educators value and care for all students and act in their best interests.
Educators are responsible for fostering the emotional, esthetic, intellectual, physical, social and vocational development of students. They are responsible for the emotional and physical safety of students. Educators treat students with respect and dignity. Educators respect the diversity in their classrooms, schools and communities. Educators have a privileged position of power and trust. They respect confidentiality unless disclosure is required by law. Educators do not abuse or exploit students or minors for personal, sexual, ideological, material or other advantage.
Evidence 1: Professional development workshop & Reflection
My notes from the workshop
For this evidence piece, I attended a school based professional development day for all of the French immersion schools in Nanaimo, including my practicum school Pauline Haarer. One of the workshops we participated in was on the topic of integrating Curricular Competencies, Intercultural Competencies, and First Nations Principles of Learning into our planning and instruction. In this workshop, I learned what incorporating the above competencies looks like and how we can more effectively incorporate them into our classrooms.
When learning about intercultural competencies, something very present in French immersion classrooms, the facilitator stressed the importance of explicitly teaching the students about cultural lenses. In order to explore and better understand the realities of one’s own culture as well as those of the francophone culture(s), we need to cultivate critical thinking, awareness of cultural lenses, and go beyond the “postcard” approach of teaching culture. It is important when building intercultural competencies to steer away from the gift shop trinket artifacts we so often tend to use to represent cultures and move more towards the everyday lives and realities of the cultures we wish to present. By working with authentic francophone materials in the class, reflecting on similarities and differences between cultures, and talking explicitly about cultural lenses and how to identify our own biases, we can foster and build intercultural competencies in our students.
I also learned about the importance of incorporating First Nations Principles of Learning into our planning and instruction. I learned about the importance of not learning about First Nations peoples and their perspectives, but about learning from them. It is important that we teach these perspectives and principles in conjunction with our own in order to recognize that the values and perspectives of each are valuable and elevate each other. With these competencies being intentionally instructed and incorporated throughout our lessons and routines, we foster the ability in our students to see things through a multicultural perspective rather than a eurocentric one.
The content of this workshop is valuable and relates to caring for students and acting in their best interests because by modeling and promoting these competencies in our classrooms, we show that we value and respect all backgrounds our students bring into our class. Knowing that we live in a multi-cultural society on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded land of Indigenous peoples, we are respecting the diversity in our classroom, schools, and communities when we explicitly teach cultural competencies and when we value First Nations Principles as equals to our own. I believe this evidence piece also relates to the standard when it comes to the Indigenous students in our classrooms. When we recognize that other cultures’ values and perspectives are just as valid and valued as our own, we are showing our students that we care about, value, and celebrate all cultures and perspectives. I think it is especially important in the midst of reconciliation to consider the history surrounding First Nations children and education, with respect to the history of erasure and devaluation of First Nations culture that happened as a result of the residential school system. Therefore, it is important to recognize and promote the equal value of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspectives and to teach them in our classrooms authentically and respectfully.
This evidence has impacted my knowledge and insights about my own teaching and learning by showing me the importance of incorporating all of these competencies into my planning and instruction. Shifting my thinking from learning about First Nations perspectives to learning from First Nations perspectives is a shift I believe is needed in order to authentically and respectfully incorporate First Nations knowledge and content into our classrooms. “With the increased inclusion of First Peoples’ content in the changing BC curriculum, there is a need to incorporate unappropriated First Peoples’ perspectives across the curriculum” (FNESC, 2018) and understanding how to effectively and authentically incorporate these principles and perspectives is important. I believe that incorporating and teaching these competencies benefits all learning styles and can and should be incorporated into all teaching and learning approaches.
This is a strong evidence piece because I believe that in order to value and care for all students, we need to show that we value and care about their cultures and beliefs. One way to treat students with respect and dignity is to show through your actions and your teaching practices that you value their cultures’ ways of learning as equal to your own perspectives and that you respect the diversity in the classroom, which I believe are strengths of this evidence piece.
This standard is important to me as a new teacher because it is important to build positive relationships with your students. As teachers, we spend so much time with our students and it is important for their emotional and intellectual development that we value and care for them. School is about more than just learning content, fostering the development of the student is a critical part of our role that is accomplished directly and indirectly through our relationships with them. If students do not feel safe, they won’t learn. All aspects of this standard are essential for student growth and learning, which is why I believe it to be important to my practice. As I grow as a teacher, I plan to hold this standard true by cultivating positive relationships with my students as a priority and continuing to implement practices into my teaching that respect the diversity of my students’, the school, and the community.
I think that the aspect of the standard that talks about respecting the diversity in the classroom, schools, and communities relates to improving my attitudes about teaching and learning by promoting the value in different teaching and learning values and practices across other cultures. I think it also improves my view on positive relationships with students and how important they are when it comes to the development and learning taking place in the classroom.
Works Cited First Nations Education Steering Committee. Learning First Peoples Classroom Resources. (n.d.). Retrieved March 08, 2018, from http://www.fnesc.ca/learningfirstpeoples/
For this piece of evidence, I have chosen my EdExpo Station on fostering an introvert friendly classroom. The EdExpo is an event put on within the Education Faculty of VIU consisting of pre-service teachers giving presentations and running stations that present their learning on a particular topic in education. For our station, we created a model “classroom” featuring various things one could incorporate into their real class to make the space more introvert friendly. In addition to our station, we also created a website that shared our learning and recommendations on the topic as a digital takeaway (link above).
During this experience, I learned more about the differences in introverts and extroverts and how we can create a classroom that equally caters to the strengths and needs of each group. The main difference between introverts and extroverts is their sensitivity to stimuli, particularly social stimuli. Extroverts have an amygdala that is less sensitive to stimuli, allowing them to enjoy more social and discussion based activities. Introverts, however, have more sensitive amygdalas that are more easily and quickly stimulated; this steers them towards enjoying more focused, individual or small group settings. (Cain, 2012) All individuals have optimal levels of stimulation where they can work and focus best (Cain, 2012) and through my research for this project I learned about ways in which we can foster and promote these optimal stimulation zones for all of our students, introverted and extroverted. In order to act in the best interests of all students, I believe we need to purposefully create spaces and plan activities that allow for our students to be successful. This evidence piece also respects the diversity in the classroom by acknowledging and planning for both the extroverted and introverted students in our classes, understanding and catering to the diverse needs of each.
Prior to this evidence piece, I believed strongly that collaboration and group work in the classroom were one of the most important things to have. I still believe that collaboration and groupwork are important, however, I now believe that carving out time and space for students to work individually is equally as important. It’s true that learning the skills necessary to effectively work in a group are essential to teach our students; however, it is also true that we need to be teaching students the skills to think, work, and produce independently as well. In order to effectively foster the emotional, esthetic, intellectual, physical, social and vocational development of students, we need to focus on both skill areas equally. It is just as important for us to teach our introverted students to collaborate and work with others as it is for us to teach our extroverted students how to work alone. I now believe that an ideal classroom that values and cares for all students finds the balance between collaborative, high-stimulation activities and independent, low-stimulation activities in order to equally and fairly challenge each of our students.
I believe this evidence piece touches on Mihaly Csikszentmihayli’s concept of flow. Flow is a “temporary inactivation of the prefrontal area [that] may trigger the feeling of distortion of time, loss of self-consciousness, and loss of inner-critic [where] the prefrontal lobe may enable the implicit mind to take over, resulting in more brain areas to communicate freely and engage in a creative process.” (Oppland, 2017) The state of flow is a state in which one is completely immersed in the task they are doing where they are focused, fully involved and finding enjoyment in the activity. Susan Cain’s optimal levels of stimulation, I believe, are the stimulation levels needed for an individual to reach the state of flow. In order for someone to be in a zone of complete engagement, focus, and enjoyment, they cannot be distracted by excessive or lack of stimuli. In order to create an environment where our students are able to enter the state of flow, we need to cater to their optimal levels of stimulation. Respecting the diversity in our classrooms includes respecting the optimal levels of stimulation that students work best in. To act in the best interests of all students, we need to provide the spaces and activities needed for each individual to reach that optimal zone.
Though this evidence directly addresses introverted learners, extroverted learners can also benefit from the strategies and tools proposed. As mentioned above, it is important that we are teaching our students- especially extroverted students where it doesn’t come as naturally- the skills necessary to work effectively independently.One of the strengths of this evidence piece is that it provided multiple strategies for teachers to create a more introvert friendly classroom environment. In order to act in the best interests of all students, we need to be creating environments that suit each of their needs. Another strength of this evidence piece is that it benefits all learners, giving tangible examples and strategies to show that we value and care for all students. It enables us to draw from the strengths of both introverted and extroverted students, respecting the diversity in the classroom. Thirdly, this is a strong evidence piece because it was presented at the Education Expo as a way to support other educators and those preparing to enter the profession (TRB 8) by allowing us to contribute our learning on a subject we are passionate about. This standard is important to me as a new teacher because it is important to build positive relationships with your students as well as to create a positive environment for them. School is about more than just learning content, fostering the development of the student is a critical part of our role that is accomplished directly and indirectly through our relationships with them and the environment we create. If students do not feel safe, they won’t learn. All aspects of this standard are essential for student growth and learning, which is why I believe it to be important to my practice. As I grow as a teacher, I plan to hold this standard true by cultivating positive relationships with my students and creating a positive learning environment as a priority. I plan to continue to implement practices into my teaching that respect the diversity of my students’, the school, and the community and to get to know my students and their families so I know how to best do this.
I think that the aspect of the standard that talks about respecting the diversity in the classroom, schools, and communities relates to improving my attitudes about teaching and learning by promoting the importance of different teaching and learning values and practices across other cultures. I think it also improves my view on positive relationships with students and how important they are when it comes to the development and learning taking place in the classroom.
Works Cited Cain, S. (2012). Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking (1st ed.). New York: Crown Publishers. Oppland, M. (2017, March 13). Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: All About Flow & Positive Psychology ( PDF). Retrieved March 23, 2018, from https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/mihaly-csikszentmihalyi-father-of-flow/
Header Image Courtesy of Craig Ferguson Evidence photo taken by me