The question of how students learn is one that is at the heart of many current and past debates. I believe that all students have the capacity and desire to learn and the teacher is responsible for ensuring this capacity is fulfilled and the desire is not extinguished. Students, in my opinion, are not passive learners, waiting for the teacher to fill them with knowledge. Instead, they are active learners wishing to discover and create learning for themselves.
As crucial as the teacher and his or her understanding of how students learn are, instruction is still at the heart of the classroom. Through instruction, the teacher models respect and empathy while guiding students through the process of mastering their own learning. Instruction, in my opinion, needs to be founded in research and supported by practice. This same instruction needs to be based on ongoing assessment, both formal and informal, and differentiated to meet the needs of the individual learners abundant in our society today. Differentiation should be utilized by teachers while keeping in mind that all students have the capability of mastering the standards and should be given the opportunity. This belief ties directly into expectations. Teachers should have high expectations for their students but also give the students the tools and guidance needed to meet these expectations.
It is accepted among teachers that we must leave our problems and any home life issues at the door when we enter the classroom. However, as teachers, we must understand that students do not have this luxury. What happens at home permeates their existence and as a result, affects their learning and attitude in the classroom. Teachers need to understand that while they cannot always change a student’s home life, they can provide the students with the necessary skills and dispositions to overcome any bad situation that might occur in the students’ lives.
Teaching is not simply a profession, it is a calling. To be an effective teacher, one must believe this statement.