Tag Archives: EDU 6918

Intro to Teaching Course Reflection

2.2 Engaging Students in Learning. To me, 2.2 is one of the most important teaching standards a newly certified special education teacher must makes sure they fully understand and implement into their classroom. Teachers are to teach in ways that include all students by providing students with numerous examples and resources. In special education, students in the same classroom may have an array of different levels of understanding. One way I have learned to fully engage students in the learning experience is through the use of technology. When properly aligned to content standards, technology offers students the opportunity to learn in new creative and innovative ways and can easily be modified for each individual learner. According to Steven Turner (2011), research examining learner-centered environments indicate that one key to reengaging reluctant learners is to increase the number of authentic opportunities for students to feel competent in the classroom. Because students learn more when instruction is personally meaningful, educators who seek to support disengaged students should create as much alignment as possible between school goals and the learner’s goals. I have discovered teaching is not just about dictation and grading tests, it is about the integration of meaningful and useful resources that help students better understand the ideas presented to them.

As a person new to education, I have really jumped in and tried to correlate all of the information that I have been learning from my Seattle Pacific University classes. In regards to this standard, I have learned that the use of technology will help to engage my students in learning by challenging them intellectually. From sending an email to creating an interactive group presentation online, students use higher cognitive thinking skills in order to process technological information while at the same time becoming engaged in the learning process. New and exciting technology is available for visualizing and modeling and offers students new ways to experiment and observe ideas and to view results in graphic ways that aid in understanding. And, as an added benefit, with technology tools and a project-learning approach, students are more likely to stay engaged and on task, reducing behavioral problems in the classroom. Technology also changes the way teachers teach, offering educators effective ways to reach different types of learners and assess student understanding through multiple means (Edutopia, 2008).

So what does this mean for my future students? To me, the idea of engaging students in learning means to teach them in a meaningful way. I want my students to be excited to come to school and look forward to the learning process. I want to engage them in the learning process by integrating interactive websites, individual and group projects, and online newspapers and media into our daily curriculum. I want to integrate technology such as Glogster, digital storybooks, iMovie, and the use of Chromebooks to name a few. I want each of my students to feel successful and autonomous when creating original works. I love the idea of using technology as a way of engaging students in learning because it can be adapted for the use of every learner. Special education students who may struggle with reading and writing can utilize talk to text programs that offer them the freedom to express their thoughts and ideas without feeling overwhelmed by not being able to process information the same as their peers. Students that are shy are afforded the opportunity to find their voice online through interactive discussions. These are just a few of the wonderful examples of how technology can engage learners. The benefits for integrating technology into the learning process are endless. I look forward to learning more about different technologies and engagement possibilities while building a classroom that is inclusive and engaging to all students.

Turner, Steven. (2011). Student-centered instruction: Integrating the learning sciences to support elementary and middle school learners. Preventing School Failure, 55(3), 123–131, 2011.

Edutopia Team. (2008) Why integrate technology into the curriculum: The reasons are many. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-introduction.

Characteristics of an Effective Educator

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My thoughts about the characteristics of an effective educator come from my experience of being a paraeducator in a high school special education classroom. I am fortunate enough to work in a classroom with 2 co-teachers. These teachers have very different teaching styles which has given me the opportunity to learn many different ways to be an effective teacher. From these teachers, I have learned unconditional positive regard, patience, how to be creative, and many useful learning modifications. By watching their different approaches to teaching, I have also learned to develop my own style of teaching. Being an effective teacher is more than just showing up to work and teaching lesson plans. An effective teacher is creative, prepared, motivating, encouraging, involved, organized, open-minded, inspired and passionate, among others. My mentor co-teachers each represent all of these characteristics. What makes them so outstanding is that they truly care about their students both inside and outside the classroom. They are not afraid to work long hours and go the extra mile to ensure that their students have the best learning environment possible.