by Ray Roberts
Rated: E · Essay · Educational · #1300878
This essay represents my teaching philosophy.
I currently teach reading to special needs learning delayed students at Daniell Middle School in Marietta, Georgia. Due to this specialty I am required to incorporate a curriculum design that is inclusive and substantive. This also requires me to have a firm grasp and understanding of the full range of diverse learners. The teaching discipline also requires that I have a strong background of self-knowledge (Bullough and Gitlin 2001) The previously mentioned perspective is also espoused by a large number of researchers that focus on the emotional work of teaching (Palmer, 1998; Hargraves, 2001) In diagnosing the complexities of working at an urban school I understand that I must have a firm grasp of my students and incorporate a curriculum that connects with their needs. The program that I have chosen at Lesley University, Education Specialist in Technology in Education is a program that has depth in terms of encompassing and including diverse learners. This broadened emphasis urges me to seek to understand students that display culture-specific behavior which stem from their cultural norms.
Social constructivist is the educational theory that I have been trained under since my teaching career began. Constructivists believe that learning is an active process by the learner and must occur within a social and real-world context. Teaching that is based upon a constructivist philosophy means creating an environment where learners interact with each other and the world around them, to create their own meaning and understanding. I have learned to embrace the learning theories of Bruner (1966), Bloom (1984), Vygotsky (1978) and Gardner (1991). I have found the theory of multiple intelligences to be the most helpful in relating to diversity in the classroom.
The above mentioned theorists have moved the conception of learning away from behaviorism (Skinner, 1974 ) toward thinking based practices in the classroom. In researching these theorists, I have come to understand that I have to respect the “priori schemas” that my students come to the table with. It is therefore validated that the learner is inextricably connected to the social setting; and the negotiation of meaning (Wenger, 1998) leads to identity formation. This in turn becomes the foundation for understanding that a person or student uses to create their own ideology.
In teaching I find that my individual teaching style is a critical part of my own pedagogy. In reflecting upon my own experience and classroom technique I find that this has a way of shaping my own attitude towards my students. In my own practice as an educator I attempt to select reading materials that consist of material that is foreign to the learner. Since this approach often sparks a diversity of understanding the students have a way of discovering the answer as long as I act as facilitator and guide them to the truth or reality. It is the way that each student defines their knowledge that makes this exchange a path towards reasoning. There may not be one correct answer, but several interpretations are possible (Marva Collins, 1997)
During the 1990’s, technology in classrooms like the internet, distance learning environments, and wireless networks emerged. The National Center for Effective Schools published a report which identified and described four general themes associated with high performance within schools. Effective (teachers) schools or schools that work, exhibit best practices for teaching instruction and learning that utilize technology appropriately. In 2001, with an increase in the technological era, the federal administration promised education reform in which “No child will be left behind” (Bush, 2001).
Therefore, I stress technology in my classroom using proven strategies to assist students in achieving their highest potential. Technology appears to be the tool that will bridge the learning gap and facilitate successful learning environments regardless of a student’s socioeconomic background. I am currently working on a plan to incorporate the internet, white-boards, hand held devices and laptops.
Until I began to interact in the academic exchange at Lesley University, I had no clue as to the importance of assessment in the classroom. Since, I have embraced the theories of Dr. Stiggins I have been made aware of the importance of assessment. Dr. Stiggins believes that students must be in charge of their learning (pg. 17) and that students remain/regain self-confiden(t)ce if they know and understand where they are now in relation to the target (pg 19, 45). Also, Dr. Stiggins (1997) theorized that “there can be no effective assessment until we bring[ing] students into the assessment process . . . demystifying the meaning of success in the classroom. . . [and] acknowledge[ing] that students use assessment results to make the decisions that ultimately will determine if school does or does not work for them” (p. 19). Stiggins also contends that “no single method can serve all of our assessment needs at all levels” (p. 88). “In selecting the appropriate assessment involves setting clear achievement targets and choosing the method that provides the most direct view of student performance—that permits the strongest inferences from the assessment results to the actual status of the achievement target” (Stiggins, 1997, p. 88).
This course has been one of the most enlightening and challenging in terms of the course content. From the beginning in Module One we were challenged to assess our own assessment experiences whether they were positive or negative . It was alarming to discover that there is actually a group of parents that plan to boycott statewide assessments. Also, it is well known that assessments that are not administered correctly can scare or impede a learner’s self-confidence.
However, I believe that one of the most rewarding exercises was the activity in Module Two that showed us how to break down a content standard. At the conclusion of this exercise, it became evident to me that I was merely approaching content standards from an abstract perspective instead of viewing them as achievement targets.
Collins, Cathy, & Mangieri, John N. Teaching thinking: an agenda for the twenty-first century / edited by Copyright 1992 by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.References
Collins, Marva (1982) Marva Collins' Way, by Marva with Civia Tamarkin Amazon Press
Collins, Marva (1990 ). The Marva Collins method; a manual for educating and motivating your child. Amazon Press
Stiggins, Richard J. (2005). Student-Involved Classroom Assessment (4th Ed.).