ATTITUDE Sub-competency

Toward Professionalism in My Work


AE_TE_Letter to Elizabeth
    (about my experience in teaching)
1_AP_Reflections on Silent Way
    (a description of how the teacher and student are both learners)
2_AP_Final paper reflections
    (a deepening of my learning)
CDA _ English Language Introduction
    (final lesson plan for refugee class)

When I decide to help someone learn, I assume responsibility for more than the subject I am teaching. Especially in language learning, I collate facets of what they need to embed themselves into a society, a culture, a path to what they wish for their success - however they define success. This is what drives my teaching. The physical environment may place constraints on my teaching preferences - size of class, size and layout of room, length of class period, length of course - but
I am firm about providing my students with the most I can provide and the most they can learn.

My internship was housed in a refugee intake center. It serviced any refugee within a commuting area. One day, at the beginning of my term, a staff member came into my class and ordered 6 of my students to go out of class. I asked why and was told it was about job search. I asked if they all had to leave at one time. “No,” but none came back until they all came back. The next morning, before class, I went to that person and suggested they help the refugees do job hunting during class breaks; that the students needed every minute in class. “I understand,” said he. The next day, a woman came to class to do the same thing. I sent her away. “Come back during the break.”
And that was the end of that.    

The multiculturalism and multilingualism in my class made creating an integrated class  community almost easy. They were interested in each others’ stories - as much as they could understand. With my strong encouragement during our daily conversation periods - and in particular exercises - they would use all the English they could. As I had designed the class in a semi-circle, I could quickly provide scaffolding.

I found that using their L1’s was not only helpful for language learning, but for connecting them with each other. They were intrugued to hear how certain words were used in languages other than their own. When I wanted to be absolutely clear about something - usually cultural - I would look it up online. Of course, I did not always find the correct word. Whatever I would find, triggered the students’ interest in being precise. We would all share discussions about meaning, as best we could. It was this sharing and acknowledgement of each other that created a bond between all my students and myself.  I know that, were I to meet any of them today, we would be overjoyed to see each other.

The following statement, which I have made elsewhere in this portfolio, bears repeating. It is a core attitude I hold.

Through comprehensible communication; through revelatory imagery; and though overt, empathic emotional connection, we can use what are now performing as tools of war (advertising, visual and auditory propoganda, mis and dis-information, the promulgation of idiocy through an inculcation of fear by mass media …), to be transports to understanding, acceptance, and ultimately to some kind of world civility and respect.”