Archive for the ‘Teaching Philosophy’ Category

EDCI 506: Week 15 Blog: Reflection of Group Project

Friday, April 26th, 2013




Throughout all the presentations the main theme was having a green school as well as incorporating a plethora of technology into the classrooms. Every group had some sort of energy efficient school, a progressive style teaching method (very hands-on) and having the newest technology in their schools.  It was really neat to see all the different ways that the groups incorporated having a “green” school, whether it was through the structure of the school, having rooftop gardens, using solar panels or using preexisting buildings in the area.

It was also interesting to see how the schools would receive funding and how they would be able to pay for the technology that they would be using.  It was a little hard to understand the full concept of funding, and maybe some of the ideas were a little far-fetched for the amount of money that the school would actually have.  Of course, every school would love to have sponsors and donations of computers and ipads, but in reality is that really possible?  Would Apple be willing to donate 250 computer? Probably not.  However, the amount of grants for technology and e-rates that you can receive could definitely help off-set the costs.

I believe that my teaching philosophy pretty much went along with my groups and the other groups presentations.  I still strongly believe in having a technologically saavy classroom, and using all the technology tools my school has to offer in order to be a more progressive teacher.  Using a more hands-on approach and letting my students be able to use these tools and have a choice in the projects that they wish to complete.

In regards to the school that my group had created, it was pretty much along the same guidelines as the other schools.  Our school, however did not focus as strongly on being “green”, not did we try to focus or specialize in any curriculum, such as math and science, or agriculture.  Our school was pretty much like schools today but just adding more of a collaborative approach.  Allowing for “social interaction and discussion” in the mornings, current event boards in the hallways, brag boards and back-alley hallways were teacher can meet away from the students.  We wanted to focus on a community approach, by having parents involved from the first day.  It was important for our group that the teachers and parents had a relationship outside of parent-teacher conferences.

Throughout this whole process of creating a 21st century school, I learned that creating a school is difficult. I never realized exactly how much thought has to go into the school, such as design, curriculum, funds, development, etc.  This project made me go outside my comfort zone, and start to think critically and creatively about what a school entails.  I never gave much thought to how teachers would have professional development or how students needed to learn, but this opened my eyes to the fact that students learn differently and that teachers and the school’s curriculum must showcase that.


EDCI 506 Blog: Week 12

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

school21 school image



Schools in the twenty-first century are encountering several issues.  More and more policies are being added to state’s educational plans, such as NCLB, IDEA Goals 200: Educate American Act.  These policies are making it hard for schools and instructors to be their best.  The impact that these acts and policies have on state standards will heavily influence the way that an instructor plans his or her lesson.  The instructor needs to be aware of performance based outcomes and how those will affect the students and the teacher.

Although these policies have been trying to make education better, there are still accounts where new ideas are being stifled due to reemerging old ideas.  During the Cold War the idea of education was based upon intellectual training due to a “concern over economic competition with foreign countries”, you can see this idea now as the US tries to become one of the top countries.  The US falls behind in areas such as math and science to other countries who score higher and are able to obtain higher-paying jobs even in the US.  As well as intellectual training the idea from the 1960s and 1970s that education should focus on educating the disadvantaged is also making a comeback.  The issue here though is, are these goals and objectives of education relevant of the times?

I think that these reemerging ideas are relevant to the issues of the US today.  Education should focus on intellectual training as well as educating the disadvantaged.  Programs are in place to allow for the more intelligent students to further their knowledge in magnet schools and gifted programs.  Head Start Programs and after school programs are helping to educate the disadvantaged students in order to get them into the school system and keep them there until graduation.  These are programs and ideas that need to be in place if the US has any hope of having an educated generation in the upcoming years.

I think that it is important the schools focus on the creativity and allow for students to have some control over the content that they will be learning.  By giving the students a little control it will make the students seem that they have had a voice, that they aren’t being told every class what they will learn without a reasonable explanation to why.  This way if they want to focus more on the Civil Rights movement, let them decide what they want to focus more on, collectively as a class or by themselves as a project for the lesson.  It is important that instructors try not to stifle the creativity of their students but instead to embrace it.  Let the students have some control on what they want o learn, how they want to learn it and how they want to showcase what they have learned.  This will let them have to think for themselves and to take some responsibility.



Ornstein, A., Levine, D., & Gutek, G. (2011). Foundations of education. (11 ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

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EDCI 506 Blog 11 EEO

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

Inclusive classroom grades 6-12

Curriculum and instruction will vastly differ between a gifted class and that of other classes.  In gifted classes students are taught and expected to think more creatively about situations.  They are expected to master complex vocabulary and to think deeper about stories and subjects they are learning about.  For example, my sister is in 7th grade and in the gifted education program.  Her gifted class focuses more so on English than any other subject.  She usually has upwards of an hour of homework to do working on analogies, interpreting poems and stories, conducting research and creating projects on what they had read about. I’ve even noticed that she thinks more into topics than I, or my parents do. Her vocabulary is astounding (I even have to look up the words sometimes that she uses).  She wouldn’t get this type of experience or higher-level learning in a regular class. I was not in the gifted program at school (I pretty sure it’s because when I was tested and they asked me what I liked to do for fun, I replied “play with barbies”), I’m not as creative or think as deeply into readings. I’m not an expert at interpreting readings and poems and my vocabulary could definitely be stronger. If I have gifted students in my classroom I would try to give them additional independent work.  If I’m teaching a lesson on the civil war maybe I would ask these students to do extra research on literature of that time period, or of a battle. I would not want to separate these children drastically but also have them inter-mixed when I assign projects, hoping that their ways of thinking could influence the other students.

Honestly to find resources I just googled inclusive classroom techniques. I found this really cool “live binder” that had hundreds of tabs, research and teacher experiences on teaching within their nclusive classroom.  You can find the live binder here.  Just by going through ha few of these tabs teacher provided input on how you should address students with disabilities, how you should make examples out of the children who are staying on tasks and working quietly, “I love how quietly Group X is working!” The binder also gave examples of how teacher should choose their instruction methods when they encounter certain types of children with disabilities, for example the question was asked on how to plan for curriculum with students with Asperger’s Syndrome.  The website gave some valuable information, they said the most important thing is to make sure that the material is relevant and meaningful to all the students.  Without having meaningful material, you may lose the interest of students especially those with Asperger’s.  I also found this website which provided a plethora of resources for inclusive classrooms.  I really liked that it shared an article of Apps that can be downloaded in order to “level the playing field” I think it’s important to still try to keep up with modern technology with students with disabilities.

It’s also important that teachers and administrators regularly meet to discuss inclusion in the classroom. Teacher that have students with disabilities in their classrooms need a strong support system, people that they can rely on when things start to get tough.  Keeping administrators, special-ed teachers, gifted-teachers informed about the ongoing problems in the classroom and meeting to go over ideas of how the process can be made easier will help the teacher as well as the students in the classroom.  Using the resources found online on inclusive classrooms teachers can get a real feel for how their classroom might be and how they can facilitate instruction.

For myself, I think it would be challenging to have students with disabilities in my classroom and I would definitely reach out to other teachers and specialist to make sure that I am including all of my students in my lessons. The fact that the internet allows for me to research situations and figure out what other teachers have done will be a godsend!  I would want to make sure that the material I am teaching is meaningful to all the students. I would try to put the students in groups as much as possible in order for a calming classroom climate, as well as for the students to all interact with each other and feed off of each other in terms of higher-level thinking.  I would regularly ask the special-ed or gifted teachers for their input on my lesson plans and how they believe that I could change them to make it easier for the disabled students.  Their input and feedback would really help me be a better teacher.


The inclusive classroom. (n.d.). Retrieved from Resources

Resource for inclusive classroom. (n.d.). Retrieved from



EDCI 500: Blog 9 Culture, Socialization and Education

Sunday, March 17th, 2013




Within a classroom there are bound to be a plethora of different cultures and values that your students represent.  These cultures and values is what makes a classroom so inviting and interesting.  The students not only learn about themselves but also how to appreciate people of other cultures.  However, it is important that as a teacher, you understand the culture and values of each student in order to understand how they learn and what is important in the education to them and their families.

The family is one of the most influential forces behind a student’s culture and values. As mentioned by Ornstein, “the family is the whole world to young children, its members teach a child what matters in life, often without realizing the enormous influence they wield” (Ornstein 205).  It depends on the family environment on how a child will react in a classroom, and how interested a child is in learning.  If the family of a child has not provided the child with an appreciative environment for learning and doing well in school, then the child may not even try their best to earn good grades or even go to school.  It is important for teachers to really make sure they know their students so that if this is the case for one of their students they can approach the child and perhaps the family in order to really get down to the bottom of the families values and feelings towards education.

Along with families being an influence, peers are also an important influence.  Peers can influence how a student reacts and how they feel towards certain situations.  The influence of people “popular” is such a strong drive, especially in high school.  In the secondary grade levels you start to see more being becoming friends and those friends can create peer pressure on each other, tempting each other to start doing drugs and alcohol, or even to just not care about school and learning anymore.

Although there are many influences through families and friends, the culture and values of a child will also influence what they are interested in learning, how they respond to certain learning styles and whether or not they appreciate what they are learning about.  Students from Asia often have different education values than American children.  “Nott all cultures share North American perspectives on intelligence, which tend to emphasize cognitive achievements” (Jordan 226).  As Americans the focus is often that men and women are equal and can each do any job that they want.  However in certain Asian cultures the importance is often put on the men to perform better than the women, because the women’s education is not as important.

“Taiwanese Chinese value general ability, interpersonal competence, intrapersonal competence, intellectual self-assertion, and intellectual seif-effacement where as Hong Kong Chinese value nonverbal reasoning, verbal reasoning, and social skills.  In the United States, Latino parents value social competence, in contrast to the cognitive skills emphasized at school where most teachers are Anglo” (Jordan 227).

If my classroom has a mix of Asian children and American children I will try my hardest to be sure that I understand what is important to each child. I would like to start off the year by doing a simply questionnaire to get to know the children and their backgrounds.  This will probably help me understand how the child learns and what they would like to learn about.  I would really want to know my students by testing out different methods of teaching and see how they each respond. In order to allow for a comfortable classroom culture I would want to try to inter-mix the different cultures that way they could teach each other about their values.  I do not want all of the same cultured children to just interact with each other, that way the groups will make them open up and try to share with others how they interpret different situations. With lessons that may be sensitive to the different cultures I would try to provide a side for both of the cultures and try to teach them what happened and why it happened and if they think that it still exists today, and if so then we can discuss why we think. I would love to do something like in Freedom Writers, where she takes the class through the Holocaust so that they can understand why some things are hateful.



Jordan, E., & Porath, M. (2006). Educational psychology: A problem-based approach. Boston, MA: Pearson.

Ornstein, A., Levine, D., & Gutek, G. (2011). Foundations of education. (11 ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.


INDT 501-02 Blog 6: To Flip or not to Flip?

Sunday, February 24th, 2013


To be completely honest, I don’t really know how I feel about a flipped classroom.  To me, it definitely has its pros and cons.  I think it’s a good way to make a classroom more student-centered and to focus on what the student doesn’t understand.  However, I think we would like to believe that everyone in this day and age has access to internet and a computer, but that’s not the case.  I can’t see a flipped classroom being implemented in lower income areas, where it could be most beneficial.  It just seems to me students won’t be a receptive to an online lecture the night before a class.  Especially since most students dread having homework, and then on top of it they would have to watch a lecture or do an online lesson?

I like parts of the flipped classroom but I don’t think I would ever fully “flip” my classroom. I would want to take aspects of the flipped classroom, such as having a mini video or small online reading or research to do for homework to prepare them for the next day, but I would want to review the video or reading the next day in class to make sure that the students understand what they had watched.  I also like the idea of how the flipped classroom got started.  I would love to be able to video my class discussions and lectures so students who are absent, or even students who did not take notes, or who did not understand the lesson fully could look back on the video to see what I had discussed in class that day.

I don’t think this is the best pedagogy.  It cuts down on the actual face time with students and becomes impersonal.  It would be hard to really see how students learn if you are only spending time with them to help with homework.  What if the students aren’t learning this way? And instead of a flipped classroom improving passing rates, it hurts them? Then the school system is back to where it started and would have to go through another “flip”.  I think it would be best to only use this method in certain classes, with older children.  Perhaps a high school science class could watch a video about a dissection they will be doing the next day in class.  Or a history class watches a lecture on the civil rights era and does their homework in response to the video.

EDCI 506 Blog 4: Idealism vs. Realism

Sunday, February 10th, 2013



Idealism is generally defined as a philosophical view in which the spiritual, nonmaterial world is ultimately real.  Idealists believe that he world is a creation of a universal mind, or God.  The soul of a person is the ultimate source for giving the power to think and feel.  This idea is present in both Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” and Emerson’s “The Over-Soul”.  In each one of these readings the author’s show that reality is the creation of the world by an absolute power, either the sun (in “Allegory of the Cave”) or God.

Plato’s expresses the idealistic thoughts by stating that the power and capacity of knowledge are already present in the soul, verifying the idea of idealists that “knowing is a recall of latent ideas”.  Plato goes into detail stating that the prisoners only know what was already in their minds.  They believed that the shadows were reality, until the one prisoner escaped and saw what reality really was.  Plato continues to state that by believing in philosophy then you will have better knowledge. He states that language fails to give the truth and that the experience of reality is what gives overall truth.  He says that by saying what something is, is not enough for it to be taken in a realistic since.  Plato argues that in order to understand reality and to gain knowledge, ideas must be realistic and experiences.  This is shown by the prisoner finally seeing a reflection and the Sun (the absolute power), he then has seen and experiences reality, whereas the other prisoners have not and would argue with him about reality is because they only know the shadows.

Emerson also presents this idea that the values are absolute and eternal.  In his “Over-soul” writing Emerson goes into great detail explaining how language fails, and moral actions that are demonstrated will in turn have each person responsible for the respect for their own salvation.  This makes me think back to Maslow’s pyramid of self-actualization. Only after children have the values and necessities taken care of, will they reach self-actualization and be responsible for their salvation.

Realists believe that objects and existence are independents of us but we can learn from them.  When a realists argues “If a tree falls in a forest, and now one is there to hear it, does it make a sound” they argue that it does happen.  Realists state that even though it is not observed there is a theory for what happens.  Realists often apply the scientific method to situation in order to understand them.  They believe that after sensation and abstraction, a student might learn the smell, sound, color, size and weight; the students mind will then compartmentalize these ideas.  Therefore if the realist knows that when a person is present in the forest and the tree makes a sound while it falls, then every time the tree falls it makes a sound.

As noted in Foundations of Education, an idealistic classroom would have a teacher incorporate classics, arts and music into as many as their lessons as possible.  Idealistic teachers also would not want to use technology in their classroom as much.  In terms of getting material to the students it does not matter the device that delivers it but more so the value of the content.  A realist classroom is almost the complete opposite of the idealistic classroom.  A realist classroom would limit student’s studies to the core subjects, math, science, history and math.  They would disregard other class such as the music’s or arts in order to make sure the student can master the subject-content. However, unlike an Idealistic classroom and Realist classroom would allow for the “use of technology to aid in developing and testing skills and subject-matter competencies”.  This would work well in the 21st century.

For my future classroom I would implement a mix of the idealistic values and realistic values.  My ideal classroom, or school, would allow for core subject classes but also for arts, music and exploratory classes.  The school would use technology to aid in the teacher of the students.  Like a realistic school test assessments would be used, but the tests would not be the only way to measure the student’s success.  I would like to implement classics into the classroom but I would not want this to be a main focus, students in the 21st century need more realistic approaches to what they are learning.  In a civics lesson I would use the historical documents of the articles of confederation, US constitution and Declaration of Independence, but I would want to use the computers and other technology devices for students to create their own society and their own laws in order to see how important documents like these really are in today’s society.


Ornstein, A., Levine, D., & Gutek, G. (2011). Foundations of american education. (11 ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

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EDCI506 Blog week 2: Thinking About Your Teaching Philosophy

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013




Learning is a different concept for every individual.  It is up to the teacher to distinguish the different learning abilities of his/her students and caters to the classroom in order to ensure that the students are learning the core standards for the subject and grade.  In this modern society I do not want my students to get wrapped up in reading from a textbook, taking notes on a projector and taking a test then moving onto the next chapter.  Although in certain circumstances reading from the textbook and taking notes may be beneficial, but that does not mean that I do not have to incorporate a progressive teaching approach and ideas from the 21stt century skills curriculum. I believe that learning is very much about the way a student can relate the lesson to today’s world, or an outside source.  I believe that each lesson should be accompanied by an engaging activity in order to get the students thinking critically about the topic, and that the 21st century pedagogy (above picture) should be enacted in every class!

It is important to myself, as a teacher, that my students get the best learning environment.  I want to be able to identify different styles of learning and try to incorporate those into everyday class.  Whether this is reading from a textbook, creating concept maps, powerpoints, movies, podcasts, smartboard interaction or educational games.  I think it’s important to engage the student as much as possible. History and social science classrooms do not need to be as boring as they are often made out to be.  Take for example learning about the Constitution of the United States.  It would be easy for me to turn to a chapter in the course textbook, have the students read it, copy the vacbulary words and answer the questions at the end of a chapter, but are my students really learning this topic, or just memorizing the vocabulary words and only the answers to the questions in the textbook? Instead I could have the students read the textbook, and then go to the computer lab to create a concept map.  After they created their concept map we could use the smartboard to create a mini-lesson (Teacher uses Prezi in History lesson!!) reinforcing the idea of the Constitution while comparing each other’s concept maps and even introducing vocabulary through a fill in the blank smartboard program..  At the end of the lesson I could give them a post-test with SOL based questions to see if they have mastered this concept.  This seems a lot more engaging and fulfilling then reading, writing and taking a test.  This way the students are learning through a strict traditional approach of reading and lecture but also with a progressive approach of engaging in technology and researching on their own the importance of this document.

Of course with every style of learning the teacher needs to be able to make sure that learning is actually occurring and needs to measure the progress of his/her students.  In this case, I would want to give pre and post tests on the subject matter, mixed in with those questions I have formulated will also be SOL questions.  I would also want to incorporate entrance and exit tickets.  I had one teacher in college who used entrance and exit tickets and it really helped to narrow in on what we were supposed to know and take away from the class discussion.  This pre and post, entrance and exit tickets would be graded and I would be sure that the students who did not score as high to meet with them and see exactly what their issue was.  Did they not understand the subject? Did they not do the homework? I would want to make sure that the pre and post tests, especially with the SOL questions are tracked.  This way at the end of a certain period I would test them on the cumulative SOL questions they had been tested on (not the same questions but same material), and then record that progress as well.  If certain questions were missed repeatedly then I would want to review that lesson again.

Inclusion learning is steadily showing up in school systems across the country.  In Fredericksburg City alone, upwards of 15% of students in each of the core classes takes the VGLA instead of the SOL due to disabilities. It is important as a teacher that if the school system I am working at has inclusion that I pay just as much attention to those with disabilities as those without.  This may mean that I have to adapt my teaching style, maybe creating a concept map as individuals will not be wise, instead students should be put in groups, or do this activity with myself as the leader and the students giving me facts.  Worksheets may need to be scaled down for certain learning levels.  Hopefully my classroom will have an inclusion specialist in the class with me while these students are present to help me engage the students as much as possible without neglecting their needs.  Of course if an inclusion specialist is not available I would want to keep a strong contact with the special ed. Department and the child’s parents and IEP in order to learn more about the student and how they learn.  (see Special Ed Teacher discusses Inclusion)

I think that United States schools have some impact on the world.  However I’m not sure if this is in a negative or positive way.  Students are supposed to go to school.  Students learn lessons, take an exam or SOL, graduate and then continue on their way to a college or university.  In the US it is required that students go to school until graduation or they obtain the GED.  It is a social phenomenon that students attend school in order to become a better, smarter person.  This is not the case in other countries. Other countries have students stop schooling at certain ages, they take careers test in order to see if they should go to a university or a trade schools.  I think the US education system gives students more opportunity to discover what they want and who they want to be.  However, I do think the US education system is flawed in that we use a traditional approach to teaching and the stress put onto a student and teacher about the SOL or some standardized test is way too harsh.  If the US wants to make a positive impact on the world especially in this century they need to look the way society is forming and what other countries are doing that is making them rank higher in educational aspects, career outlooks and economic performance.  Perhaps a better understanding of how the future will look will provide the US Department of Education a map on how they should change the way the teachers teach and the students learn in order to prepare them for the 21st century. ( see History of Technology in Education for a look at how technology has changed education!)


Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and eduation. New York: Macmillian Publishing.

Framework for 21st century learning. (2011). Retrieved from

US Department of Education, NCES. (2005). Comparative indicators of education in the US and other G8 countires. Retrieved from

VA Department of Education. (2008). 2008 – 2009 vgla participation by subject area. Retrieved from