There are many valuable ways in which to approach teaching and learning, but my core philosophy is that every act of learning is an agreement between teacher and learner in which they hold mutual responsibility to fulfill their roles. It is the responsibility of the teacher to care for, respect, support, and build meaningful mentoring relationships with all of their students. Everything else, while important, cannot occur without this basic understanding.
My personal overarching goal for instruction is for all students to experience authentic, individualized experiences whenever possible, and it is the responsibility of the teacher to provide these authentic, autonomous experiences. I believe that “knowledge is a function of how the individual creates meaning from his or her own experiences” (Ertmer & Newby, 2013). It is the goal of instruction to model for students how to construct knowledge, provide them with multiple perspectives and allow them to collaborate with a variety of other students, resources and the public sphere so that they can construct meaning from the classroom in a deeper, more interdisciplinary sense.
I also believe that technological advances have allowed us the opportunity to design instruction in a way that can be increasingly autonomous and personalized. Participating in the connected learning environments and taking advantage of the vast amount of resources and communities that exist outside of our current reach can allow every human being to learn and have transformative experiences that they otherwise would not have had. It is our responsibility to navigate and participate meaningfully in the public sphere in a way that can be productive for ourselves, those we teach, and those we interact with.
Ultimately, I believe that however one chooses to approach teaching, it is a learner centered experience in which all students should have equitable access to thoughtful, meaningful, and individualized instruction that is designed to foster student growth. This growth should encompass but not be limited to academic success, and bring students to an increased understanding of themselves and the ways in which each of them are gifted, talented, and can contribute meaningfully to the communities in which they live.