Teaching Styles, Beliefs, and Philosophies: A little extra background about myself - I grew up in Chile, South America, and then went on back in the US to become a K-12 language arts teacher as well as a private music teacher. I say this because my teaching styles have been pretty much the same between the two disciplines. One thing I believe is, students need to know that there can be only one shepherd at a time - and that shepherd is the teacher. Someone has to set the standard and the pace! Having said that, I believe a shepherd also leads gently, without frustrating the student and offering lots of encouragement, pointing out the students’ strengths as well as areas for improvement (I prefer not to call them “weaknesses” because “weakness” conveys a negative response). I believe also that any student who wants to improve their natural talent/ability and has an ear for music, can improve his/her craft. However, there are some students who just really do not want to take lessons, and I also believe that parent and teacher alike must listen for their interest level in the lessons. It becomes quickly apparent, just whose idea it is to take lessons ;). If it’s the parents’ idea, for example, frequently the student will easily and quickly lose interest, no matter what the teacher says. It does everyone a favor in those cases, to discontinue lessons and perhaps re-direct that student to a different interest. In other cases, though, the student just needs the right types of interesting materials to succeed at his/her talent. Finally, it is imperative that the parent, student, and teacher maintain open lines of communication to ensure the greatest level of success.
Some of the mottos I try to live by in my teaching experiences are as follows:
•“Students don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” In short, they will follow you like the Pied Piper if you validate them and listen to them.
•“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” - Benjamin Franklin