I believe in the power of communicative teaching to overcome differences and bring about understanding across languages and cultures. I have taught a wide variety of audiences, from primary and middle school students in China, to college students in the US, from toddlers of multinational families in Lafayette, Indiana, to members of all ages in my bible study fellowship in Norman, Oklahoma. These precious experiences have revealed to me the importance of an open and engaging communicative environment for teaching, the establishment of which requires the teacher, just as the figure above shows, to transform the classroom from an instructor-centered, “teacher talk” radius to a student-centered, interactive network. Once fostered, that network should sustain and extend beyond the classroom, to help students achieve their learning goals, assist their success as individuals capable of negotiating meanings and relationships in diverse communities, and guarantee continued evaluation and improvement of the instructor with timely feedback from students and peers.
My notion of a "student-centered" classroom is indebted to Bill VanPatten's Making Communicative Language Teaching Happen (McGraw-Hill Education, 2003). I am happy to share more reflections on teaching upon request.