I graduated from the University of Alberta in 1992. I spent two years in Northern Alberta, two years in Quito, Ecuador, one year in Athabasca, six years in Banff, and one in Canmore at LGMS, five more years in Banff, and seven years at ERS in Canmore. I have taught students from Kindergarten to grade seven and also have Learning Support and Reading Support experience. I am now embarking on my 26th year of teaching! Wow! Has it been that long?
On a personal note, I am married and have two daughters – One in grade 8 and the other in grade 11.
My Philosophy of Teaching/Learning
My philosophy has developed and matured over the past 25 years of teaching. These ideas continue to change – as we are always discovering new things about the brain and learning along with better teaching techniques. I will continue to be a “life long learner” and I hope to instil this in the students I teach.
My main beliefs and ideas follow; (These are in no particular order)
I believe that my role as an educator is to teach and model skills so that children become “self-directed and life long learners”. Children must learn how to function with and without support from the teacher or other students. Having said this, my ultimate goal should be to provide students opportunities to work in a variety of settings (i.e. Small group, independently, one to one, large discussion group, etc…), always maintaining that the child is ultimately responsible for their performance.
I believe that there are three key concepts that all students must understand and demonstrate to become “self-directed” learners. These are as follows;
- Respect – For themselves, others and the world around them.
- Responsibility – Understanding consequences and realising their own part in the learning process.
- Perseverance – To keep working when it is difficult to do so.
I feel that as an educator I should include the following in my daily teaching;
a) I should use a number of teaching modalities – Auditory, Tactile, Visual, and Kinaesthetic. Along with this, I should teach students about Howard Gardner’s “Multiple Intelligences” and use these ideas in daily planning.
b) It is my responsibility, as a classroom teacher, to differentiate as much as I possibly can for those students with unique learning needs. I should work closely with other professionals and parents to develop an appropriate program for these students.
c) Students should be an important part of their own learning. Through inquiry and exploration they become creators of their own understanding.
d) Clear expectations of performance and behaviour should be given to students. They must also receive a great deal of “specific” feedback. This is to ensure that the student continues to be motivated and challenged to do better.
e) An enriching environment that creates challenges and interest for all students is ideal. The classroom should be an area that has low stress, high challenge, and is a safe place to be. It should also encourage novelty, humour, and enthusiasm.
f) I have a responsibility to keep current on new research and to adapt my teaching methods and strategies.
g) I believe that parents should be kept informed on this new information. They should also be given background information on why I do specific activities in the classroom.
h) A strong home – school – community connection is important. We all realise that education is not just in the classroom. This should be fostered by a consistent flow of information between parents/caregivers and the school.
i) Students should be given time to reflect on their learning – to process what they have learned. This can be done during a number of times throughout the day (i.e. centre time, reflective writing, or group discussion.)
Continuing work in progress …