I am a teacher hopeful. I don’t have my own classroom quite yet, but I would like to teach secondary English Language Arts. While I have no classroom experience as of yet, I have had an ample amount of time to think about how I want to teach and help my students learn.
One of the main things I’ve learned so far in the MAT program at UCAis that no student is the same, and that is exactly how I should approach student learning and development.
Variation. That is the word that comes to mind for student learning. It is easier to remember something when you have been exposed to it in multiple ways and multiple times. In terms of education, I believe students benefit from multiple examples in terms that they find relatable to their own lives. For example, if I was trying to make a point, I could use an example that may relate to students who are more fortunate. However, for my students who may be lacking in particular resources, the example won’t be relatable to their life experiences. So, to remedy student understanding, I would also provide an example that may be relatable to others.
I think children also learn and develop better when they are in an environment that has a level of organization and rules. This classroom necessity creates an environment that feels safe, has a routine, and will satisfy student needs that need to be met before learning. It will also build student confidence in their own educational abilities as well as provide a secure environment for students who may not have access to such an environment at home. By having an organized classroom, it builds upon levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. While it may not solve everything, it will help build self-esteem, social respect, and contribute to self-actualization (Li, 2004).
Students also learn and develop when there is provided support to help students achieve next level thinking. While students learn at different rates than others, by providing assistance along with patience to all students, they are more likely to access higher levels of educational abilities. When students are pushed beyond their comfort zone by their educators, they access new cognitive abilities that help them thrive as an individual as well as a student. According to an article about Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development, what a student can accomplish with assistance will become their main level for independent performance (Bodrova, 1998).
Lastly, I think adolescents can develop as a student and individual when they are able to explore subjects that interest them as a unique individual. I believe that if students use their interests to guide their learning, then it allows for them to build more of a
connection to learning subjects and their related content (Herman, 1995). According to Roger’s Humanistic Approach, If I facilitate this type of learning by being open and available to learn along with students, then they will leave as a person who has grown both individually and academically.
Bodrova, E., & Leong, D. J. (1998). Scaffolding emergent writing in the zone of proximal development. Literacy, Teaching and Learning, 3(2), 1-18. Retrieved from https://0-search.proquest.com.ucark.uca.edu/docview/195553651?accountid=10017
Herman, W. E. (1995). Humanistic Influences on a Constructivist Approach to Teaching and Learning.
Li, X. (2004, Nov 02). Applying maslow’s theories to the 21st century. The Guelph Mercury Retrieved from https://0-search.proquest.com.ucark.uca.edu/docview/355705028?accountid=10017