Mrs. Barton's Home Page
Welcome to Mrs. Barton's homepage. I invite you to look through the pages to find the helpful information I have placed here. If there is something you can't find, please email me with a request. My contact information is at the top of the page.
"Good people sometimes make mistakes. A person of integrity will honestly face and correct his/her mistakes, and that is an example we can respect. Sometimes people try but fail. Not all worthy objectives are realized despite one's honest and best efforts. True maturity is not always measured by the fruits of one's labors but by the labors themselves-by one's striving."
Mrs. Barton's Teaching Philosophy
Teaching Philosophy August 27, 2012
Giving others the access and opportunity to learn a subject of their own accord is the core of my teaching philosophy. In my opinion, teaching should reflect a coaching style, by which I mean the following:
A coach introduces new skills or material, models the information for the student, and then guides the student through his own acquisition and mastery of the skill or information. The coach observes the learning process, gives constructive advice, and then gets out of the way while the student continues gaining mastery.
A teacher is a ballet mistress. Only the dancer can learn and perform the movements of the dance. The ballet mistress cannot force the dancer to perform exactly as she does, because the dancer is a different person. Learning ballet is a scaffolding process; the aspiring dancer learns basic movements, then practices. When those movements are sufficiently fluid, she learns more intricate movements, guided by the ballet mistress, and then begins to put the movements together. The ballet mistress must continue to encourage, demonstrate, and offer constructive comment (I dislike the word criticism). As mastery develops, the movements become more natural to the dancer, and begin to flow together. Now the dancer is actually dancing!
Thus it is with speaking and writing the English language. The teacher introduces new vocabulary appropriate to the lesson goal, and helps the students understand the words meaning (especially those with multiple meanings) and how to use it in context. The teacher uses writing activities to help the student anchor the new knowledge and get practice in using it. Writing is a complex process that not only helps students learn; it helps them think. It is a way students can figure out what they know. A good English teacher shows, not tells, the students what it is they need to do. Janet Emig said, Writing represents a unique mode of learning--not merely valuable, not merely special, but unique.
It is my belief that all students, no matter their origin or skill level, benefit from learning academic English and how to write it purposefully. In my experience, the ability to speak and write coherently is fast disappearing. I frequently see and hear both K-12 students and adults butcher standard English. Too many people speak and write only their own dialect of English, and are blithely unaware, or uncaring, of how this can undermine their efforts to advance or succeed in society. English is a vast and complex language, which includes many regional and social dialects, much as Chinese does. English is also very confusing to students, because for every rule, there are multiple exceptions.
Academic English is what allows different people the chance to communicate effectively with each other. Academic English is the language of business and science around the world because of its descriptive precision. It is therefore obligatory knowledge for anyone wishing to succeed in these arenas.
My students learn academic English far more quickly when they have multiple opportunities to write, anything from a simple summary statement of the days lesson to a formal five paragraph essay. It hasnt mattered whether they were Chinese, Hispanic, Philipino, African-American, or SIFE (Students with Interrupted Formal Education). For all my students, proficiency in academic English often foretells academic, workplace, and personal success. It is my goal to give anyone who wants it enough to work for it, the fluency and command of English he needs to become who he wants to be.