Discussion topic #3: Reflect on your philosophy of teaching and learning. What tools have you encountered that help you to enact this philosophy and engage this praxis? Share specific tools and explore how you might employ them to enact your vision of a meaningful learning experience in your disciplinary area. Please feel free to share citations and/or links so that we may find, use, and reflect on them too.
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Reflecting back on being a student I learned best when the teacher had a really good connection with the class and when the lessons were taught differently and had students be active. Through my observations as a teacher I see this as well. When students have positive relationships with teachers they strive to do well and put effort in. Learning about your students helps to understand how students learn best and how they like to learn. Additionally, to engage students, lessons that are fun or different, where they are not just taking notes but are hands on doing an activity helps students to be engaged in the lesson and will help them remember the lesson and the information they were taught. For example, if reviewing for a test games like Jeopardy or Kahoot, where students answer questions using cellphone, laptop, iPad, etc. help students prepare for the test while being engaged. Projects or simulations where students can express themselves however they want and in ways they excel add to students learning growth and comprehension of the material.
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Erica, I feel you have expressed many key points here. I really do think that engagement should be a key aspect of every teacher’s philosophy. Teachers who have trouble with developing creative and engaging lessons should strive to explore outside resources and collaborate with their colleagues to be as successful as they can be. I have known that I have wanted to work in the field of education since I was about ten and having a strong connection with both an English and a few Spanish teachers in high school really sealed the deal for me. They were inspiring in the sense that they were able to really push students to be the best versions of themselves and produce the best work they could. Almost of all of the lessons they created were rich in critical thinking and incorporated a wide range of media. As you have mentioned, opportunities for student choice and expression really aid in the comprehension of the material while expanding their schema. I believe that teachers need to understand that they should strive to be lifelong learners and be open to learning from their students.
I believe that developing a strong sense of classroom community through the use of culturally responsive teaching will lead to an enjoyable academic experience and prepare our children to make powerful impacts within their communities and our world as a whole. Education is more than a writing utensil, a piece of paper and instruction within a classroom setting. Ensuring all students see the material they are learning as relevant as well as respecting their peers and coming together to help each other learn is essential for academic success. Genuine care, respect, unity, compassion and understanding are qualities that drive academic success that every educator should strive to possess and attain within their respective academic environment to ensure success and lifelong learning. Language and culture are directly related and it is important to learn, respect and celebrate each student’s culture while striving to introduce many others to them as they assist each other and are assisted in learning a language/culture that is different from their own. When majoring in both Adolescent ed and Spanish in my undergrad, I observed many Spanish teachers and teachers across other content areas solely implementing direct instruction which never really receives a positive response from students. There are definitely times across all disciplines where direct instruction is necessary but I feel hands on learning and integrating technology are what students respond best to and learn the most from. As I have shifted gears and am now in the TESOL program, I have observed both direct instruction and hands on learning with technology integration. When speaking to the professors who work with ELLs I have been told that in many other cultures direct instruction is what is expected and the students must adapt. I don’t necessarily agree with this as the learners who were being taught in the opposite manner seemed to me more engaged with their peers and content. However, I feel more observation and experience is needed on my part to determined how I really feel on the matter. If anyone else has any thoughts or experience with this please feel free to share them with me!