Foreign Language Pedagogy 125/225

Akemi Morioka

Philosophy as a Foreign Language Instructor


Language and Culture:

- Being a bilingual means being bicultural.  Understanding other languages leads people to the understanding of other perceptions through that language.  You should tell students how wonderful it is to be bicultural.


Influence on Students:

- Remember how influential you can be to a student.  If you teach the same class every year, teaching can become a repetitive and routine job for you, but remember that your students may not have a chance to take this type of course again. You might be the only “Japanese/Korean/Chinese, etc. ” person a student will have a close interaction with for his/her entire life.


Classroom Management:

- You should be nice allow autonomy to your students, but never give up control of the class to them.  Students will always test limits/borders as to how far they can go.



- It is very important that you build up trust between you and your students.  Without this trust, a small suggestion that you might give a student could be misunderstood as serious criticism.  In order to build a relationship based on trust, you must: 1) not lie;  2) keep your promises; 3) not alter plans or attitude according to your mood or feelings;  4) be consistent with your grading criteria;  5) not favor certain students;  6) be sensitive not to be prejudiced against a certain race, gender, religion, etc.


How Much Should You Teach?

- Don’t think that you can teach absolutely everything about your subject to students nor try to do so.  Instead, you should try to foster in your students the ability to work independently/autonomously upon the completion of the course you are teaching.  Ultimately, the goal of teaching is to “help students learn on their own.”


Teaching vs. Learning:

- The goal of teaching is not simply to “transfer one’s knowledge to one’s students.”  Remember that there is often a big gap between what you teach and what the students learn.  You should do your best when you teach, but it is, after all, the student who does the “learning.”  You cannot learn for them.  Therefore, you have to think how to make the “learning happen.”


Generosity and Openness:

- You should be generous and open: share teaching materials and ideas with other teachers.  Have them take a look at your handouts, tests, etc.  Have them come to observe your classes.  Teachers who are generous and open will be able to improve their teaching.



- Teaching is a time-consuming job and a majority of teachers live on a day-to-day schedule.  However, occasionally remind yourself of your goals and where you are in the continuum.  You need to ‘self-monitor/reflect’ yourself. 


Be Flexible:

- Students are not machines.  You may not be able to finish everything you had planned, but you should not worry too much about that.  You may lose something (=couldn’t cover what you had planned) short-term, but you may gain something in the long run by adjusting your teaching pace to the students.  As long as you are using class time for something meaningful, you are not wasting time or losing anything. 


Be Patient:

- You may not see the result of your teaching right away, but be patient.  It may take time to see the fruit of your labors.  Do not expect quick results all the time. Learning takes time.