Statement of Teaching Philosophy

The purpose of education is to experience life in multiple ways, to examine and determine a way to make a contribution, to make a mark on the world for which we come to know. As a teacher I am in a position to inspire, to influence, and to build upon students’ prior experiences and knowledge. When I teach, my overall goal is to engage students in experiential learning. Specifically, I ask students to reflect on their history of learning in formal and non-formal learning environments and then connect to present learning through hands-on activities and project-based exercises where students use reflection and feedback as methods to assess processes and imagine how to apply their experiences to their future careers as teachers.

As a teacher I understand there are multiple ways to learn. I pursue to create an interactive learning environment that engages in small group and whole class discussions about personally meaningful experiences. Students are expected to be active participants with course content by interacting with variety of technologies and media (i.e. iPhones, iPads, blogs, and virtual walls) and by reflecting individually and with each other. Often times, collaborative assignments are designed with the purpose of creating cooperative and interactive learning opportunities where they can examine the differences of learning individually and collaboratively.  Finally, I model multiple ways to assess what they have learned with various formative and summative evaluations.

As a teacher I believe students have diverse backgrounds and abilities; which requires a flexible and open instructional model. Regardless of the size of the class, I take time to learn about student expectations for the course and I become aware of students’ different experiences, interests, and personalities with the objective to help develop their strengths and address areas of improvement.  Learning about students helps guide my planning and instructional style in order to meet students where they are when they arrive.

As a teacher I recognize the importance of integrating multiple technologies across the curriculum for sharing, networking, teaching, and learning purposes. I ask students to utilize technologies  as means to examine multiple ways of learning and teaching. In addition, I model how to use technologies when presenting lessons and facilitating discussions. Digital media and technologies are also used to document student processes and to share artifacts.  Lastly, students realize new technologies also afford new ways of assessment.

As a teacher I believe I need to create a learning environment where students are engaged with personally meaningful learning opportunities.  My overall pedagogical approach is to create a student-centered learning environment. First, I aim to create a caring and participatory community. I prepare initial lessons with the purpose of learning more about my students, their interests, and needs. Assignments are organized to promote reflective practices, inquiry, hands-on activities, and to engage in critical analysis of current research through reading and writing assignments. My second goal is to achieve a sense of presence. I encourage students to meet with me during office hours to discuss their experiences in the field and to plan final projects.  Over the course of the semester, students are provided formative feedback and given opportunities to revise their assignments as a means to deepen learning and to improve their work. At the end of the course, students’ have been provided opportunities to think about, discuss, write, and practice ways they can implement differentiated teaching strategies and lessons across the elementary curricula.

Over the last four years, I have taught the following courses:

M333, Art Experience for the Elementary Teacher, Undergraduate course for pre-service teachers, which is designed to provide hands-on experiences with visual arts and digital media integrated across the elementary curriculum.

E594, Elementary Certification Master’s Program, Masters level seminar that supported student teachers during their elementary field placements; taught only during the fall semesters.

T550, Cultural/Community Forces and the Schools and M550, Practicum – Ethnic and Cultural Studies, Coordinated, planned, and led graduate level classes to prepare for overseas student teaching with an emphasis on cultural sensitivity and diversity, provided feedback for student teachers’ onsite assignments in schools across the United Kingdom, collaborated on development and implementation of Overseas Project Weekend Workshop, presented guest speakers from host countries.