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Educational Philosophy



Anxieties of all sorts keep students' minds racing from the load of assignments that they have to hand in, to the activities they will be engaged in later, to what their peers are thinking about them right now. My goal is to keep students challenged and focused on the tasks at hand. In order to accomplish this:
  • The students must know what they are to do. The teacher needs to provide concise description of the outcome (written, verbal, or both) detailing exactly what the students are to have done at the end of a period.
  • The students must know how they are to accomplish their task. The teacher needs to provide clear instructions (written, verbal, or both) discussing the steps required to complete a task.
  • The students must know how long they are expected to work on a task. The teacher needs to emphasize the limited amount of time that students have to complete a task. If a student believes he has as long as he wants to complete a task, the teacher will find him idle.
  • The students must know why they are completing a task. The teacher needs to provide tasks that are practical. The best tasks are ones that are relevant to the students' lives. Tasks must be easily connected to a larger learning outcome rather than a disjointed task that is simply meant to take up time.


To students, schoolwork often seems disconnected and irrelevant to their daily lives. Their school experience is made up of a mass of classes and assignments that appear to have little to do with one another, or anything to do with their lives outside of school. As a teacher, I want to connect students to the learning process by using real-life issues, information and materials from other disciplines, and reflection to allow them to surround themselves with meaningful learning opportunities. The best learning happens when students care about what they are learning.


An ancient Chinese proverb says "Tell me, I forget. Show me, I remember. Involve me, I understand.” My students will have as much practice at the English language arts as I can give them. As the proverb so wisely affirms, understanding only comes from doing something, not from listening and watching. In a language arts classroom, this means that in order for students to understand literature, they must experience it rather than simply read it and listen to it. In order to understand composition, students must put it to use as often as possible. Growth in understanding will happen with each practical experience.


Students must feel a sense of responsibility for their own behavior and learning. In classroom management, students must know the expected behaviors and the consequences for behaving otherwise. Offering students a choice between a positive consequence for expected behavior or a negative consequence for unacceptable behavior is key in setting students up to be responsible for their own behavior. A similar outcome occurs in learning. If a student is given the opportunity to choose between multiple options for completing assigned outcomes, the student has a sense of ownership over the choice and over the outcome. This also gives the teacher the opportunity to offer students assignments that appeal to students' multiple intelligences.


Regardless of circumstance, background, or ability, students should have the opportunity to explore their learning potential in an interesting and satisfying way. No two people will have the exact same way of interpreting their academic experience, and that fact makes the experience that much more interesting! In my classroom, I will make sure that everyone is included; nobody gets to disappear into the shadows and be unacknowledged. Inclusion in my classroom means that there will be a sense of community where the timid student does not need to feel nervous about asking questions or answering others' questions. In my classroom, we are all students increasing our understanding through one another's insights.