Perspective-takers, seeking out, valuing and incorporating different viewpoints and positions about learners, learning, teaching and subject matter

As a student of education, I was convinced that my fresh memory of high school and how I felt as a high school student was all I needed to connect with my students and understand how they feel.  As teachers talked about teaching to different perspectives, I thought that I did not need to change my perspective seeking skills because I had it down.  However, I was a tennis player, a good reader, and a responsible and fairly mature high school student.  Remembering my viewpoint and thinking about it when dealing with high school students would only be helpful when dealing with a clone of me.  I was hit with a bid dose of reality when student teaching.

I am now fully aware that I do not think like all students, nor did I ever think like every high school student.  All of my students have different needs and remembering how I felt as one of many students as in high school does not carry me as far as I previously thought.  As a lifelong lover of literature, I was shocked when some of my students told me they would not read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn for homework because they did not like reading or see a purpose in it.  This was the first time I knew that my perspective as a high school student was not all I needed.  I could not remember being reluctant to read or why a student would be.  I needed to adjust my perspective and figure out a way to reach students who did not find a purpose in reading the novel.

In order to incorporate different viewpoints in my teaching, I attempted to teach the book as a part of history for certain students I knew were interested in American history.  I had students journal for those who I knew liked to form a personal connection with the novel.  I made sure to discuss in class to motivate students to find a purpose and value in reading the homework.  Although not all of these strategies worked every time I incorporated them and I did not get every student to read the novel, I was able to form the habit of mind of taking on a new perspective and reaching different learners in my lesson planning.  I was so interested in taking on different perspectives in order to encourage students to read, I created my Action Research around this issue.   

In the future, I hope to continue teaching to different kinds of learners and seeing out different perspectives.  I will continue to challenge myself to seek out a different viewpoint and incorporate that viewpoint in my lesson plans.  By doing so, I will be able to reach more students and will be a generally more successful teacher.

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