Biosketch and Teaching Philosophy
My name is Laura White, I am in my twelfth year of teaching at Buckhorn High School. I absolutely love where I am and what I am fortunate to get to do each day. I am a Buckhorn graduate. I first gained an interest in the Spanish language from my own high school Spanish teacher. I graduated from the University of Alabama Huntsville in 2006 with a B.A. in Secondary Education and Spanish. I then graduated from the University of Alabama in Birmingham in 2010 with a M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language. I later returned to UAB to pursue my Ed.S. degree in TESOL and graduated in April of 2016.
Language acquisition is a journey; for some, it is life-long. It is scary and exciting all at once. I embrace my teaching position as an opportunity to improve the way in which students may feel about language learning, and guide them along their journey. My hopes always remain that my students become independent and confident in their ability to use the Spanish language. I want them to feel motivated by my teaching and their classmates every day.
I see myself as a continuous learner and I seek to impart the importance of learning to my students. I feel that letting my students know that I care about them, their education, and the Spanish language/culture is crucial to a safe and productive learning environment. I strive to maintain a classroom atmosphere that is conducive to learning by encouraging dialogue between myself and the students. Doing this means that students are involved in their acquisition process and I require them to take ownership of their learning. I believe that for students to learn a foreign language they must communicate in class and participate to the best of their ability. Spanish culture is the vehicle that drives my teaching. It is from culture, that students enter the input stage of language acquisition and continue on with reading and listening in the target language. Soon after speaking and writing are produced.
Language acquisition is NOT an impossible task at any age and takes time. There are linguistic stages that all students will experience in their language acquisition process. For language to be acquired, learners must actively involve themselves in the four domains of language. Receptive skills of language will occur in the beginning of the language acquisition process, thus will be more predominate in Spanish, level I. Productive skills of writing and speaking will follow receptive skills. However, all language domains will be utilized on a daily basis at some level of proficiency. I believe students' level of interest, involvement, and investment directly correlates to their proficiency level. It is important for students to see a reason for learning a language and apply it directly to their current and future benefit. Due to my belief that language acquisition occurs best in a social setting, students will be involved in a communicative classroom on a daily basis.
My desire is that students have fun with the language. I hope that my students leave my classroom with an appreciation of the Spanish culture and that they have the competence and confidence to use the language outside of the classroom setting.