I believe that all children can, and will learn. It is my job to find the avenue that best fits their style of learning and assessment. I agree with Dr. Howard Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences (www.thomasarmstrong.com/multiple_intelligences.php). He suggests that there are eight different intelligences that we all use as our preferred styles of learning. We typically learn best when taught through our “favorite” style or styles (Bodily-Kinesthetic, Verbal-Linguistic, Visual-Spatial, etc.). Good teaching involves utilizing a variety of styles, tools and assessments to meet every child wherever he/she is at a given time.
We must meet our students’ every need. If they are hungry, anxious, tired, etc. they are not ready to learn the material at hand. The classroom must be a safe environment where “put-downs” are never tolerated! Character Counts (http://charactercounts.org/sixpillars.html) is one program that teaches respect for all. It is essential that we take the time to get to know our students and their families and address concerns that hinder learning. We must not only be enthusiastic about what we do as educators, but we must also be compassionate towards the clients we serve.
We must capitalize on our students’ curiosity, capturing their attention and involving them in real-life situations. When a child is engaged and feels an authentic need to learn something he/she is more likely to own the concepts being taught. It is exciting to see an individual take a concept and create something “out-of-the-box”, demonstrating complete understanding of the subject.
The best way I can motivate my students is to be motivated myself. I must love what I do and come to work ready to teach to the best of my ability everyday. My job is to create life-long learners who are intrinsically motivated and are working to their full potential. As an educator, I have an exciting, yet monumental responsibility for which I am accountable.