Summer 2009 Retreat

Summer 2009 Retreat

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pedagogy Journal - Natalie Johnson

After doing these three readings and then thinking about my own educational experiences thus far, I have realized that my classroom experiences were largely affected by the teachers I had. I don’t really remember specific teaching styles that my teachers had in elementary school, but as for middle school and high school there are plenty of examples of classes I either loved or hated completely one hundred percent because of the teacher. For example, I despised my 7th grade Algebra 1 class because of Mrs. Bryant’s teaching style: on the first day of class she literally said these words- “This class will not be fun. We will not do group projects, and we will not have holiday parties. You will come here, take notes, take tests, and that is all.” I was astounded- I don’t care if we don’t have parties and it’s not a class completely based on fun, but this teacher was outright admitting that she didn’t care if we hated the class. From that day on I had a horrible stigma against that class because she was just such a negative person that there was no way I could enjoy it. Unfortunately, she was true to her word- we literally just took notes every day. Luckily I am an adaptive learner and can teach myself basic things if I don’t understand them at first, so I still did alright in the class.

On the other end of the spectrum, my favorite math class I ever took was my junior year of high school with Mr. Darrow- Probability and Statistics. He did real life examples and projects that allowed us to apply what we were learning to our lives so that the material was solidified in our minds. I usually despise math because it doesn’t come very naturally to me, but Mr. Darrow actually took an interest in each of his students and wanted us to understand the material and succeed in his class and in everything we were doing in our lives.

So though I haven’t focused much on teaching methods, it’s because I think that the single most important thing is the quality of the person who is your teacher. If the teacher cares about her students and isn’t just teaching as a job and for a paycheck, then I think that the students will want to try harder in the classes. As for methods, I completely agree with Dewey’s philosophy. Education should be a balance of taking the student’s experiences into account as well as taking the quality of the curriculum into account.

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