Originally written in 1996, revised in 2004 & 2010.
All children can learn and be successful. All the rest of my philosophy of education grows out of this simple and powerful statement.
The future of our society is based upon our ability to change and grow. The skills and knowledge required in the future must enable citizens to take change in stride. In order to thrive in this atmosphere, every high school graduate will need to achieve these goals: be a creative problem-solver, a lifelong learner, and an effective communicator. Each student must also know how to use and understand technology, work efficiently in group situations, and be a responsible and involved citizen. In order for the high school graduate to be prepared, we must teach these skills and knowledge at all levels of education, especially Middle School.
The unifying factor among these goals is the personal growth of the student. This growth is the essence of our challenge in school, for without growth there can be no learning. Because appropriate learning takes place through many different experiences, activities must be designed to lead the student from practical issues to theoretical principles. Appropriate learning also occurs as the student freely engages in making choices, while weighing personal responsibilities and the possible consequences of her actions. It is my role as educator to present principles, values, and reasons to the student, and to encourage him to examine the choices and decide whether or not to accept them.
I recognize the diversity of learning styles among my students, and I believe in providing a variety of strategies to make learning accessible to all students. It is important that I find ways to utilize the differences in a democratic atmosphere that fosters cooperation rather than competition. Group work will play a large role in my classroom, for it allows both a hands on investigation of the content and an opportunity to build social skills. Group work also allows for individual strengths to be highlighted within the safety of the group. Students in my class will practice the skills of critical reading and writing in activities that demand an exploration of ideas and hypotheses after careful research and planning. Students will also have the opportunity to express their ideas in ways other than writing; posters, stories, three dimensional art, and role-playing are some of the alternative activities available in my class.
My goal as an educator is to help my students grow academically, morally, and socially. By respecting the differences of each students' personality and learning style, I will enable each student to grow to become the life-long learner and active citizen needed in our society. In short, I do all that I can to ensure that all students learn and are successful.