Apr 1, 2012 - Weekly Reflection    Comments Off on Week 11: Equal Educational Opportunity

Week 11: Equal Educational Opportunity

See the list provided by the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities outlining the identification process.  Then, compare to the former to the latter requirements from the Virginia Department of Education Instruction for Gifted Students.

Step 1. Child is identified as possibly needing special education and related services.

Step 2. Child is evaluated.

Step 3. Eligibility is decided.

Step 4. Child is found eligible for services.

Step 5. IEP meeting is scheduled.

Step 6. IEP meeting is held and the IEP is written.

Step 7. After the IEP is written, services are provided.

Step 8. Progress is measured and reported to parents.

Step 9. IEP is reviewed.

Step 10. Child is reevaluated.


A. Screening B. Referral C. Identification D. Service for:

1.General intellectual aptitude.

2. Specific academic aptitude.

3. Career and technical aptitude

4. Visual or performing arts aptitude.

Teachers should identify learners to ensure they are receiving adequate curriculum and instruction.  For instance teacher should notice that gifted students are highly motivated and conceptualize project easily or help other students (Woolfolk, 2010).  Additionally, gifted students also advance using complex research tools such as articles and primary resources, search engines and encyclopedias.  Compared to individuals with a learning disability, such students achieve success on smaller, focused tasks and remain on task with the use of organized agendas, while working with peers or working one-on-one with a specialist (Woolfolk, 2010).  Furthermore, inclusion for students who have disabilities or handicaps can be reached using an inclusive environment or a least restrictive environment in addition to general education instruction (Considering LRE in placement decisions, 2010, September).

Instructors can also use structured and unstructured environments, so that all students will learn lessons directly from the teacher and collaborate with peers (Ornstein, Levine & Gutek, 2011).  In an unstructured setting students can be in heterogeneous small groups to facilitate social interaction and brainstorming, or engage in cooperative learning using pairs (Woolfolk, 2010).   These tactics will promote equity and a person-centered classroom by avoiding susceptibility to forming discriminating groups (Woolfolk, 2010). By including each student, everyone develops a purpose; gain respect for each other and connects their contribution to the classroom and the community.

Here are some fun facts from the 26th Annual Report to Congress on the implementation of IDEA, which stated that 85% of elementary and middle school language arts students received the following support services:

•           61.9% are provided extra time to take tests or complete assignments.

•           36.8% are given shorter or different assignments.

•           35.3% have tests read to them

•           33.4% take modified tests.

•           33.3% receive feedback more frequently than other children.

•           30.4% receive slower-paced instruction.

  • 22.7% are provided physical adaptations


Considering LRE in placement decisions. (2010, September). Retrieved from http://nichcy.org/schoolage/placement/placement-lre.

Ornstein, A. C., Levine, D. U., & Gutek, G. L. (2011). Foundations of education. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning

The Virginia Department of Education. (1995). Regulations governing educational services for gifted students (8VAC20-40-20). Retrieved from website: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/administrators/superintendents_memos/2010/178-10a.pdf

Woolfolk, A. (2010) Educational Psychology (11th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson

Educational International

Mar 25, 2012 - Weekly Reflection    1 Comment

Week 10:Social Class, Race, and School Achievement

Despite the obstacles that working class students face at home, whether the obstacle is hereditary or environmental, each student deserves a chance to be successful in the classroom.  The classroom environment is the place where each student can thrive without fear of obstacles that contribute to low-achievement (Gutek, Levine & Ornstein, 2011).

Undoubtedly, effective grouping can contribute to the achievement level of every student.  Instead of underestimating the ability of a student, I would encourage randomly assigning small heterogeneous groups to avoid ethnic or gender based peers groups, and to facilitate social interaction and brainstorming (Woolfolk, 2010).  By gathering information from each other, students are working in an unstructured social environment and engaging in cooperative learning (Woolfolk, 2010). Following this further,  students are susceptible to forming discriminating groups, so random assignment will ensure equity and promote a multicultural environment (Woolfolk, 2010). Random selection provides an opportunity for students to interact with peers and gain a greater understanding and appreciation for various ethnicities and languages (Woolfolk, 2010). For instance, grouping students whose first language is not English with a peer that is a native English speaker will encourage a student to develop competency in the English language and develop a better understanding of content (Woolfolk, 2010).

The ability to group students accordingly will take time and dedication, as well as the  proper facilitation of formative and summative assessments.  By including all students into the classroom, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, language acquisition and socioeconomic status, academic and social growth is achievable. Lessons that include diversity promote a multicultural classroom and also help teachers learn more about their students’ backgrounds (Aguilar, 2010).  By including each student, everyone develops a purpose, gives respect to others students and connects their contribution to the classroom and the community.

Concentrating on race for a moment, I was reminded of the VACAN conference I attended in Charlottesville this past February.  A lecture was presented about the issues regarding The Education Crisis Facing Young Men of Color by College Board (2010).  It is evident that more women are graduating from high school and attaining college degrees, while more men of color are dropping out of high school, being incarcerated , joining the armed forces and even death.  This truly is a crisis.  I would recommend reading the literature, because what was found to be the most effective way to reduce such staggering statistics, is to mentor young men or color.  As we read in our text, poverty also plays a huge role in holding student back from being successful, primarily because they lack support from the family.  Instead of encouraging adolescents to seek education and physically move out of poverty, family members depend on the children for financial support and discourage a students efforts to attend school.



The crisis facing young men of color reflections on four days of dialogue on the educational challenges of minority males. (2010). Retrieved from http://advocacy.collegeboard.org/sites/default/files/educational-crisis-facing-young-men-of-color.pdf

Aguilar, E. (2010). Teaching Secrets: When the Kids Don’t Share Your Culture. The Education Digest, 76(4), 52-4.

Gutek, G., Levine, D. & Ornstein, A. (2011). Foundations of Education, 11th Edition. CA: Wadsworth.

Woolfolk, A. (2010) Educational Psychology (11th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Educational International.


Mar 18, 2012 - Weekly Reflection    Comments Off on Week 9: Blog Post: Culture, Socialization, and Education

Week 9: Blog Post: Culture, Socialization, and Education

 “Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand.”

Today, I began reading Managing Diverse Classrooms: How to Build on Students’ Cultural Strengths (Rothstein-Fisch & Trumball, 2008).  The foreword introduced the top three “components for achieving cultural responsive management: (1) recognition of one’s own cultural beliefs, biases, and assumptions; (2) acknowledgment of others’ ethnic, cultural and other differences; and (3) understanding of the ways that “schools reflect and perpetuate discriminatory practices of the larger society” (Weinstein, Curran, & Tomlinson-Clarke, 2003 as cited in Rothstein-Fisch & Trumball, 2008, xiv). The movie “Freedom Writers” is an example of an initial teacher failing to sincerely relate to students, therefore losing respect from the students.  However, the movie is also an excellent example of a teacher creating a culture of community, by exposing the implicit commonalities between diverse students through interaction.

Teachers take on the responsibility of bridging the cultural gap between themselves and the classroom, as well as the gap between the students. Every teacher will benefit if they “know how to (1) examine their own cultural values, (2) develop understanding of the values of others and regard them in a nonjudgemental way, and (3) apply what they learn about cultural differences to the improvement of classroom practices…in a way that is meaningful, nonthreatening, and not overwhelming” (Rothstein-Fisch & Trumball, 2008, xiv).

“Freedom Writers” is an extreme case of a secondary school experiencing the tribulations of the Rodney King era.   As a pre-service 21st century teacher, I am cautiously optimistic about societal norms and also prepared to encounter diverse student populations. Interacting with my students, as well as incorporating multicultural lessons will help me to be more knowledgeable about my students differences.  Teachers can combine cultural awareness and classroom management to help  students become more familiar with the importance of cultural pedagogy.


Gutek, G., Levine, D. & Ornstein, A. (2011). Foundations of Education, 11th Edition. CA: Wadsworth.

(2011). incorporating culture. [Print Photo]. Retrieved from http://www.teachersofcolor.com/2009/04/incorporating-cultural-diversity-in-the-classroom/

Rothstein-Fisch, C., & Trumball, E. (2008). Managing Diverse Classrooms: How to Build on Students’ Cultural Strengths. (p. xiv). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum.


Mar 4, 2012 - Weekly Reflection    Comments Off on Week 7: Blog Post: Recent Issues in Education

Week 7: Blog Post: Recent Issues in Education

As you know, the 2003 ruling in the Michigan State case Gratz v. Bollinger reaffirmed the rights of colleges to consider race in admissions. Recently, the Supreme Court agreed to take up the Fisher v. Texas University case raising the question of affirmative action once again (“Court takes another,” 2012; Jaschik , 2012). Only after Fisher v. Texas University was rejected by a federal district court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, did “the American Council on Education file a brief with the Fifth Circuit urging the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the Texas case” (Jaschik , 2012).
                The Michigan State 2003 case differs from Fisher v. Texas University in that the “Top 10%” scholarship in Texas is being scrutinized.  The scholarship plan takes the top 10 percent of students in high school classes and automatically admits them to the public college of their choice (“Top 10 percent scholarship,” 2009).  Some would argue that “Top 10%” encourages high achieving and competive students to consider going to college, while others see the plan as a tactic to  pipeline minority students into certain “flagship” state public institutions. In fact, some districts in Texas have majority minority students, therefore ensuring that the top 10% from various schools will enroll increasing geographic and ethnic diversity among colleges.
                   According to the U.S. Constitution the Tenth Amendment “reserves all powers not delegated to the central government to the States,” therefore Texas is entitled to implementing “Top 10%” (Mumper, Gladieux, King & Corrigan, 2011, 114).  The critical arguement against Texas University is whether the University of Texas exceeds “the right granted by [Michigan State] in 2003” by coupling race-based admissions criteria with the “Top 10%” scholarship  (Jaschik , 2012).  Fisher would argue that she was denied admission because she was a caucasian, despite that fact that she scored above the average profile of admitted students.
                 Fisher v. the University of Texas is making headlines in education and could change the criteria that public institutions use to admit students.   As a college admissions counselor and pre-service teacher, I would argue that rather than eliminating affirmative action, the state of Texas should rethink the way that the “Top 10%” scholarship effects college admissions.  I’m also interested in how many other states have adopted similar legislation to that of Texas’ “Top 10%,”  because the effect of “Top 10%” on Texas will be the baseline for future states. The law has been enacted since 1997, but was revised as recently as 2009, when the Texas House as part of the 81st Regular Session limitedt the number of students admitted under the 10% rule as requested by UT-Austin.

(2009). Trivia tidbit of the day: Part 547 — the university of texas’ top 10% rule.. (2009). [Print Photo]. Retrieved from http://www.willisms.com/archives/2009/03/trivia_tidbit_o_550.html

Court takes another look at affirmative action. (2012, February 24). NPR. [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=147348295&m=147348288

College for all texans: Top 10% scholarship program. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.collegefortexans.com/apps/financialaid/tofa2.cfm?ID=385

Jaschik , S. (2012, February 21). Inside higher ed. Affirmative Action on the Docket, Retrieved from http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/02/21/supreme-court-takes-affirmative-action-case

Mumper, M., Gladieux, L. E., King, J. E., & Corrigan, M. E. (2011). The federal government and higher education. In P. Altbach, P. Gumport & R. Berdahl (Eds.), American Higher Educational in the Twnty-First Century Social, Political, and Economic Challanges (pp. 113-138). Washington D.C.: The University of Johns Hopkins Press.

Top 10 percent scholarship. (2009). Retrieved from http://www.collegefortexans.com

United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit Court, (2010). Fisher vs. university of texas (No. 09-50822). Retrieved from website: http://www.acenet.edu/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Legal_Issues_and_Policy_Briefs2&CONTENTID=35880&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm

Feb 26, 2012 - Weekly Reflection    2 Comments

Week 6: Financing Public Education

“The Evolution of Virginia Public School Finance: From the Beginnings to Today’s Difficulties” (Salmon, 2010) outlines the history of funding public school in Virginia.  From the early 17th century the Commonwealth of Virginia has transitioned through the Virginia Literary Fund, Underwood Constitution, Standards of Learning (SOQ) and the Local Composite Index (LCI).   Researching the history of funding public education in Virginia provides insight into how to equitably distribute funds between poor and rich property districts.

Through the Reconstruction, Twentieth Century and the 21st Century, a common goal through the United States was and still is appropriating state, local and federal funds.  Many reforms have lead to significant changes in educational policy, which presently stands at a peak of transformation with the affirmation of NCLB.  First, in 1870 a newly written Virginia Constitution otherwise known as the Underwood Constitution, included an article that required the General Assembly to provide “compulsory and universal free public education Standards of Quality (SOQ).” Following SOQ, the new measure of fiscal capacity, referred to as the Local Composite Index (LCI) contained a series of algebraic algorithms that “mathematically merged a wealth measure, the true value of locally assessed real property and of state-assessed public service corporation property, and two economic indicators — personal income and taxable retail sales” (Salmon, 2010).  Finally, Landmark cases such as the California Supreme Court, 1971, affected the constitutionality of the disparities with taxpaying ability and funding between school districts, paving the way for new methods of equitable distribution for public schools (Salmon, 2010).

Vast changes have been made to ensure that localities are receiving the appropriate funding, however, the U.S. constitution does not explicitly reference education, so in order to fully fund education, states have taken a primary role with minimal intervention from the Federal Government (Higher Ed).  NCLB the Title I program was the first initiative that the U.S. Government intervened in education policy with the expectation that states would produce Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) in order to be funded (New America Foundation: Background & analysis, 2012; Webley, 2012).  The expectation of producing AYP also requires implementing new assessments, hiring supporting personnel and providing intervention without additional resources; therefore NCLB is criticized for not being fully funded.

In particular, Virginia public schools are financed through a combination of state, local and federal funds, in addition to partnerships in the private sector (Virginia department of education: School finance, 2012).  U.S.  Department of Education Funding is expected to drop from 703,262,031 in 2011 and 700,517,757 in 2012, to 668,283,222 in 2013 (U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Education Funding; 2012). Ever increasing budget cuts require states and localities to find more ways to raise funds for education, as well as obligate administrators, teachers and personnel to have a stronger voice and participate in how funds are allocated by the local school board.


New America Foundation: Background & analysis. (2012). Retrieved from http://febp.newamerica.net/background-analysis/no-child-left-behind-act-title-i-distribution-formulas.

Salmon, R. G. (2010). The Evolution of Virginia Public School Finance: From the Beginnings to Today’s Difficulties. Journal Of Education Finance, 36(2), 143-161.

U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Education Funding. (2012). Funds for state formula-allocated and selected student aid programs. Retrieved from website: http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/statetables/13stbystate

Virginia department of education: School finance. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.doe.virginia.gov/school_finance/index.shtml

Webley, K. (2012, January 23). Why it’s time to replace no child left behind. TIME , 40-44.

Feb 19, 2012 - Weekly Reflection    Comments Off on Week 5: Blog Post Governing and Administering

Week 5: Blog Post Governing and Administering

After 10 years, NCLB re-authorization has taken over the media and found it’s way into all of our textbooks.  Why? As pre-service teachers, we need to look at how NCLB and high stakes testing will affect our students and how we as teachers allot our time to fulfill curriculum standards.  The pressure of high stakes testing influences not only the teacher, but also the principal and the entire school.  In the words of Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, “It’s like taking a hammer to kill an ant” (Weebly, 2012).  The pressure of adequate yearly progress influences the tireless effort that schools put into remedial courses, tutoring services and practice tests, all to improve standardized test scores…and in some instances to shut down.  More than anything, achieving higher test scores are difficult for students and teachers to produce because of the time required to “teach to the test.” The standardized test is a one size fits all examination that doesn’t account for differing learning styles and students that require accommodations.

The greatest NCLB achievement was the initiative put forth and collect/share data, in order to pin point struggling students and close the achievement gap (Webley, 2012). TIME Magazine reported Why It’s Time to Replace No Child Left Behind and exemplified Rachel Carson Middle School in Herndon, VA.  Before NCLB, Rachel Carson’s higher than average scores would have over shadowed the underlying achievement gap.  Race, gender and income variables revealed the needs of 69 black, Hispanic, economically disadvantaged kids and special-education children.  NCLB proclaimed that 100% of students are required to be proficient in reading and math, leaving 5% of Rachel Carson’s students unaccounted and therefore failing to make annual yearly progress (Webley, 2012)

NCLB fails to see the progression that students make in the classroom.  Despite individual strides throughout the year, NCLB holds teachers accountable for failed advancement and lack of “proficiency.”  Instead of measuring a teacher’s effectiveness from one test, yearly progress should be tracked through a portfolio and a combination of formative/summative assessments.  Former President George Bush said that “you need to measure progress toward the absolute,” but he is worried about “the pressure to have too many goals or measure the wrong thing”  (webley, 2012).  NCLB fails to measure the achievement of schools and student performance, because the system measures “the results of one fill-in-the-bubble test” (NCLB Turns 10,2012).

In alignment with NCLB, The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) “is a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation,” (alignment of idea and nclb, 2007).  As part of IDEA, students with disabilities are ensured an Individual Education Program (IEP) and an IEP team.  In my classroom the students parents will be involved in the process whenever possible, in addition to a special education teacher, the child when appropriate and other regular education teachers.  As a teacher, consulting the IEP is mandatory, as well as consulting master teachers and administrative staff to ensure that the student’s specific needs are met.  Classroom inclusion is key for students with disabilities, as well as creating partnerships with families and maintaining communication regarding IEP transitions (Muhlenhaupt, 2002).


Muhlenhaupt, M. (2002). Family and school partnerships for IEP development… Individualized Education Program. Journal Of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 96(3), 175-178.

NCLB Turns 10. (2012). Education Week, 31(15), 26-28.

Ravitch, D. G. (Photographer). (2009). The future of no child left behind. [Print Photo]. Retrieved from http://educationnext.org/the-future-of-no-child-left-behind/

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. (2007). alignment of idea and nclb. Retrieved from website: http://idea.ed.gov/explore/view/p/,root,dynamic,TopicalBrief,9.

Webley, K. (2012, January 23). Why it’s time to replace no child left behind. TIME , 40-44.

Feb 12, 2012 - Weekly Reflection    1 Comment

Week 4: Blog Reflection – Idealism and Realism..can they exist together?

Rooted in Idealism is the belief that “the Absolute or God has been revealed, over time, to those who have sought the truth.” (Gutek, Levine & Ornstein, 2011,171).  Oversoul by Ralph Waldo Emerson emphasized that, ”the soul that each of us has, plus the soul of God that encompasses all of ours,” which represents that all people are born “good” or with an innate moral capacity.

Plato’s The Allegory of the Cave described Idealism as the only certain path to knowledge. By looking at the walls, the prisoners start making imperfect guesses about the shadows behind them.  The prisoner is set free into the world of light outside the cave to discover the light of reason and realize that the shadows were mere perception and sensation. As an idealist, Plato believed that reason took precedence over any other way of acquiring knowledge, which sharply contrasts Realism argument that sensory experience was the primary path to knowledge.  From Aristotle’s point of view, he would say that our only knowledge in this world would come to us through our senses. Although Plato put his trust in reason, Aristotle trusted what he was able to experience from sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste.  As an empiricist, Aristotle argued that no form could exist without substance and that substance was experienced, therefore knowledge required experience (Gaarder, 1994).  From a realists perspective, if a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, the noise would not exist.  In order to experience the sensation of seeing the tree fall and hearing the tree hit the ground, someone would have to be present to perceive the experience.

While the theories of Idealism and Realism contrast, the implications of both theories influenced todays classroom teacher. First, Idealists were truth seekers who categorized the body of knowledge into subjects, while realists emphasized “sensory learning and organizing objects into categories” (Gutek, Levine & Ornstein, 2011, 173).  Secondly, Realism is a foundation of science and influenced the way the subject is taught today.  Such that, science was taught based upon observation, public observation, as well as repeatable and verifiable observation, or the Scientific Method.  Lastly, Idealism is reflected in pre-service teacher preparation programs as seen in modeling, the emphasis on teaching with high standards, and inclusive education with a focus on giving every student the opportunity to reach intellectual potential.  My teaching philosophy will encompass both aspects of Idealism and Realism.  My realist classroom will have  systematic hands-on lessons centered around writing, reading and arithmetic, in addition to classification and how to hypothesize an experiment and use the scientific method.  While my idealist classroom will teach history and literature, and encourage students to use critical thinking and participate in grand discussions.


(2011). Plato, allegory of the cave from the republic, c. 380 bce . (2011). [Web Photo]. Retrieved from http://nickkahler.tumblr.com/post/10910319953

Gaarder, J. (1994). Sophie’s world. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Gutek, G., Levine, D. & Ornstein, A. (2011). Foundations of Education, 11th Edition. CA: Wadsworth.

Feb 5, 2012 - Weekly Reflection    1 Comment

Week 3: Blog Reflection – Recent Issue Education

The breadth of information contained in chapter 3 World Roots of American Education and chapter 4 Pioneers of Teaching and Learning needed to be synthesized (Gutek, Levine & Ornstein, 2011). After listening to small groups present a summation of key periods of educational history, the history of education much like western civilization clearly evolved and transcended between cultures.

Receiving an education can be defined as having an an enlightening experience.  While enlightenment can mean to give someone greater “knowledge and understanding” about a subject or situation (Mariam-Webster, 2012).  When investigating the history of education, the general purpose of education is the acquisition of skills and knowledge.  Presently, education focuses on creating a learning environment conducive to children, adolescents, young adults, adults and the elderly. The population of individuals being educated is broad and is not narrowly defined by age, gender, religion, race, ethnicity or culture.  Today, the purpose of education is to provide a learning environment that is inclusive, developmentally appropriate and accommodating.

Depending on the region, education has transformed and adapted, or moving in slow-motion.  Instead of social equity and educational opportunity, the student was classified based on a caste system, defined as gentry or upper class, and depended upon gender (Gutek, Levine & Ornstein, 2011).  The context of education has changed from survival, religious doctrines, militaristic tactics, and classic literature, to reading, writing, arithmetic and the scientific method.  The evolution of education is exponential and and moving in a direction that creates a global connection, bridging cultures and forming a global community.

The concept of cultural and religious diversity, awareness of the stages of development, enhancing motor and sensory skills, and critical thinking are just some examples of the past being utilized in today’s schools (Gutek, Levine & Ornstein, 2011). Rousseau, Piaget and Dewey are a few educational pioneers who contributed to educational reform today.  Rousseau’s stages of development prefaced Piaget’s cognitive developmental stages.  During undergraduate studies I majored in psychology with a concentration in experimental social psychology and Piaget was apparent throughout introductory and research courses.   John Dewey re-defined the meaning of experience in education. He believed that having an experience, “involved not merely doing something, but doing something with a certain awareness of what one is about.” (Dewey, 1938 as cited in Wojcikiewicz, 2010). Deweyan learning experiences have influenced pre-service teaching practicum and the way students learn and solve problems in the classroom.


Learner’s dictionary. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.learnersdictionary.com/search/enlightenment

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

School of education: Montgomery college. (2011). Retrieved from http://cms.montgomerycollege.edu/edu/department.aspx?id=10505

Wojcikiewicz, S. K. (2010). Dewey, Peirce, and the Categories of Learning. Education & Culture, 26(2), 65-82.

Jan 29, 2012 - Weekly Reflection    Comments Off on Week 2: Blog Reflection: Thinking about your teaching philosophy

Week 2: Blog Reflection: Thinking about your teaching philosophy

2011 National Teacher of the Year: Michelle Shearer, an AP chemistry teacher at Urbana High School in Maryland.
             My goal as an elementary education teacher is to experience the demands of a classroom and the needs of students, to better grasp the teaching profession and to influence effective change in school districts.  My philosophy of education and teaching incorporates the public education ideals of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington with the theories of William Glasser, Fritz Redl and William Wattenberg. Such foundational ideals and theories go without influence when there is a lack of personal experience.  I look forward to working with students and learning which methods lead to improvements.
             Every teacher will development their own teaching philosophy and teaching style.  As an elementary education teacher, I will foster a cooperative learning community filled with self-motivation, self-control and engagement.   First and foremost, students will feel safe and learn in a supportive environment which is effectively managed and abundant with quality teaching (Manning & Bucher, 2007).  As the teacher, I will be the guiding force behind the classroom, and the students will be aware of their personal responsibilities and my expectations for behavior.  My philosophy will also fulfill basic needs: the need for survival, the need to belong, the need for power, freedom, and the need for fun (Manning & Bucher, 2007).  I will listen to my students and become aware of their needs in order to provide quality instruction to the entire class.
               To determine the objective for each student, teaching requires the ability to reach students who are learning at multiple levels and using various teaching methods.  As a quality teacher I will take advantage of assessments to determine the individual needs of students and to differentiate instruction.  Differentiation can be accomplished with formative and summative assessments and will be a successful method to determine a students Zone of Proximal Development (Thompkins, 2007).   Since every teacher will encounter variation in achievement levels, understanding the power of differentiation instruction is essential.  Depending on specific needs, a student will show differences in significant achievement or reveal the need for further accommodations.  Understanding the needs of my students will aid my decision to use direct or implicit instruction, facilitate flexible groups and utilize expository teaching (Woolfolk, 2010).  Additionally, my classroom will be diverse and accommodate for gifted students, english language learners, and students with learning disabilities or special needs.   Finally, the needs of students will also depend on culture and ethnography.  Minorities are steadily becoming the majority, therefore transforming the modern classroom into a multi-cultural “stew pot” becomes essential.
               Considering the ability of diverse learners, mastering the content objectives at the individual level is most important.  By designing assessments and evaluations around specific objectives, students can demonstrate what they have learned in various ways.  I will emphasize the opportunity for students to complete projects in multiple forms, so students feel less obligated to memorize answers. Furthermore, incorporating technology into the classroom is essential and will expose all students to various resources: computers, the Internet, Microsoft Word and Power Point, search engines, web 2.0 tools, freeware and much more.  Integrating technology will prepare students to utilize innovative tools, which serves as framework in this computer literate driven world.  I will encourage students to participate in cooperative learning through online communities such as chatroom, blogs or virtual worlds and tours to bring lessons to life.  Additionally, I will relate interactive presentations and audio tutorials to daily lesson plans and accomodate for each type of learner.  Teachers can create the opportunity for all students to achieve success through multiple forms of instruction and assessment.
                   As an initial teacher I look forward to sharing my lesson plans, success stories and reflections with a supportive group of master teachers and administrators.  Practicing collaboration or lesson study is a form of management which groups teachers by subject, grade or both, to discuss successful lesson plans, curriculum improvements and Standards of Learning (Lewis, 2000).  Bringing educators together provides the opportunity to communicate dilemmas, to offer praise or criticism, and gives individuals the opportunity to voice opinions to fellow teachers.  Too often teachers are isolated in classrooms and are left to feel like they have a lack of support.  Encouraging a formation of educators will give individuals an opportunity to contribute to a majority and effect changes in a school district.

Lewis, A. (2000). High-quality teachers for all Americans. Phi Delta Kappan81(5), 339-340.

Ornstein, A.C., Levine, D.U. & Gutek, G.L. (2011). Foundations of education. (11 Ed.), Belmont: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Tompkins, G. (2007). Literacy for the 21st century: A balanced approach. (5 Ed.) Pearson.

Woolfolk, A. (2010). Educational Psychology. Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education.

(2011). National Teacher of the Year. (2011). [Web Video]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8mOmtuOwnk

Jan 21, 2012 - Weekly Reflection    3 Comments

Week 1: Blog Reflection: So You Want to be a Teacher?

After reading the first chapter of Foundations of education (Ornstein,Levine, & Gutek, 2011) and watching the video case, I wanted to explore articles and books concerning accountability and high-stakes testing.  I found the latter quote to be informative and wanted to share the article.

“There is a relationship among three tiers of accountability: “the individual’s sense of accountability, or responsibility; parents’, teachers’, administrators’, and students’ collective sense of accountability, or expectations; and the organizational rules, incentives, and implementation mechanisms that constitutes the formal accountability system in schools” (pg 4),” (Carnoy, Elmore & Siskin, 2003; as cited in Feuerstein, 2011).

The above quote from  The Politics of Accountability and Teacher Preparation (Feuerstein, 20111) identifies a hierarchy of accountability in schools and districts. The term politics is a valid concept that highlights how policy makers shape accountability: NCLB and IDEA.  Principals feel a sense of accountability in regard to the achievement of the entire school, while teachers feel a greater sense of responsibility over individual students and whole classrooms.  Initial teachers as well as master teacher and administrators perceive and react to accountability differently. Initial teacher feel pressure to prove that they are  prepared, knowledgeable and effective, while experienced teachers are pressured to maintain results or continuously improve, while acting as a role model for first year teachers.  The term accountability holds individuals responsible for producing tangible results, but is reduced to being centered around high stakes testing.  Schools and districts are limited to standardized testing and need to incorporate both formative and summative assessments to measure accountability (Garrison & Ehringhaus, 2007).


Feuerstein, A. (2011). The Politics of Accountability and Teacher Preparation. Action In Teacher Education, 33(1), 3-23.

Garrison, C., & Ehringhaus, M. (2007). Formative and summative assessments in the classroom.Retrieved from       http://www.amle.org/Publications/WebExclusive/Assessment/tabid/1120/Default.aspx

Ornstein, A.C., Levine, D.U. & Gutek, G.L. (2011). Foundations of education. (11th ed.). Belmont: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.