it. According to their evaluations, this is one of my best assets.


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