Teaching Statement

Tuyen Nguyen

Learning foreign languages holds significant importance as it serves as a powerful tool for communication, cultural exchange, and content knowledge expansion. Firstly, language serves as a bridge that connects individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds, promoting their understanding. Mastering foreign languages also enables learners to broaden their horizons and deepen their understanding of different areas and cultures. Being good at a foreign language, especially English, provides access to a wealth of knowledge and resources across various fields that may not be available in their native language, thereby enhancing their content knowledge, intellectual growth and critical thinking skills. Overall, learning foreign languages is a transformative journey that fosters communication, cultural understanding, and personal development.

In designing a language course or program, my overarching goal is to empower students with the skills and confidence needed to navigate the complexities of language and culture. To achieve this, my curriculum emphasizes a multifaceted approach that encompasses linguistic goals, cultural awareness, and critical skills.

First and foremost, I aspire for students to achieve proficiency in key linguistic areas, including grammar, vocabulary, and language fluency. By mastering level-appropriate grammatical structures and expanding their vocabulary across various topics, students can effectively express themselves and engage in meaningful communication. Moreover, I prioritize the development of all four language skills—listening, speaking, reading, and writing— over rote memorization of rules to ensure that students can confidently navigate real-life situations and interactions in the target language. Beyond linguistic competence, my curriculum encourages students to use the language as a tool for exploration and expression across different areas of interest and disciplines. By integrating language learning with content-based instruction, students have the opportunity to delve into diverse subject matter, from literature and history to science and technology, using the target language as their medium of discovery and discourse.

Furthermore, I recognize the importance of cultural competency in language learning. Alongside linguistic skills, I aim to foster an understanding of cultural norms, traditions, and perspectives associated with the target language community. Through exposure to authentic cultural materials and non-barrier classrooms, students develop cross-cultural awareness and sensitivity. In essence, my language course or program is designed to go beyond rote memorization and grammar drills, prioritizing meaningful communication, interdisciplinary learning, and cultural appreciation. By embracing a “learning in the language” approach, students not only acquire language proficiency but also gain valuable insights, perspectives, and skills that enrich their personal and academic lives.

By striking a balance between language and content knowledge, the goals outlined for the language program are reasonable and justifiable as they ensure students acquire the linguistic knowledge and skills necessary for effective communication across diverse contexts.

To achieve the stated goals, socio-cultural perspectives in which language acquisition occurs through interaction with an interlocutor or a broader community that shapes students’ motivation, emotion and identity, proves most suitable. The perspective underscores the importance of collaborative learning, where students interact and share ideas, enriching their understanding through social interaction. Effective methodologies such as Communicative Language Teaching, particularly with a focus on Task-based language teaching, and Content-Language Integrated Teaching align with these perspectives. In the classroom, my role as a facilitator involves providing scaffolding and guidance while students take center stage, exercising autonomy in content selection and role assignment, and collaboratively constructing knowledge with support from the teacher. This student-centered approach fosters active engagement and empowers learners to achieve the desired linguistic and cognitive goals effectively.

In conclusion, language learning is of great importance and it should be taught in balance between linguistic features, language skills and content knowledge through interaction with more knowledgeable ones.