Raising up Critical Thinkers...
I believe that ALL students have the capacity to learn. No. Matter. What.
It is most important to understand that each student is an essential partner in his/her learning. I am here to instruct, guide, challenge, support and inspire; each student must choose to come prepared to learn, question, remain engaged, and seek support when necessary.
I am a big proponent on students becoming PROBLEM SOLVERS and Producers instead of Consumers! In order to establish this in these students’ lives, it is essential that they analyze their work and the world around them to become CRITICAL THINKERS!
In order to reach ALL students, I implement Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences (1983). My lessons will be tailored to my students' best ways of learning in order to tap into their interestes. In a study regarding this theory, Gardner states:
"In the heyday of the psychometric and behaviorist eras, it was generally believed that intelligence was a single entity that was inherited; and that human beings – initially a blank slate – could be trained to learn anything, provided that it was presented in an appropriate way. Nowadays an increasing number of researchers believe precisely the opposite; that there exists a multitude of intelligences, quite independent of each other; that each intelligence has its own strengths and constraints; that the mind is far from unencumbered at birth; and that it is unexpectedly difficult to teach things that go against early ‘naive’ theories of that challenge the natural lines of force within an intelligence and its matching domains." (Gardner 1993: xxiii)
My goal is to get students to a point of competent, independent function at their developmental level by supplying them with information, skills training, and models from which they can apply new concepts. I often compare my role to that of a coach—appraising student efforts, redirecting, cheering, correcting, and insisting on plenty of exercise. Motivation is somewhat dependent upon positive relationships formed with students but more often on an appropriate level of challenge, somewhere in between frustration and ease. Vygotsky refers to this as the Zone of Proximal Development (Vygotsky, 1987). I facilitate learning by modeling a process myself, i.e., through demonstration and explanation. Novice learners often rely on imitation initially, but with encouragement and confidence building activities, they move beyond reliance on models and begin to construct understanding independently.
In order for students to succeed in this ever changing world they need to READ!
According to Richard Allington, author of What Readers Need, readers need:
- Access to books they find fascinating
- Protected time to read
- At the very least - 30 mins. a day
- Reading rate is directly related to the volume being read
- Expert instruction and feedback
It is also my belief that reading teaches life lessons (Teaching Reading to Adolescent Males by Alfred Tatum)
- Reading is learning how to live
- Students can learn through their character’s choices about life lessons/hardships
- Provides a way to change students’ lives and roles in life
- Though reading, students can find new ways to act in the world
- Helps to determine how you want to be in the world.
Lastly, students need to be given the opportunity to work hard (Choice Words by Peter Johnson and Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell)
- Students will rise to expectations set for them.
- Obedient/compliant classes are efficient but we want our students to be independent away from teachers/parents etc.
- Allow student to fail by themselves
- They will learn to get up and try again without the rescue of teachers or parents.