H3

H3-Honor the Classroom/School Community as a Milieu for Learning [1]. It is essential that all teacher candidates work hard to create an environment where students can learn, be safe, and grow. There are so many aspects that go into building a better learning environment, and I believe that teachers should do all that they can to make this happen [1]. Throughout my experience in EDU 2200, Foundations and Educational Psychology, I have learned new information that can help me apply this HOPE standard in my future classroom. I was asked to write a reflection of the course while thinking about ways in which I can implement this standard of H3, the link to the reflection can be found here: Lessons that Build Excellent Teachers [2].

As I reflected on our lessons about developmental theories/theorists, child abuse/neglect, and the history of American public education, I also found that each of these lessons could teach me new ways to practice this standard in my future [3]. For example, I was able to view student learning in a new light after learning about the theories of Piaget and Bandura. Additionally, I touched on the importance of student safety in the section about child abuse/neglect, because if the classroom is supposed to be an environment for learning, it must first be a safe place. Finally, I reviewed an interesting new piece of history I learned from this course and thought about how this was going against the standard of H3. I then considered the ways in which America has changed since then and how our schools are continuing to move forward in order to better student learning environments. This reflection displays my understanding of how I can honor the classroom/school community as a milieu for learning by encouraging me to take what I have learned in this course and use it as a resource for how I will want to set up my future classroom [3].

Completing this reflection has taught me to use the knowledge I am gaining from these courses and apply them into my future classroom in order to create a better learning environment [4]. It has helped me gather up the major themes and take-aways from this course into one collective review, and it has made me realize how much can be learned in only ten short weeks [4]. As a future educator, this knowledge of how to incorporate the H3 standard will benefit both my students and I, because the classroom is a place for everyone to learn, student and staff combined [5]. I hope to extend my knowledge on this topic by researching more ways in which I can inspire and encourage learning to take place [6]. Additionally, getting to know student needs and wants and assisting them with these would greatly benefit this process and support learning [6].

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EDU 2104-Introduction to Education: Course Reflection

Going into this class, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you what my personal teaching philosophy was, and I didn’t have the first idea how to write a proper lesson plan. I was still somewhat unsure on becoming a teacher, and I had very little experience in the classroom. Now that I have completed this course, I can say with confidence that all of those things have changed. EDU 2104 in addition to the other two courses that are a part of the Foundations quarter (EDU 2200/EDU 2300) were my first official education courses at SPU. I’ve realized how lucky I am to attend a school that has an education program as good as this one, because I feel that even after one quarter, I have already grown so much. Now that the quarter is coming to a close, I have a chance to compile all that I’ve learned and reflect on my experience.

Our first area of focus in this course was to discuss and compare different teaching philosophies. The goal of doing so was to not only become more knowledgeable on the topic, but to discover which philosophy we identify with most. To help us do this, we were assigned a reading that touched on Perennialism, Essentialism, Progressivism, Existentialism, and Social Reconstructivism as five unique philosophies. After reading, my choice was not as easy as I thought it would be. I discovered that each philosophy has their own strengths as well as weaknesses, and I came to the conclusion that I will most likely incorporate themes from multiple philosophies into my classroom instead of only one. However, if had to chose just one, I would chose Progressivism. This philosophy stood out to me because it brings up the idea that we must not only be teaching our students what to learn, but how to learn. Progressivism is centered on the student, not the content, as the reading states, “the philosophy of progressivism espouses the idea that the focus of education should be students rather than content and that whatever is taught should be meaningful” (Martin & Lewis, 2007, p. 50). I like the student-centered approach because I believe that every individual learns differently. It is important to identify the ways in which every student learns best in order to be a more effective teacher.

Another important aspect of teaching that we covered in this course is lesson planning. I have been learning how to make a good lesson plan, and as our final I will be tested on my abilities by presenting my own lesson to the School of Education. As a future teacher, this is a very important skill to learn early on, because a big part of teaching is planning. I’m very glad we covered this in class, because not only is it necessary, but I discovered that I enjoy writing lessons very much. One of the first steps that helped me understand lesson plans was distinguishing between the standard, central focus, and learning target. Creating the main objective(s) in this beginning section is the part that guides the rest of the lesson. It’s stated that, “every effective lesson plan should build toward the achievement of the objective and connect to long-term instructional goals” (Lesson Planning, p. 77). I’ve learned to remember this as I write my own lessons, and thanks to the practice I’ve had in this course, I now feel confident that I can write a good lesson on my own.

Out of everything that was required of us in this course, the one activity that I found the most helpful was completing twenty hours of volunteer service. This requirement was to be completed in an educational setting, and I chose to complete mine at a local elementary school working as an aid in a first grade classroom. Even though I am more interested in teaching fourth or fifth grade (language arts concentration) I loved my time working with these students, and was able to come out of it feeling more prepared for my future. I was able to apply my experiences there to the topics we discussed in class, and I made connections with the students that I will never forget. Now that I have completed the hours that were needed for this course, I hope to extend my learning and volunteer in more classrooms if possible.

Now that I have completed this course, I have learned many useful skills that will help me in my future as an educator. From philosophies of education, to lesson planning, to classroom experience, this course has benefitted me and prepared me in many ways. I have enjoyed my experience in this class and look forward to the next step in my journey into the world of education.

References:

Lesson Planning, Part 1: Standard Lesson Structure. (n.d.). In (p. 77).

Martin, D., & Loomis, K. (2007). Chapter Two: Your Philosophy of Education. In Building Teachers: A Constructivist Approach to Introducing Education (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth.

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H4

H4-Honor Family/Community Involvement in the Learning Process [1]. There is so much to learn from the people and the places that lie outside the walls of a school. I view this principle as seeking opportunities for students to engage with their families and communities, resulting in a wholesome learning experience [1]. For my Introduction to Education course, I was required to complete twenty hours of service learning in the field of education. I chose fulfill this requirement at John Rogers Elementary, and spent my time assisting in a first grade classroom, helping both the students and the teacher. Now that I am finished with my time there, I can reflect on my experience, and how it connects to this HOPE principle.

Family Involvement. The classroom that I was in did an excellent job implementing this standard into their educational practices. During my experience, I was lucky enough to observe multiple occurrences of both family and community involvement. My first example of this involves the parents of students as active aids in the classroom. Almost every time I visited, there would be one or even two parents present in class, lending a helping hand. After doing some research, I came across an interesting piece of information [2]:

“In a comprehensive review of research on parent involvement, Henderson and Berla (2002) found compelling evidence that parent involvement improves student achievement. Parent involvement is also associated with improvements in students’ attendance and social behavior” (Banks & Banks, 2013, p. 332).

I personally noticed that students were more on task while parent visitors were helping in the classroom (especially the child of the parent helper!). The piece of evidence above connects to the standard of H4 by demonstrating the impact that family involvement has in the classroom [3]. Classrooms who utilize the opportunity to have parental aids will not only benefit the students, but the teacher as well. Working in a classroom that involves parent helpers has helped me see just how much the principle of H4 can affect the learning process [4].

Community Involvement. My next example focuses on community involvement through helping those in need and learning the importance of giving back. During one visit, I listened to the teacher explain UNICEF boxes to her students. This is a popular activity for elementary schools to do on Halloween, and all of John Rogers was participating. The idea is to give each child a UNICEF box to carry with them while they go trick-or-treating. Instead of asking for candy, students will ask for a donation that then goes to children in need around the world. Below is a picture of the UNICEF box that the students received [2].

unicefbox

“Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF”

This was a great way to get students to go out into their community, and to give them a greater purpose on this night other than simply collecting candy. I see this connecting to the HOPE standard of H4 because not only are they learning about the impact they can make by giving back, but they are actively involving their community in this learning process [3]. I was able to be in the classroom both when they were handed the UNICEF boxes, and when they returned them. Watching the kids get so excited about the money they had raised was really neat, and I think one reason why this is so popular in schools is because it is something that almost everyone can do. Through this experience, I’ve learned about ways that schools incorporate this HOPE principle by using UNICEF boxes, and I’ve witnessed how involving students’ communities really gets them excited about learning and giving back [4].

I have learned a lot through my experience working with this classroom, most of which I will take with me in my career as an educator. After observing the ways that the teacher and the school involves the families and communities of the students, it is clear to me that it makes a big difference, and it is something that I strive to do in the future [5]. Exploring alternate ways to learn outside of the classroom can add an entirely new and exciting element to the learning process. My goal is to continue my research on this topic, so I can collect even more ideas for the future [6]. Whether this be through online resources, textbooks, or spending more time in other classrooms, I hope to gain new insights on other ways that I can implement this HOPE principle [6]. Overall, this experience was reassuring for me, and it helped me become even more excited for teaching, rather than scare me away from it. In light of the H4 principle, I end with a passage:

“Educators lose an important voice for school improvement when parents and community groups are not involved in schools. They can give teachers unique and important views of their students as well as help the school garner resources that are available in the community” (Banks & Banks, 2013, p. 332).

References

Banks, J., & Banks, C. (2013). Communities, Families, and Educators Working Together for School Improvement. In Multicultural Education: Issues and Perspectives (8th ed., p. 332). John Wiley & Sons.

Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF. (n.d.). Retrieved November 16, 2014, from http://www.unicefusa.org/mission/usa/trick-or-treat

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H2

H2-Honor Student Access to Content Material [1]. As a teacher, it is important to honor every student by creating a classroom that supports equal opportunity for all. To me, H2 means providing useful educational content in a way that all students can access it [1]. Since every individual has a different story, it is likely that some students may not have certain resources at home (computer/books/etc.) that they need in order to succeed in school. Our job as teachers is to accommodate to these students by offering them ways that they can get to these resources. The picture below shows a bookshelf that belongs to a High School classroom I visited [2]. In this classroom, the teacher has provided a collection of books that she has considered exceptional literature, and that is appropriate for the age group of her students. On the bookshelf, there is a sign that lets students know that they are welcome to borrow any of these books for as long as they like [2].

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“Lending Library: Please take and read!”

This is an effective way to incorporate H2 into the classroom because some students may not have access to books at home [3]. In addition, maybe they don’t have the money to buy books, or they can’t find anything in the school library that interests them. This way, students are encouraged to read more outside of school, and they can do this needing nothing but their active minds. From my experience in this classroom, students seemed to utilize this bookshelf regularly [4]. During classroom reading time, some students will chose a book on the shelf, begin reading, and decide they want to take it home to continue reading. This is a great way to motivate students to become better readers, and to expand their learning outside of the classroom. I’ve learned from this experience that when these kinds of resources are being offered at school, many students will use them to their advantage, especially if they cannot access them at home.

As an educator, I realize that the school must be a place where students can get the recourses they need [5]. Whether it’s books, computers, art supplies, etc., we should be providing our students with the tools for success. In my future classroom, my goal is to have a bookshelf like this one that is there for students to use and to learn from [5]. I believe that reading at home can strongly benefit a students learning, both inside and outside the classroom. So I hope to collect enough books to create a free-reading bookshelf of my own. In order to continue learning about ways we can honor student access to content material, we have to know what our students have access to and what they do not [6]. Ask them if they have a computer at home, if they don’t, show them where the computers at school are and how to use them. If they are lacking the proper art supplies to complete a project at home, allow them time in the classroom to work on it. Make sure that every student gets an equal opportunity to succeed in the classroom, regardless of what they have at home. Finding ways to include every student and providing them the necessary resources is a key part of creating a great classroom [6].

 

 

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