18 August 2010

This I Believe.

Blogging has been limited the last few weeks due to the beginning of my graduate teaching program. Tomorrow I can officially declare whether I survived the first term or not. For now, though, I would like to share an assignment we did in my Teaching and Learning class. This is my infantile pedagogy, which will hopefully grow with my experiences and learning.

This I Believe

I believe teachers have a responsibility to care for their students and their environment. Go out of your way to care for a student. Make yourself available to students between classes, at lunchtime, and after school. Get to know the families of your students. Get to know your students. Period. Talk to each student about life and issues outside of the classroom inside your classroom. Connect Social Studies themes with concerns of young adolescents. Actively engage the students through authentic learning and field exploration. Create a safe, relaxing environment for learning and participation. Don’t tolerate anything less than exceptional performance. Don’t allow anyone to fail or to settle for mediocrity. Everyone deserves better than that. Everyone deserves time and attention to achieve excellence.

I believe schools should incorporate curriculum that involves a variety of content that engages all learners. Schools should invest in their communities and build curriculum on community involvement and local businesses. Curriculum should be based on the students, not on national standardized testing. School is not a bureaucracy, but a classroom is a democracy. School programs should cater to the ambitions and dreams of students. Never should a school, teacher, councilor, or principle kill the dream of a student. All must help fuel the flames of a student’s interests and desires.

I believe curriculum should have meaning to the students. Teachers should be able to explain the reason for every lesson and instructional strategy, and should relate directly to the needs of the individual as a person, not as a student. Students should come away from their learning process being able to conceptualize what they learned and how to use it today and tomorrow. Without understanding the objective of the lesson or instructional strategy, how is a student going to be able to have a meaningful learning experience? Every student should leave my classroom and be able to share with a friend, parent, sibling, or teacher what they learned today.

I believe history should be used as a tool to guide ones life and to learn about oneself and identity. It is important to understand ones history in order to understand ones present and future. Jean Mabillion, a 15th century Benedictine scholar, wrote in his De re diplomatica, "To study history is to study the motives, the opinions, and the passions of men in order to know all the successes, the initiatives and the detours, and finally all the illusions that they make known to the mind and the surprises that they make the heart feel. In a word, it is to learn to know oneself in others.” This is what I believe. And this is what I will act upon in learning and teaching.
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