Education should guide students toward self-realization. In this process, students gain enduring knowledge while developing powerful thinking ability, and believe that they are not merely learning about people and events, but are gaining an understanding of what it is to be human.
For this student growth to happen, teachers must foster environments conducive to powerful learning, constantly illuminating the parallels between course material and the real world. In this way, curriculum becomes relevant for the students, causing them to become engaged in their own learning in a more authentic way. I am passionate about what I teach and I know students are engaged by instructors who really know and love their subjects. Over the years, high levels of student engagement have allowed me to use student-centered teaching strategies that have been very successful, producing students who feel a deep sense of personal responsibility for their own learning and for the betterment of their communities.
The primary purpose of education must be the capacity for critical thinking - habits of mind that will allow individuals to reach their potential while ensuring they are concerned and active members of society.
Differentiated Instruction: To be effective, instructors must consider the many learning styles and intellectual abilities of their students. By differentiating instruction and teaching for enduring understanding as opposed to breadth of content 'covered', teachers aid students in developing the highest levels of thinking.
If students are to have skills that will be relevant in the 21st century, educational goals, assessment and instructional strategies must be based on research and proven practice (data-driven).
Technology Integration: Emerging research in "constructivism" and "connectivism" suggest that student learning is deepest and most enduring when they collaborate, using technology as a tool to construct their own ideas. In this process, the instructor plays a crucial role as mentor and guide, but no longer can teachers serve as sages or "Gurus", dishing out knowledge to passive recipients. This old methodology is not effective and does not serve the interests of 21st century students.
I am passionate about civic engagement and committed to helping young people develop the thinking ability and the awareness necessary to become powerful citizens in our democracy. I advocate for progressive education policies that recognize the needs of the student before any other, and see the development of critical thinking as paramount. My own experience has taught me that a quality education can be transformational - school should prepare students for university and career success, and create life-long learners who are adaptable to change. I believe that justice in society is possible if individuals recognize their responsibilities to each other, and that to achieve this end, schooling must emphasize collaboration and real world problem solving.