“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” –Benjamin Franklin
Essential to effective teaching is engaging students in hands-on, experiential lesson plans that allow students to actively practice and apply what they have been learning. In addition learn-by-doing lesson plan delivery, I ensure all students master learning objectives through the use of backward lesson plan design, I use methodical formative assessment to ensure students are making progress towards achieving learning objectives, and I use the results of my assessments to implement differentiated instruction to ensure that my instructional strategies meet the needs of students with all learning styles and abilities. Furthermore, I believe that the teacher-student relationship in the classroom is cooperative and reciprocal; my students invest more in their learning when they know that I am invested in their success. To that end, I strive to get to know each of my students as individuals, to build positive and mutually respectful relationships with all students, and to set and enforce equally high expectations for everyone. I also invest in my students and in my classroom by being organized and prepared each day to teach quality lessons, by being knowledge and passionate about what I teach, by demonstrating to each student that I genuinely care about their individual progress, and by providing students with meaningful learning activities that foster the development of knowledge. As a result, students invest in themselves and in my classroom by actively participating in class, by completing work in a timely manner, and by turning in assignments that reflects effort to the best of their abilities.
The chief learning goal that I have for the students in my English classroom is the development and/or refinement of their ability to read, write, and communicate effectively. In addition to this chief goal, my other goal as a teacher is to inspire my students to strive for excellence each day. To accomplish these goals in my classroom, I often communicate to students my expectations for learning and effort in my classroom. Also, because I want my students to realize that what they learn in an English classroom will prepare them for their future careers, I often connect for my students the real-world applications of the reading, writing, and communication skills they are developing in my classroom. Additionally, throughout the course of each lesson, I provide experiential learning activities that allow students to practice and refine the skills that they are learning. As students are completing these learning activities during guided and independent practice, I provide students verbal and written corrective feedback so that they understand how to improve their performance. As each student makes individual progress, I recognize those achievements and share my observations not only with the student, but also with his/her parent or guardian. If a student is not progressing as expected, I take time to talk with the student to find out how we might work together to develop instructional strategies that will be more conducive to the student’s learning style and/or ability. Perhaps most importantly, I require that all students set personalized learning goals and that they self-assess their progress towards achieving those goals through the use of journaling. Personal goal setting allows students to explore their own expectations for what they want to achieve in the classroom and self-assessment feedback allows students to monitor their progress in achieving personalized learning goals. By taking personal accountability and ownership in creating and meeting learning goals, students are more likely to strive for excellence in the classroom.
As a teacher, I have learned that students’ learning in the classroom is most enhanced when teachers uphold high, but fair expectations and when teachers deliver hands-on, experiential lesson plans that purposefully engage and challenge students of all ability levels and learning styles. Perhaps the words of Benjamin Franklin best capture my teaching philosophy: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” Franklin’s wise saying is one that I try to live by in my classroom, for the benefit of my students.