Beliefs and Values
I earned my M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Educational Technology. Before earning my most recent degree, I reflected on where I was headed in the classroom. The way that I teach ultimately stems from my early experiences with direct instruction. In the middle of my first-year teaching, I recognized that routinely speaking to students for 30-40 minutes at a time did not work for every single learner. I then explored strategies and methods, and expertise from the colleagues around me, to reframe how I support every learner. This brought me to find Flipped Classroom Project-Based Learning (PBL), and an in-depth understanding and appreciation for educational technology. Self-reflection and growth allowed me to think about technology in terms of meeting each learner where they are and design authentic instruction that promotes a classroom culture of inclusion. Not every student, or person, is thinks or learns the same. As a result, I have worked to seek how I can make my pedagogy with that fact in mind. I have reached new resources, education, and colleagues—at times globally—to bring in methods and strategies that position instruction and technology in transformative ways through blended learning, mastery learning, Project-Based Learning, design thinking, and student inquiry.
I do believe that students need to have agency and autonomy in the classroom, I also see the benefit of building authentic learning experiences for students to meet them where they are culturally, emotionally, socially, academically, and where they are within the skillset(s) they possess. Moving towards more authentic instruction pushed me to allow students to use their prior knowledge and experiences to build a bridge between their lives and the content that I teach. Part of this process has been getting them involved in the community with the PBL experience. My students have collaborated with experts, stakeholders, and the public regarding issues my community is facing. My desire to give students choice goes beyond having students decide what type of assignment that want to do. Students have choice as to what learning targets to address in each project, making decisions as to how to meet those goals, what types of problems they want to solve, and what skills they want to learn as it relates to what industry or career path they want to enter.
As someone who faced my own barriers in the public-school setting, I make it a point to continuously reflect on how I am supporting all learners in my classroom. To me, an inclusive classroom considers the diversity of the classroom that includes special needs, English Language Learners, gender identity, sexual orientation, various cultural and ethnic backgrounds, color of their skin, various degrees of emotional intelligence, disabilities, and different abilities/strengths by providing a culture that is welcoming, a place to be heard, and a place to feel safe. Two ways that I am my classroom inclusive is (1) using tools that better support all learners, and (2) all the content to meet the students where they are through customizing my instruction. The diverse learners in my classroom make steps towards leveraging technology to show growth through immersive readers, using text-to-speech, speech-to-speech, working in a physical and digital space that magnifies a variety of elements of their learning and expectations, and graphic organizers that allow them to explore the content in a wide range of methods with equity in mind.
Moreover, my students experience the content meeting them where they are and who they are as important individuals. I do this by showing the different faces, personalities, and underrepresented groupings of people in the content that I teach. This includes LGBTQ+, women, minorities, the disabled, and others who make up the fabric of human history and modern society. It is important for me to have students experience a wide range of subgroups in the content for not just their challenges, but also successes. My personal goal is to have students to see themselves in the social sciences to consider the potentiality of their place in the world, what they want their mark to be on their world, and how to contribute to societal inclusion, diversity, equity, and democracy.