I’m not going to lie, at the beginning of this semester I wasn’t quite sure how I would feel about this class. Being told that we would direct our own learning was shocking in a way. Until this class, I don’t believe I have ever been given so much freedom and responsibility to decide what I got to learn. I was afraid that by not really being instructed, I would struggle to make it through the class and wouldn’t learn what I needed. I was definitely wrong; I have probably learned more in this class then I have in any other class. There are so many things that I have learned by being in this class and I intend on applying each in my future classroom. If I were to name off each thing you might be reading for a while, so I’m going to attempt to sum everything up in a few points.
- Everybody is unique, especially in the way they learn.
No two people are alike, and therefore neither is the way they learn. Though it is very important to meet the standards, it is equally as important to accommodate your teaching style to the needs of your students each year. Students should be given the freedom to direct their learning. Now, I understand that grade schoolers definitely can’t handle as much freedom as we were given this semester, but they should have a say in how they take on certain assignments. People are more likely to learn when they are intrinsically motivated. So why wouldn’t a teacher want to offer their students the ability to choose what they learn about every so often? I know that I intend on giving my students a certain amount of freedom rather than constricting my teaching to solely meet the standards.
- Allow creativity!
The most important thing I learned all semester is to encourage your students’ creativity. Thankfully the English classes I took always allowed some sort of freedom in the classroom and encouraged creativity. So, many of the things we discussed this semester I had already done. Freewriting for example is so important. As a high schooler I never really appreciated when my English teachers gave us time to free write, instead I dreaded it. I think this was partly because teachers in so many other classes “taught the creativity out of me”, or so I thought. I never want to be the teacher that constricts my students’ creative thoughts. I have learned just how important it is to encourage creative writing through freewriting, journals, drawings, etc. Therefore, I intend to incorporate some form of creative writing in my classroom.
- Your classmates are a resource.
Until this semester in this class, I have never learned so much from each of my classmates. In a way we all relied on each other to gain knowledge. Between the histories of writing, the contemporary theories, and the different practices it would take years to research each topic on your own. Therefore, I am so glad that each of us were able to research what interested us and then share with each other what we found. I found myself becoming quite interested in certain topics I have never had an interested in because of the way each of you presented what you found throughout the class. Something about listening to some talk about something they believe in/ are interested in so intriguing. Maybe that is just me, but I have always loved hearing people discuss things they are passionate about. Once I become a teacher, I hope to encourage my students to work together and to learn together. School doesn’t need to be a competition like it often seems to be. I want to encourage class discussion that will not only allow my students to learn from each other but also myself.
All in all, I have gained so much more from this class then I had initially thought I would. I thank each and every one of you for opening my eyes to certain topics I may not have considered on my own. What I gained from this semester definitely can’t be summed up in just one post.