"What is it about your practice that sets you apart?"

Use the comments feature to post YOUR “elevator pitch.”

in one concise statement (not necessarily one sentence), state concisely what you care about (your epistemology) and how that plays out in your classroom through practices an outsider could SEE.

Let’s collect some good ones and edit our own as we go…

*A-

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5 thoughts on “"What is it about your practice that sets you apart?"

  1. I guess I’ll be the first to post. I’ve been thinking hard about this recently as I’ve been wrestling with a classroom style that gives students more independence (I’m want to make my innovative unit a menu-based unit).

    As of 2/24/09
    “Students learn by doing. In order to be engaged in their work, students must find every activity they do meaningful, productive, and relevant. I believe that the best way to meet these criteria is to allow the students to choose between differentiated activities that will match their learning styles and give each student their best chance to understand the lessons. This means that, in the classroom, students will budget their own time, working independently, in groups, or with the teacher as they see fit. Deadlines by which assignments must be submitted will be set, but they will not be daily. Once submitted, assignments will be graded promptly and returned to students. Students will be given the option to correct and resubmit all assignments, except tests and quizzes, to give them additional opportunities to learn and demonstrate their understanding. Students will be asked to assess their own progress in terms of what they have completed and must still complete in order to monitor their own progress while informing me of where each student stands.”

  2. I believe that students learn best and most through doing concrete activities that allow them to investigate the topics they are learning about. Research supports that hands-on topics that allow students to ask their own authentic scientific questions and perform their own investigations results in the greatest depth of understanding among students. I engage students in these types of activities. I also believe that parents play an important role in their child’s education, and I try to work with the student’s wider community to enhance their learning experience. Having a supportive network to fall back on allows students to feel freer to take risks with their learning. I also want to create a community of learners in my classroom. Having an environment where everyone feels comfortable and safe and free to collaborate and ask questions and assist their peers has been shown to be another factor that enhances student learning.

  3. I believe the thing that sets me apart from other teachers is that I try to co- construct everything. From assignments, to notes, to rubrics and more I try to let their prior knowledge and interests determine where we go. Lately I’ve been wrestling with how much scaffolding to give when we go in a direction I don’t want them to go in, but it’s a work in progress and I”m still learning

  4. I think what sets me apart is a combination of my experience from swim coaching, instructing new and rectifying Red Cross lifeguards, and working for 3 years in two different labs. This experience provides me with an interesting and important presective that most teachers do not have. Through my lifeguard instruction and coaching I have found that i have a very good knack for getting people to be able to do things they never thought were possible. One example of that would be I have a 100% success rate at getting student who were previously afraid of going down and picking up me off the bottom to be able to do so. In the lab I learned the true nature of science and was able to make life long connections to the scientific community that I actively am using today. I have been able to acquire materials from labs that they are no longer using and I have gotten permission from my former bosses to connect my students with at least seeing a real research lab and potentially even working in one over the summer. I believe that all people can learn science if the information is presented in a way that allows them to access it with their current cultural capital. I try to do this by using analogies that relate to them. I also try to give them experiences in the lab that mimic as close as is possible to research the scientist do every day. I believe that realism is not only important as a tool for engagement but also as a means of delving deeper into a subject.

  5. As a teacher, I believe that chemical concepts must be tied to relevant real world examples so that students are motivated to understand principles based on indirect evidence. Atoms and molecules cannot be seen or directly manipulated but using a variety of inquiry activities, students can see color change, measure temperature, and make observations of precipitates, gas formation, etc. However, it requires a leap of imagination to tie these observations directly to atoms and molecules and the energy transfer that is the basis of chemistry. My career as a scientist, engineer, and environmentalist allows me to teach Nature of Science based on personal experience and provides many examples to connect chemistry directly to issues that affect students’ lives.

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