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  • My Teaching Philosophy

    2010 - 09.02

    Though my philosophy is still developing as I continue to grow in my experiences working with young people, there are nevertheless several important concepts that have become a constant priority in my thinking about teaching and learning.  These are the principles upon which I hope to build my career as an educator.

    Literacy-Centered Teaching and Learning

    My philosophy of teaching is grounded first in the understanding that literacy lies (and must lie) at the center of student achievement.  Literacy, that is the ability to read and write with fluency and accuracy, as well as the ability to both make sense of language and use language to make sense of the world, is absolutely central to the intellectual development of young learners.  Words are all around us, permeating our world in every aspect of our lives.  Thus, a rich understanding and ability to use and produce written language in meaningful ways is an imperative skill.  In order to prepare students to meaningfully navigate this world of words, the elementary school day must be filled to the brim with opportunities to work carefully and deliberately with language in all curricular subjects.  This literacy work is an important academic priority, but a creative one as well, allowing learners the joy of expanding the imagination while also exploring the expressions and imaginations of others.

    Learner-Centered Classroom

    Second, I believe that effective teaching must be centered on the ever-changing and unique needs, interests, and skills of learners.  Too often, teachers base instruction only on externally articulated understandings of where or what learners could or should be.  However, if these external objectives are alone in determining instruction, how can one be sure that learner needs are being met?  Instead, creating and sustaining a learner-centered classroom is absolutely essential, and it is of primary importance in my instruction.  By learner-centered, I mean to say that the  priorities and expectations of a classroom should revolve around the needs of the learners within that classroom, changing and adapting just as the students do.  This requires a constant commitment to listening, to seeking to understand one’s classroom as the dynamic and developing entity that it is, and to working to create a safe and supportive environment in which learners can grow.  A teacher cannot possibly attempt to meet the academic demands of school, district, and state if she does not first meet the needs of her learners.  After all, if learners are not at the heart of planning and implementing instruction, what is?

    Building a Classroom Community

    Finally, I also believe that it is incredibly important to create a learning environment which supports the diverse and unique perspectives and personalities of each individual within it.  An important facet of classroom learning is behavior.  I believe that by building a classroom community in which students feel respected and supported, students will be more willing and able to respect themselves and others.  This respect fosters positive behavior and a sense of cooperation.  In a classroom in which students feel comfortable working together, learners are able to enrich their learning and their classmates’ learning by sharing their ideas with one another.  Learning is always easier and more productive in an environment in which students feel safe, welcome, and important.  Fostering such an environment is a high priority in my instruction.

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