Anthony Professor Education Course 5 September 2011 Portrait of a Teacher As a future educator, one of the most influential aspects of my pedagogy will be to reach my students academically, as well as socially/behaviorally. In far too many classroom settings, students are not experiencing the academic and developmental growth that is needed in order to mature as students…
One particular past educator of mine singlehandedly embodied the teaching philosophy found within each “portrait of a teacher.” During my time spent in this classroom, I was able to feel a sense of belonging and purpose. Incorporating a student-centered instructional approach, as well as diverse assessment approaches, this particular educator fostered a learning environment where each and every student felt the driving purpose and moral of each lesson. Throughout the course of the year, the instructor cultivated learning through student interaction, as well as life-relevant lessons, which afforded each pupil a meaningful and unique learning experience. Although the educator incorporated the use of direct-instruction into the classroom setting, the majority of learning activities centered around student interaction and engagement, which allowed each student the opportunity to learn on their own, while the teacher played the role of the facilitator, rather than the dictator. Students in the classroom felt encouraged to think critically about a topic or lesson because they felt a connection to the instructor’s material, and no longer felt like an inanimate object in the classroom. The democratic feel to each classroom activity permitted students to express themselves through their artistic and personal strengths, and also led to peer interaction that was absent from most classroom settings. In contrary to this particular teacher, another instructor from my past lacked the fundamental qualities of an influential educator. Rather than promoting a democratic principal in the classroom setting, this particular teacher followed a more totalitarian approach to education. Thinking back to this classroom, I struggle to recall meaningful lessons or memorable moments. Instead, I can recall a sense of fear and anxiety, which ultimately restricted my ability to learn and develop as a student. The lack of peer interaction in the classroom, as well as the teacher-centered instructional approaches, cultivated an inability to focus on the task at hand, and inevitably led to poor student retention and understanding. One specific instance I can recall from this learning environment, which illuminates this exact point, was during a test review lesson. During review, the teacher would simply instruct students, through direct instruction, of the material that would be covered on the future exam. Instead of utilizing a student-centered approach, which would have ultimately encouraged student interaction and promoted discussion on the topic of review, the teacher simply lectured on the main points of the test. I can still recall the feeling of being unattached to the curriculum, simply worrying about the results of the exam, rather than the process of learning or the enjoyment of being a student. Inevitably, this led to poor test results, as well as a lack of enthusiasm for education. As a future educator, my goal is to incorporate a sense of belonging and purpose within each and every student. From my experiences as a student, I can still recall the detrimental impact of feeling neglected or ostracized from the process of learning. Author, Robert Slavin, discusses the impact on learning when students are neglected within the learning process. Slavin writes, “ ...
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