One Teacher's Voice


Core Values of Teaching

Core Values of Teaching[i]
To Wonder I am a National Public
Radio (NPR) junkie all because of a fantastic show called Radiolab.  “Radiolab believes your ears are a portal to
another world.…Big questions are investigated, tinkered with, and encouraged to
grow.…Bring your curiosity, and we’ll feed it with possibility”[ii].  I was listening to an episode about Henrietta
Lacks, whose “immortal” cells were responsible for unlocking some of the most
important medical advances in the history of medicine.  I found myself enrapt, hanging on every word while
still drawing connections to my own life.
I suddenly realized, “this is how I want to teach!”  Of course, what I teach will be very
different from what Radiolab explores. I do believe, however, that like the
show, I can create inquiry based activities, questions, and projects[iii],
that are engaging[iv], take
place in real life contexts[v], that
are interdisciplinary[vi],
and that make students feel as full of awe and wonder as I feel when I’m
listening to Radiolab.
To know  So how will I do this?  I believe it starts with the teacher.  I will constantly examine my own practices
and beliefs[vii]
to ensure that my own biases are not affecting my students’ experiences in the
classroom.  Next, to create a classroom
students should feel comfortable experimenting with knowledge and making
mistakes.  They need to know that who
they are is accepted and individuality is encouraged. Including everyone in the
classroom, regardless of ability[ix],
gender[x], race[xi],
religion, socioeconomic status[xii],
background knowledge, or life experiences is another important factor for
creating community.  
next step is differentiating instruction[xiii]
and using a variety of authentic assessments[xiv].  Every student will have different needs,
interests, and abilities and I will strive to accommodate as many as I
can.  When assessing my students, I will
use asset-based language[xv] because
an achievement gap will always exist in a deficit-based mindset.  A student can reach and even exceed academic
goals when her teacher uses asset-based assessment.  It communicates the same information about
the student, but yields better results.
To care  Students need to care about what they are
learning.  They need to feel connected to
and invested in the curriculum.  To
achieve this, I need to know who my students are, where they are from, and
anything else that is relevant to a student’s learning experience in the
classroom.  I will represent as many
different perspectives as possible by how I decorate my room, how I create my
lesson plans and most importantly which voices[xvi],
both historical and current, I share with my students[xvii].  By
practicing culturally relevant pedagogy[xviii]
(with multicultural education as an important subset), I will encourage my
students to think critically[xix] and
come to conclusions based on their own understanding of the world.  It’s okay if I don’t agree with what my
students believe – or vice versa – I just want them to consider multiple
perspectives and come to their own logical conclusions.
To act  I believe this is the most important part
of teaching.  We live in a democracy, and
democracies require participation.  Each
one of my students will be future voters, employers and employees, community
members, and leaders.  I want my students
to leave the classroom feeling like they are a part of something bigger, and I
hope to help them gain a sense of personal responsibility to make our community
a better place.  There are all too many
examples of inequality and oppression in our world, so I hope to instill a
sense of social justice[xx]
in my students, encourage them to look for inequities and try to make the world
a better place. 
To wonder, to
know, to care, to act: this is my personal teaching philosophy and I believe in
these ideas to my core.  I know I am
close to embarking on what will be an overwhelming, challenging, and
frustrating career, but just as I will believe in my students, I believe in

adapted from Banks, J.A. & Tucker, M. (n.d.). Multiculturalism’s Five
Dimensions.  NEA Today Online.
[ii] About Radiolab. (2011).  Retrieved from
Boaler, J. (2008). What’s math got to do
with it?: How parents and teachers can help children learn to love their least
favorite subject
. New York, NY: Penguin.
Wilhelm, J.D. (2007). Engaging readers
& writers with inquiry: Promoting deep understandings in language arts and
the content areas with guiding questions.
New York, NY: Scholastic.
Leland, C.H, Harste, J.C., & Kuonen, K. (2008). Unpacking videogames:
Understanding and supporting a new ethos. In Y. Kim, V. Risko, D. Compton, D.
Dickinson, M. Hundley, R. Jimenez, K. Leander, & D. Rowe. 57th Yearbook of the National
Reading Conference
(p. 231-243). Oak Creek, WI: National Reading
Wilhelm, J.D. (2007). Engaging readers
& writers with inquiry: Promoting deep understandings in language arts and
the content areas with guiding questions.
New York, NY: Scholastic.
Gay, G. (2009). Teaching authentically. In M.C. Fehr & D.E. Fehr (Eds.) Teach boldly!: Letters to teachers about
contemporary issues in education
. New York, NY: Peter Lang.
Sapon-Shevin, M. (2010). Because we can
change the world: A practical guide to building cooperative, inclusive
classroom communities
(2nd ed.) Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press,
Valle, J.W. & Connor, D.J. (2010). Rethinking
disability: A disability studies approach to inclusive practices
. New York,
NY: McGraw-Hill.
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with it?: How parents and teachers can help children learn to love their least
favorite subject
. New York, NY: Penguin.
Ferri, B.A. & Connor, D.J. (2005). Tools of exclusion: Race, disability,
and (Re)segregated education. Teachers
College Record, 107
(3), p. 453-474.
Haberman, M. (1991). Pedagogy of poverty versus good teaching.  Phi
Delta Kappan
, 73, p. 290-294.
Tomlinson, C.A. (2002). Different learners, different lessons.  Instructor,
(2), p. 21-25, 91.;
Lankshear, C. & Knobel, M. (2007). Sampling “the
new” in new literacies. In M. Knobel, & C. Lankshear (Eds.). A new literacies sampler (p. 1-24). New
York, NY: Peter Lang.
Black, P., Harrison, C., Lee, C., Marshall, B., & Wiliam, D. (2003. Assessment for learning: Putting it into
. Berkshire, England: Open University Press.
Taberski, S. (2000). On solid ground:
Strategies for teaching reading K-3
. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Boutte, G.S. & Strickland, J. (2008). Making African American culture and
history central to early childhood teaching and learning. The Journal of Negro Education, 77(2), p. 131-142.
Zinn, H (2005). The people’s history of
the United States: 1492 to present
. (new ed.) New York, NY: HarperCollins.
Ladson-Billings, G. (1995). But that’s just good teaching!: The case for
culturally relevant pedagogy. Theory into
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(3), p. 159-165.
Kucer, S.B. (Ed.) (2008). What research
REALLY says about teaching and learning to read
. Urbana, IL: National
Council of Teachers of English.
Gustein, E. & Peterson, B. (2005). Rethinking
mathematics: Teaching social justice by the numbers
. Milwaukee, WI:
Rethinking Schools.

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This entry was posted on May 1, 2012 by in Uncategorized.
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