Mike O'Neill

Language Specialist
(610) 758-6147

Philosophy of Teaching

I would describe myself as a warm, engaging, and empathetic teacher. My teaching philosophy is founded in the belief that learning should be meaningful, enjoyable, and student-centered. Also, my teaching philosophy is strongly grounded in the communicative approach to language learning. For instance, I use a variety of pair-work, group-work, jigsaw, information gap, peer-editing, and other tasks that focus on student interaction as the cornerstone of developing skills and knowledge. Research on language learning indicates that this type of interaction and participation is vital. Simply listening to a teacher lecture for more than ten minutes does not facilitate learning. Lastly, I design activities that are kinesthetic and require students to stand, move, and interact. I think this really helps the energy of the class stay dynamic.

Furthermore, I design thoughtful lessons based on Bloom’s Taxonomy in which students have ample opportunities to define, explain, and demonstrate understanding of new knowledge before moving onto the stages of creation and production.  In an academic writing lesson on avoiding sentence fragments, I have students identify, explain, and define what sentence fragments are. That way, students actually demonstrate their understanding in real-time, a critical part of any successful lesson. Similarly, I am an avid practitioner of corrective feedback. In classroom discussions, I prompt students to notice and make corrections as seamlessly as possible. In terms of written feedback, I use a variety of implicit and explicit feedback, emphasizing to students that ‘discovering’ their mistakes will result in better learning, even though it requires more effort.