The interview seemed to be going along okay. Then the Director asked, “So what is your philosophy of teaching English?”
“My philosophy of teaching?” The TEFL interviewee twisted in her seat, tugging at the collar of a blouse that was suddenly too tight. She felt water running down her back. A certain dampness coated her palms.
“Yes. Do you have a philosophy of teaching?” the director repeated. The interview had taken a distinctive downturn. Top positions paying top dollars require top professionals.
“Well, I’m not really sure what you mean.” the teacher responded. “I can tell you what I do in my classes, what materials I use and how I interact with the students. Is that what you mean?”
No, that’s NOT what the Language Institute Director meant. The interview ended. So did the teacher’s prospects at that high-level institution.
Philosophy of Education
A teacher’s philosophy of education is now used as a major marketing strategy by savvy teachers and has become an essential component of a teacher’s CV and portfolio. It has evolved to become part of the teacher’s personal profile, which outlines all of his essential skill sets and unique qualities, and highlights the teacher’s specialties. (D. Sofsian, 2006) Reference these web sites for further information:
• Create Your Own Electronic Portfolio
• My “Online Portfolio Adventure”
• How To Create an Electronic Portfolio
Expert author Damian Sofsian in his article, “Teacher Education Philosophies”, talks about five types of teaching philosophies: (http://ezinearticles.com/?Teacher-Education-Philosophies&id=227410)
• Liberal – which aims at developing intellectual powers
• Behavioral – these ideologies focus on the survival skills of a human being and the role of education in teaching them
• Progressive – motivates cultural development of an individual in order to bring about societal change
• Humanistic – trends look at the overall development of the personality and characteristics of an individual
• Radical – these philosophers are interested in beneficial changes that should happen in a society from time to time, and the role of education in bringing about political, social and economical changes
Teacher education philosophy is now a major marketing strategy used by EFL and TEFL teachers and has become an essential component of a language teacher resume and personal profile. (D. Sofsian, 2006)
Education Philosophy References
Before embarking on developing your own philosophy of education, reference these sites for more in-depth information and samples of Educational Philosophy statements.
• Samples of Philosophy of Education
• Materials on the Philosophy of Education
• Philosophy of Education links
Your Philosophy of Education
What is your philosophy of education? If you “don’t have one” now would be a good time to more thoroughly investigate aspects of one. Add your philosophy to all your teaching areas. Let it pervade what you do and how you approach your craft from every angle from preparation to class activities, problem-solving, discipline and assessment. Your philosophy helps set you apart from those who might just show up, do the minimum and collect their paychecks. In these days of increasing professionalism, increased requisites for teaching staff and higher expectations on the part of Educational Administrators, TEFL teachers, regardless of current status, simply cannot afford to be lax.