Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Enhanced Teaching Philosophy

My teaching and learning philosophy is influenced by my background and life experiences.  My family and I moved to Connecticut from Puerto Rico when I was 7 years old. I spoke no English, other than the English I learned as a result of singing children songs.   In 1963, the classroom make up in terms of student ethnic diversity was very different than today. Bilingual Education and English Language Learners programs were non existent.   Yet the dedication, kindness, and empathy of one second grade teacher made a world of difference that helped me through and started me on a positive educational journey.  The sting of language and culture were lessened by her smiles and gentle mannerism. Her support encouraged me to learn and to adapt.  By the end of the school year, I was fluent in English even though a culture gap existed.  I was on my journey.  I wish I could say the journey was without flaw.  My parents were supporters of education and understood its importance and value,  however, because of economic reasons, our family moved well over 20 times during my K-12 years. These moves disrupted my flow of learning.   I share this story because my beliefs, ideals, and philosophy in education are partially shaped as a result of my personal life and educational experiences.

I believe teachers bring perspectives to the classroom that are based on their unique personal experiences. These perspectives can motivate students and  help them on their educational journey.  It is important for teachers to have an understanding, respect, and appreciation of their students’ background.  A positive and healthy student teacher relationship is built on mutual respect. The classroom is a perfect stage in which teachers can share their experiences and enrich the lives of their students.  Learning will flourish in a classroom where there is respect and appreciation.  

I believe among the emerging strengths in education is the institution of the Common Core State Standards. Regardless of location, students will learn and be assessed on a common set of skills.  For transient students,  this will prove beneficial.  Educational disruptions that occur when a student moves from one place to another will decrease. Common core skills in reading, writing, listening, mathematics, critical thinking and processing should be taught in all subject areas.  These skills are relevant and necessary in all aspects of life and should be taught in that scope.  

Our classrooms and communities are becoming more diverse culturally and ethnically.  Our global economy relies on the skills and knowledge of a culturally and ethnically diverse workforce. Collaboration and cooperation are key elements to success in today’s globally flattened economy.   It is of great importance that educators embrace the diversity found in the classrooms and in society in order to help students develop the skills and dispositions they will need for future success.  

Technology can make learning authentic and meaningful for students. Technology is transforming education.  Students are learning and gaining knowledge 24/7 beyond the classroom walls.  Outside the classroom, students are pursuing their interests and curiosity.  Their content  is rich and alive with multimedia and engaging. The Internet provides an abundance of learning resources and a venue to communicate and share information.  Student work can now be published on the Internet for the world to view. A very powerful and exciting time for both students and teachers. Teachers should endorse and support learning that is relevant to their students’ experience. Learning activities should develop the skills they will need to successfully enter college and/or work.  Learning experience should be developed that are student centered and of interest to students.   are motivated and more interested in their learning when they have a reason and purpose for learning.   Project based learning is a student centered approach that provides students with opportunities to practice and use skills, explore and collaborate, and offers an ideal learning environment of real life and purposeful learning.  Students are motivated when they have an audience that reaches beyond the teacher’s desk.  Students perform better when they know that their work will be presented to others. They take pride and ownership of their work.

Student reflection on what they have learned is an important learning activity. Providing students with the opportunity to think about their work and their learning will  help students gain insight about their learning and develop the skills for life long learning.
Finally, I believe in providing students with opportunities to get involved in school. Students who join clubs, sports teams, and participate in extracurricular activities will perform better academically.  They feel they are contributing members and citizens of their school.  They will take pride in their school and recognize it as a vehicle for advancement in life.  

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