As a future language educator at Vanderbilt University, my classroom community will be founded on three principles: intercultural competence, communicative language performance, and meaning-focused, content driven instruction with an emphasis on formative assessment opportunities.
My classroom will be a safe space where students come to dissect the world through language. By using intercultural communicative competence and critical pedagogy to explore marginalized topics productively, I can employ transformative learning where “a more nuanced and complex understanding of one’s own situatedness within cultural frameworks, and the analogous situation of others” will encourage a positive shift in a student’s view of their own place in the world over time (Sosulski, 3). Empathy, knowledge and topics such as colonization can be successfully married with classroom language goals, even at the most elementary levels.
Furthermore, I prize formative assessment and no grade on any assignment will be final, to the extent possible, if a student feels as if they can improve their performance. I want to cultivate a community of learners who feel comfortable when they share new words, forms and structures in a new language, that new is synonymous with excitement rather than intimidation. I hope to effectively incorporate humour and empathy into my pedagogical strategy, two words I came to admire from my reading of the teaching manifesto ‘A Radical Hope’, because I too was once a bundle of nerves who dreaded the moment upon which I was called. I will take from my personal experience as a second language learner and combine it with effective theory and practice in second language acquisition to ensure that my students enjoy learning and become better at it by incorporating properly scaffolded authentic texts (those made by native speakers for native speakers) and task-based activities which focus on using language, not just accumulating knowledge of it.
In my future classroom, I will engage second language acquisition theory and effective teaching methods, especially social justice and intercultural competence, as a reflective practitioner. Every classroom is unique, equipped with different identities that learn in different ways, and it is my goal to cultivate a community which thrives on positive intention and engaging work.