Sustainable education is the most powerful weapon that we can all acquire and at the same share to the world. This will be attained once we assume our roles as educators and unite as one. Sterling (2008) enumerated “sustaining, tenable, healthy, and durable” (para.11) as the four descriptors of sustainable education. This simply explains that teaching and learning should not only be exclusive within the confines of the classroom (be it virtual or real).
Regardless of age, status, and race, all of us should actively be involved in achieving quality education. In my ardent ways, I have been advocating quality education. At the age of 15, I started earnestly joining organizations to teach less privileged children. From then on, I have continued studying hard so I can share more profound knowledge with others.
Being a licensed and an experienced teacher, I have more means to create significant change by utilizing teaching pedagogy that can hone learners to be conscientious and interdependent members of our society. This is evident in my eclectic teaching approaches, enriching challenges, and lasting impact to student learning.
Eclecticism is a teaching philosophy that embodies the amalgamation of different effective teaching methods. This principle carries out the idea that there is no single-handedly perfect teaching methodology because every human is diverse and has different learning strategies. Simply put, there is no one-size-fits-all teaching methodology for a committed educator because every aspect is worth investigating. Ergo, I keep exploring varied teaching approaches for my students because of the complexity of the English language macro skills – reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing.
Reading and writing, because of their passive nature, are considered to be formidable macro skills for most learners. This could be the reason why some students would submit late, sloppy, or plagiarized papers. In order to pique the students’ reading and writing interests, I employ different teaching strategies and motivational approaches. Inspired by Sharot (2011), I am utilizing in some of my reading and writing classes the Optimism Bias. This is a neuroscience theory that showed scientific evidence of people who got motivated after their exposure to social incentives, immediate reward, and progress monitoring. While combining positive and negative reinforcements is also compelling, I occasionally use McGonigal’s (2013) Goal Switching Hypothesis where students can be completely aware of the good consequences of their hard work and the bad repercussions of their negligence.
When it comes to teaching speaking and listening, I pride myself on making my students engaged in my Oral Communication classes. Having a keen personality is a big help to be an effective teacher. For instance, I observed that most students were enslaved by their PowerPoint slides during Oral Presentation; consequently, I investigated and confirmed that their previous experience with the use of PowerPoint did not guarantee mastery and confidence. Seeing that the abuse and misuse of PowerPoint presentations can be detrimental to both the presenters and listeners, I addressed this concern by incorporating the Pecha Kucha (PK) method in my student’s presentations. PK is also known as 20X20 presentation where presenters are only allowed to have 20 slides with minimal text or photo and a 20-second discussion per slide. This method proved to be a promising presentation style that can promote discipline, focus, and mastery. Consequently, it can invite more students to actively listen to their classmates’ presentation because of its concise style.
Viewing is also an essential macro skill to tap. Thereby, I also find it relishing to use a multi-sensory approach to learning by connecting works of art (e.g. painting, songs, and movies) to my lesson. Further, I also veer to showing pertinent YouTube vlogs, my former students’ works, and my own samples. This way, my students can better understand the required output and be inspired at the same time. As Bandura’s (1977) social learning theory represented, students can learn best through modeling and imitation. Fundamentally, there is a better absorption of knowledge if more senses are activated.
Using technology for the 21st century learners is similar to speaking the same language with them. Therefore, it is also important to be knowledgeable with some software that can help enhance my teaching strategy. One of the software that I have confidently incorporated in my class for 8 years now is the Turnitin Originality Software. Throughout these years, I can say that a number of my students are improving in their macro skills. Most importantly, they get to see the value of it. Although there is still a long way to go to educate more students on credibility and integrity in writing and speaking, I will not grow weak.
As Mother Teresa once said, “this is the meaning of true love, give until it hurts.” A plethora of teachers can relate to this because despite their relentless hard work to produce engaging and innovative lessons, there are still unappreciative parents and inactive students. However, we should know that the inevitable piquancy of pain and challenges crystallizes our humility, tenacity, and profundity. Because of this, my teaching experience teaches me to be compassionate and just. From students who simply failed a test to those who are apathetic and inclined to self-harm, I have dealt with them all. I withstood countless challenges in my 18 years of teaching because these were never a hindrance but rather a quintessential ingredient that makes my life even more fruitful and rewarding.
Then if life gets tougher, the best way to face it is through collaboration. This is another significant aspect in one’s holistic development. As the famous saying goes, “teamwork makes the dreamwork”. This is not only true with how I conduct class but with how I live life. In investigating the strengths, weaknesses, and needs of my students, I collaborate with my colleagues; thereby, we produce meaningful research papers and innovative teaching strategies. We are each other’s support system. We inspire and learn from each other.
Cooperative learning is always advantageous if applied and explained correctly. Indeed Vygotsky’s (1978) theory of social development can harness good relationships with others and oneself. That’s why I always explain to my students that we have to work hand in hand because the failure of one is the failure of all; the success of one is the success of all. Hence, I constantly remind them that the best contribution in the group is a genuine involvement. This can lead to an interdependent relationship where everyone thrives.
Impact on Student learning
To find out the impact of my teaching methodologies to my students, I observe any changes in their performance, grades, and attitude. At the same time, I solicit feedback from them once in a while. Based on the results, I address them and make adjustments if necessary.
Indeed, being a teacher is rewarding because there are many more students who appreciate our hard work. As Henry Adams’ famous line goes, “a teacher affects eternity and one can never tell where their influence stops.”
I find great joy in learning, growing, and teaching. In a nutshell, my life’s greatest purpose is to make sure that no student is left behind and that their learning is sustainable.
Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Prentice Hall.
Bhatia, V. K. (1991). A genre‑based approach to ESP materials. World Englishes, 10(2), 153‑166. 10.1111/j.1467-971X.1991.tb00148.x
McGonigal, K. (2013). The Willpower Instinct. Avery Publishing Group.
Sharot, T. (2011). The optimism bias. Current Biology, 21(23), R941-R945.
Sterling, S. (Spring 2008). Sustainable education - towards a deep learning response to unsustainability. Policy and Practice: A Development Education Review, 6, pp. 63-68.
Swales, J. M. (1990). Genre Analysis. Cambridge University Press.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Harvard University Press.