I have more than 15 years of experience in the education sector int he capacity of head of English department, technology enhanced learning specialist, and teacher professional development, in addition to my role as a classroom teacher (that I will not relinquish for the world). My nonorthodox approach to teaching and learning has put me in the forefront of educators in the region. I am also the founder of Eductechalogy, a visionary company specialized in technology Enhanced learning and educational consultancy.
Teaching Philosophy I believe that students, with their preferred learning styles, learn best in an environment that supports the sharing and construction of ideas in a social context. In this 21century, students need more than ever to learn a set of skills that are transferable to the real world. These skills are 1) creativity 2) critical thinking 3) communication and 4) collaboration that are fashioned in the English language medium. As an educator, I consistently ensure that my role is a “guide on the side” instead of a “sage on the stage” scaffolding student learning, with the support of technology, through meaningful activities and formative feedback that focus on understanding as key for students’ cognitive, social, reflective, and emotional system development. I believe also that action research is an extremely powerful pedagogy that benefits teachers (especially in a participatory mode) in their endeavor for “practical” development and increased student engagement. From a macro-perspective, I believe that curriculum, instruction and assessment triangle should be attuned if students are to benefit from the course/subject. In a system where not all its components are well-tuned, higher-learning only occurs for those ‘academic’ students but not for others that are less ‘academic’ (Biggs, 2003). There are therefore four steps to achieve ‘constructive alignment’ : 1) defining the intended learning outcomes, 2) choosing teaching/learning activities that lead to intended learning outcomes, 3) assessing students’ actual learning outcomes to see how well they match with what was intended and 4) arriving at a final grade (ibid.). However, I believe that, according to ‘backward design’ (Wiggins & Mctighie, 2005), steps two and three above should be transposed. By focusing on intending learning outcomes and thinking of how to assess these learning outcomes (formative and summative), I would be in a better position to design teaching/learning activities that would maximize the probability of leading to the intended learning outcomes. From a micro-perspective, authentic activities and assessments are the best approach for instruction if students are to learn English language while simultaneously acquiring 21century skills mentioned above. Therefore, I have a propensity for inquiry-based learning and project-based learning as two instructional approaches that would most probably achieve the students’ intended content knowledge and skills. For example, I perceived that the best way to coach my students for the SAT (Critical reading and writing) was to have them develop and design a website to help students around the world to study for the SAT. Students worked collaboratively on a wiki (Google sites) and used an online collaborative project management tool to go through the project life-cycle from the initiation and implementation stages to the evaluation and end stages. Students worked as project managers (website moderators, section moderators) and project members (contributors and editors) to produce a comprehensive multimedia website for other students to benefit. Data-driven learning is an instance of an inquiry-based approach in teaching students inductively on grammatical and lexico-grammatical rules. Students play the role of researchers in spotting patterns in language and generalizing a rule, or an exception. My role would be that of a facilitator scaffolding their learning through guidance and refining raw data. Another instance is my initiation and implementation of the Media Literacy class where students used a set of skills to deconstruct and reconstruct media. Critical thinking and communication through the medium of English language are some of the objectives of the Media Literacy classes. Examples abound from my teaching practice on how my students learn about and through English language while simultaneously learning skills that are transferable to real life. The use of technology to support teaching and learning in my practice plays significant role. I use blended learning in all my classes to orchestrate the best of the two worlds (online and face-to-face). I redesigned lessons and courses to meet the changing medium of the teacher-student, student-student, and student-technology interaction. I used various technologies to meet the intended learning outcomes. Learning-approach rather than technology-approach in teaching is what I strongly believe in. Adapting technology for student learning and not vice versa would most probably result in increased engagement, understanding, and motivation. Lastly, I believe in reflective teaching (in-action, on-action, and of-action) as a significant path for professional development. In my later years, I have adopted action research as a principled reflective practice in collecting data on my teaching (and other teachers as well). I believe that action research links the gap between theory (conducted away from my teaching context that might not be applicable) and my teaching practice. In the end, students as life-long learners should gain skills and content knowledge that equip them to thrive in this information age as global citizens, with cultural sensitivity. They need to thinking critically through evaluating texts and media while successfully communicating their ideas with authentic audience. They need to create original models based on their evaluation of everything around them. References: Biggs, J.B. (2003). Teaching for Quality Learning at University. Buckingham: Open University Press/Society for Research into Higher Education. (Second edition) Wiggins, G. and McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by Design. Alexanderia, VA: ASCD (Second Edition).
Top 5 worldwide Elearning professionals in 2015 AdvancED awards for distinguished practice
MA in Educational Technology and TESOL from the University of Manchaster
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