"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle


Philosophy of Teaching: Throughout my student teaching experience, I have developed a set of beliefs about what constitutes effective teaching strategies and a positive learning environment in which students are most receptive. I have organized my teaching philosophy into categories that are important to my belief system.Pointing at Board.jpg

Educational Philosophers:

Before I began my student teaching experience, I developed my own philosophy of teaching based on research of several philosophers in the field of education during my Philosophy of Education course. I was inspired by John Dewey, William Heard Kilpatrick, Jane Addams, and Howard Gardner, whose ideas are most compatible with what I believe to be the most inclusive learning environment for an array of students with a range of skills and diverse needs. A teacher should serve as a role model as well as an authority figure in the classroom, but also as a guide to help students discover their own strengths, beliefs, and interests as individual learners. I firmly believe that students should be exposed to multiple learning styles that will inspire them to cultivate their own unique problem-solving strategies that are applicable to the environment in which they live. In order to facilitate student independence and collaboration skills, I believe that students should be involved in hands on, small group activities.

Multiple Intelligences:

One instructional practice that I live by is Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Howard Gardner believed that each person possesses eight forms of intelligence: linguistic, logical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, interpersonal, and naturalistic, and that everyone has different levels of every intelligence. While most instructional practices reward logical and linguistic intelligences, the other six should be valued as well and should be incorporated into the classroom. Students should be given the opportunity to use their strengths to help them learn subjects that challenge them. For example, I could individualize instruction for a very musical student struggling with math by creating a lesson where he or she learned fractions by sight-reading musical notes. I co-taught a lesson with the art teacher using her knowledge of the artist Rousseau, who created artistic portrayals of jungles, using these images to help students learn a fourth grade ecosystems SOL to help them learn about Tropical Rainforests. I think interdisciplinary instruction is extremely helpful to students when it is appropriate to use, and I also believe that if one style of instruction is not working for a student, it is important to focus on the student's strengths and interests. I will definitely incorporate Howard Gardner's theory into my classroom.
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Individualizing Instruction:

I believe in a classroom where grades are deemphasized. and a student’s personal interests and excitement about a subject is praised. One of my first homework assignments for my students will be a list of questions to get to know them that will ask what their favorite and least favorite subject is, a hidden talent, and a hobby that they are interested in but have limited opportunity to pursue or develop skills. I will also make it my personal challenge to take subjects that students actively dislike and present the material in a different way to help them understand or appreciate them more. The way I present the information will help them synthesize it and create the ideal problem-solving strategies so that it is remembered in a way that is meaningful to them. Again, a weakness in math and lack of interest in the subject can be rectified if it is taught in combination with a students' interest. A student can learn fractions and improve other math skills through my sight-reading and arranging of music.

The Importance of Routine:

One important lesson that I have learned during my student teaching experience is the importance of maintaining familiar rules, procedures, and classroom routines in the classroom. I believe that the first few days are crucial to setting up expectations that are understandable to both students and teachers. I believe that rules should be created on the first day of school with students so that students feel that their opinion is valued and that they are a part of the creators of the rules. If students help to create the rules, they will feel responsible for enforcing them, will respect them, and will understand why they are in place. Part of effective rules is that expectations are clear. Both rewards and consequences should be established in the classroom and should be equal for every student.
ASdklfjasd.jpgI have learned that maintenance of routines make students feel safe and calm in their learning environment. Clear expectations facilitates an organized learning environment and avoids chaos. Students need to feel comfortable in the classroom in order to enjoy coming to school and putting their best effort into their work. Knowing that their rules, procedures, and routines are always consistent will help them be organized, responsible, and calm individuals which will ensure the best possible learning environment for them.

Collaboration:

One of the most important parts of teaching is planning and collaborating with administrators and teachers before instruction to ensure smooth transitions and to ensure common goals. I believe that team teaching requires extra communication, and it is important for the general education teacher to communicate with the special education teacher if a student is pulled out for instruction and is missing time in the classroom.

I also believe that student collaboration is extremely important. In order to become effective 21st century citizens, students need to develop social skills in cooperative learning groups. Students need to be exposed to differing personalities and beliefs and to utilize the strengths of their peers to work together toward a common goal. I use group work in many of my lesson plans to solidify topics that I am teaching. I think that facilitating small group work helps students connect with their peers and feel safer in their learning environment.

Learning Centers:

I believe that an excellent way of solidifying different skills in a unit of study is through cooperative learning stations. I believe that stations are efficient and hold student interest if organized in an efficient way through smooth transitions. For example, in addition to small reading groups, students could study a book that they are reading by moving through learning stations that target different skills. For example, each station could address a different reading strategy. There could be eight stations total, each focusing on a different group of skills: for example, fluency, comprehension, summarizing, sequencing, comparing/contrasting, predicting, inferencing, and distinguishing fact from opinion. With stations, teachers can use formative assessment to distinguish students' specific strengths and weaknesses.

Technology:

Students should have technology incorporated into their learning experiences, because in the 21st century, technology skills are essential to functioning effectively in most jobs. Students should continue practicing their typing skills. I encourage Type to Learn, and also typing final copies of papers that they write in the classroom. I also can bring my own skills in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel to help students refine their own skills. PowerPoints are a great way for students to practice using technology to organize presentations while practicing oral presentation skills. I aim to incorporate technology into my classroom naturally and smoothly so that it augments students' experiences in the classroom. Take a look at my Prezi lesson plan on google maps