Arlene H. ~ Teaching Philosophy
Our lives depend on the choices we make which all students can begin to understand even at a very young age, and regardless of circumstances; choices can make things better or worse. I am pleased with the results of my choices, especially my choice to educate, knowing that students deserve a dedicated adult who genuinely cares about their growth. With life full of opportunities, one just needs to stay aware; I hope to impart this wisdom onto students of all ages.
I completely believe in a student-centered environment to achieve the maximum results of seeing students reach their full potential. As John Dewey reminds us, “Learning is individual growth that comes about through social experiences” (Roblyer & Doering, p39). Gathering information is good, but also, allowing the students opportunities to apply their knowledge and correct their own mistakes may contribute to their confidence levels and deeper understanding. Though I value structure, I also believe that a revolving door in exchange of ideas and knowledge between teachers and students allows more opportunity to expand on critical thinking in finding truth and explanation.
My influential psychologist has been Lev Vygotsky for quite some time now. I admire, and adhere to what we now know as the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD), in terms of scaffolding and watching students take on new skills with guidance, leading to independence. “Within educational research, the concept is now used widely (or referred to) in studies about teaching and learning in many subject-matter areas, including reading, writing, mathematics, science, second-language learning, moral education…” (Chaiklin, 2003).
All Students have the right, and ability to learn, develop, and progress no matter where they come from physically or mentally, and regardless of circumstantial factors. It is my responsibility for the short time I have with students to ensure that they ALL have the chance to make progress in their lives academically and personally, as they continue to grow. Our recent well-researched knowledge of Multiple Intelligences known through Howard Gardner is kept close in mind and heart as I teach every day.
In the last 10 years, my experience has been directly related to teaching and tutoring students from Kindergarten to 9th grade, as well as adults. During my Undergraduate years, I was a Paraprofessional working with children with Autism in the typical classroom, to facilitate academic progress and personal growth. Upon graduation (2005), I took the opportunity to teach English abroad in South Korea for a total of five years, in a Private Academy and Public Middle School. During that time period, not only did I gain much from working with and experiencing different cultures, I also earned my CELTA from Cambridge (the highest rated and most accepted certification in teaching English internationally) to have more to offer in teaching children and adults worldwide.
Within this last year from 2011-2012, I have completed my California Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and Masters in Education, and am currently working part time as an Instructional Aide in RSP with Anaheim City School District at Edison Elementary School, with grades 3-6. I feel that many times we need to remember to first develop a relationship with students to try to better understand them personally to know how we can help them academically. Sometimes, motivating factors and behavior modification has a direct impact on becoming academically successful. The thesis for my Masters is focused on understanding that our classrooms are more global than ever, and educators need to have a more cross-cultural curriculum mindset, to be able to offer a fair and equitable education to ALL students, no matter who they are or where they come from.
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