Who were the best teachers you had at school? Probably not the teacher who bored you to tears! Was it the teacher who let you get away with chatting to friends all class? Or the one who was passionate, inspirational and engaging? Those teachers who gave us a lasting impression are the ones who had clear goals in the classroom. In other words, they had a teaching philosophy.
At York we believe the quality of education matters. So over the years, we have developed a clear teaching philosophy, ensuring our students get as much as possible from every class and ensuring that every student’s needs are met. The philosophy is never ‘finished’. Like any process it’s something we’re always evolving, based on great practice we see from our teachers and the latest guidance from the educators around the world.
Our teaching philosophy is an overriding set of principles that inform our teaching. Every class should demonstrate these values and every student should get the benefit from that.
What’s our teaching philosophy?
It starts with student-centered learning. Because learning a language is not like learning maths. You can’t just sit back, listen to the teacher and do a worksheet. For learning a language you have to practice. This means the students need to be involved in every stage of the lesson, actively participating and exploring the material themselves. They are using English from the first minutes of class to the last.
That leads nicely into another cornerstone of our teaching: participation. Everyone should be involved. We work with quieter students to build their confidence and have small class sizes to keep everyone involved.
Finally, we also believe that English is a life skill. We don’t teach for the sake of passing tests. Our English is for communication in the real world.
How about our curriculum?
To support our teaching philosophy we need a great curriculum. We constantly review ours to make sure it’s helping our teachers achieve excellence in the classroom.
Our materials support the following 21st century skills:
- Communication – English for genuine daily use, rather than for passing a test, obviously needs a consistent emphasis on communication.
- Critical thinking – When you’re thinking about something, you have a better chance you have of retaining and recalling it. We choose activities that go beyond repetition for repetition’s sake and have a clear purpose.
- Collaboration – Teamwork makes the dreamwork! Practicing with your peers is an important part of language learning.
- Creativity – Not something commonly practiced in Chinese public schools, we believe it’s essential for our students to get creative with English.
This was a brief introduction to our education philosophy, setting out our style of teaching and our values in the classroom. Stayed tuned for more blog posts on our teaching soon!