Goal 1: Display knowledge of current practices, research, theories, and issues in education.

As educators it is our responsibility to provide the best learning environment for each and every student. The education that a student receives influences his decision making in all areas of life. The world changes every day and as the world changes so do the issues in society. We need to be aware of the changes around us. It is our responsibility to prepare students for their futures and we need to research the different theories and teaching practices that are being used to best meet the needs of every student.

There are different issues and expectations with today’s students versus students in the past. There are diverse groups of student that walk into the classroom every day. Students have different backgrounds, experiences, and belief systems. As educators, we must respect and value the principles conveyed by each student. In order to accomplish that, we need to try to understand and be aware of variations in culture, society, and education. The package that a teacher puts together should not be a one-size fits all. I have students of various backgrounds in my own classroom. Many of my students began their education in Mexico and then came to the United States. Teaching eighth grade math, I learned that many of these students learned long division slightly differently than the way other students in my classroom learned it. I had to be aware of this slight variation and incorporate that knowledge into my explanations when covering certain topics.

Teaching is about learning. We need to understand the educational theories in order to bring best practices into our classroom. We need to bring together the cognitive, emotional, and environmental experiences to enhance the learning of every student. We must realize and research the multiple learning styles that are conveyed by each student. These learning styles may be affected by the cultural, economic, social, and educational background of each individual. Our approaches in pedagogy should be flexible and reflective of the research that we perform. We need to be life-long learners and find those practices that will help each student inside and outside the classroom.

Artifact 1

This artifact is my teaching philosophy statement. This statement expresses my beliefs about what teaching and learning is to me. It explains some current practices that I use in my own teaching and shows my understanding of what skills students need to possess in today’s society. A philosophy is important to have because it outlines what I believe as an educator and explains how what I do helps students be successful in today’s changing world. This statement shows that I understand that the world is changing and how I as a teacher can meet the needs of students during this process.

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Artifact 2

This artifact is a book review of the book “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?” by Beverly Tatum. I wrote this review because I wanted to try to understand some of the racial issues that a few of my students face in school and society on a daily basis. It is important to get to know the students and research the issues in society that affect them. I wanted to be able to connect with my students and adapt my teaching to fit their needs. This book opened my eyes to issues that I knew were there, but didn’t understand. This review not only explained some of those current issues students face every day, but it also provided a reflection of what I learned and how I was going to use this information.

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Artifact 3

This is a journal reflection of chapters four, five, and six in the book “Drive” by Daniel Pink. The elements that Pink described in these chapters were autonomy, mastery, and purpose. This reflection connected what Pink discussed in his book to the issue of homework completion and motivation in the classroom. As students get further along in school, they seem to be less motivated to learn. This is an issue that we ran into in our math classrooms at the eighth grade level. This reflection discusses how our eighth grade math department took the issue of low motivation, low homework completion, and the lack of student questioning and adopted a new, more student centered way of teaching in order to help improve these areas of concern.

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Artifact 4

This artifact is an article review that discusses the deterrence hypothesis and the issue of penalizing late homework in today’s schools. Students today learn differently and have different ideas of what homework means to them. Students today look at homework as deliberate practice instead of just an assignment to do. Educators are realizing this difference among students, so therefore the notion of penalizing students for handing in homework has become a current issue in education. This review provides an argument for this hot topic. The deterrence hypothesis states that the act of giving a penalty for an undesirable behavior will not diminish that behavior. This review provides a different viewpoint of penalties and the desirable behavior of handing in assignments on time. It discussed the possibility of changing how a teacher thinks of homework.

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Artifact 5

This artifact is a book review of the book “Why Don’t They Learn English” by Lucy Tse. The issue that Tse described was the language barrier that immigrant students face when they walk into a classroom of all English speaking individuals. She stressed that every student learns English at a different rate and each student’s situation is slightly different. Many times people in society don’t understand what immigrants go through on a daily basis to just communicate with others. Tse shed light on the struggles and frustrations that not only the student goes through, but also the parents. As educators we need to be patient and understanding of the struggles that these immigrant students go through.

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