Best Practices in Teaching and Learning as a Lycean Educator

The Lyceum of the Philippines University has held a special place in my life for as long as I can remember. As a daughter of two proud Lyceans and an alumna myself, the halls of learning at LPU instilled in me a passion for education. As a Lycean educator, I strive to create a learning environment that fosters student engagement, academic achievement, and a supportive community. This article is focused on the discussion of my best practices in teaching and learning that I have found effective in my classroom. According to Piaget (1964), learning is modeling, transforming, and understanding how an object is constructed.  My teaching approach is anchored in the philosophy of constructivism, which emphasizes the active role learners play in constructing their knowledge. As a teacher, I create a dynamic learning environment through these three core principles: Integration, Collaboration, and Application.

A Constructivist approach to learning thrives on student engagement and building upon prior knowledge, thus integration is an effective way to allow students to tap into their schema and integrate various concepts across disciplines. Being a Senior High School English teacher, I make sure that I promote learning within the curriculum. In most of our lessons, I emphasize the connection of concepts present in our lessons to topics from their other subjects. This allows them to apply their knowledge and skills to new and complex problems. For instance, most topics related to Writing an Academic Text can often be integrated with topics from their Research and Filipino subjects, which require them to produce academic texts as well.

Another practice that I employ in most of my classes is the promotion of collaboration in learning and assessment. I use Group Activities as a form of assessment in teaching Oral Communication and Reading and Writing Skills.  These activities help develop the learners’ intrapersonal skills and also help build their critical thinking skills. One example of this is Collaborative Storytelling which was inspired by Early Childhood educator, Vivian Gussin Paley and her storytelling approach. I use a silent, timed storytelling activity.  Students are divided into groups, usually with five members, and each member writes a portion of a story within a set time limit, each student is assigned to write a specific part of their story’s plot, passing the paper on without speaking.  This promotes spontaneous creativity and problem-solving as the group builds a cohesive narrative.  For example, Writer 1 would be asked to write the Exposition of their story, Writer 2 would write their Rising Action, and so on. The students are required to maximize their time to read the previous writer’s work and to write their continuation of the story. This activity fosters communication among students as they refine their collective story.

Another activity that I employ to promote collaboration and acknowledge my students’ diverse learning styles is Differentiated Group Activities.  Building on Howard Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences, I offer activities that cater to different learning styles.  For an Oral Communication lesson on the different types of Speech Contexts, one group might create a short drama presenting one context, another group may make a visual art or comic strip of a context, while a third group writes a poem on the differences of two contexts. This allows students to learn and express their understanding in ways that resonate with them, leading to deeper engagement.

Application of the learning content can help learners to fully absorb and retain the lesson. Integrating and applying the lesson to its actual context and manner of application will not only help students learn new knowledge but apply it in a real-world context. With this, another teaching approach that I employ is the Discourse-based teaching approach. Discourse-based approaches to language teaching allow for target language engagement that focuses on meaning and real communication (Celce-Murcia and Olshtain, 2OO5).  

As a Senior High School teacher, I have applied this approach to my discussions in Oral Communication, English for Academic and Professional Purposes, and Reading and Writing Skills. As a form of motivation, I often present authentic materials to my students, such as video conversations from films, speeches, advertisements, and articles. I ask them to comment on its content and I also encourage them to share their insights on the materials’ message and meaning. We then anchor the topic to the presented material as we go through the discussion. This is highly effective, especially in teaching Oral Communication, moreover, some of the activities that I have asked them to perform were debates, speech delivery, and interviews. Allowing students to perform or present authentic activities like role-playing, mock interviews, and news reporting can help them to gradually apply their understanding of the topic. In teaching EAPP and Reading and Writing Skills, our discussion did not only focus on the technical features of writing academic and professional texts, but we also delved into their real-life applications. As a form of assessment, I require my students to create their college admission letter, job application letter, and resume before we conduct our mock job interview. Integrating discourse can provide learners with an idea of the form and function of language within a conversation.

In summary, these best practices, grounded on the constructivist approach, have yielded positive results.  The process of teaching and learning has become increasingly challenging for both students and teachers in this day and age. Thus, it is essential for the teacher to thoroughly understand the student’s learning style, skills, and requirements before selecting an appropriate approach. As Lycean educators, we have a responsibility to nurture well-rounded individuals prepared for a volatile, uncertain, and complex world.  After all, as Piaget stated, “The principal goal of education is to create men who are capable of doing things, not simply of knowing things.”


Piaget, J. (1964). Cognitive Development in Children: Development and Learning. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 2, 176-186.

Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and Education. New York: Macmillan Company.

Celce- Murcia, M & Olshtain, E (2005).  Discourse-based approaches: A new framework for second language teaching and learning.  In Eli Hinkel.  Handbook of research in second language teaching and learning. Laurence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. New Jersey.