Someone once said to me, “Labels belong on T-shirts; not on people,” and so I am hesitant to label my philosophy of teaching. That being said, I believe that education should be an interdisciplinary process. It should be based on a shared vision and a commitment to a belief that all students can achieve.
This necessitates a positive school climate within an atmosphere that espouses a culturally appropriate pedagogy. It is a system in which instructional leaders self-reflect and exhibit high levels of self-efficacy; a system in which a shared decision making model and collaborative approach fosters self-efficacy among the teachers who in turn cultivate high levels of self-efficacy among the students.
The teaching and learning components should be approached within an understanding of brain research. It is making connections between the back and the front cortex of the brain in order to scaffold learning. It is building upon images to create new ideas and to enhance a knowledge base. It is recognizing the role of amygdale within the brain and its relationship to learning acquisition. The emphasis should be on learning with a focus on differentiated instruction.
Learning needs to be rigorous and relevant to real life. Education needs to be student-oriented, global in perspective and technologically infused. The emphasis of an effective education focuses on equity and quality. It teaches a student how to learn, how to acquiesce knowledge and how to apply these tools in the workforce as well as in the higher educational arena.
The learning environment needs to support the student within a holistic manner. It needs to provide academic, social, human, and moral support for the individual. It needs to prepare the student to compete with students across the globe. It needs to prepare the student to collaborate with others and to become a life-long learner.
From the perspective of the teacher, a learning environment is one in which the real world and school interface, where mentoring, guidance and support are stressed. It is removed from conventional time constraints and packaged curriculum in favor of authentic learning. It is utilizing rubrics and student evaluations as means for assessing growth. It is a learning environment in which technology is an integral part of the curriculum. It needs to be utilized by and for students in all contexts of learning.
From the perspective of the student, this learning environment is based on practical and meaningful activities. Creativity, problem solving and collaboration form the nexus for learning.