As a progressive educator, three foundational principles guide my pedagogy: content, context, and community. I view these three features as inseparable components of my instruction. I practice this approach because students come to my class with embodied histories, practices, and cultural knowledge. As such, students have opportunities to think about and find correlations in real world examples. Students’ awareness of these real world connections reveal the extent to which they already possess knowledge about their everyday experiences that have larger implications, locally and globally.
Small group discussions provide an opportunity for students to wrestle with micro and macro-level issues that have specific associations to local and global perspectives. When learning by doing, students make actual correlations to the ideas and concepts discussed through practice based activities. These activities bring awareness to their individual embodied histories that reveal similarities and differences between cultures.
My pedagogical approach fosters a holistic integration of mind and body perspectives. To achieve active engagement, I focus on students’ understanding of arguments posed, paying close attention to their individual responses, while also building a framework for them to weigh each other’s assessments. In my classroom, active engagement calls for multiple assessment tools that recognize the multiple intelligences each student possesses. For this, I use performance-based presentations that encourage students to build a wide skill set. Students integrate and synthesize their abilities to critically think, view, listen, speak, engage an audience, and use technology into a seamless performance.
The use of technology combines important elements for supporting student-centered learning. Students learn how technology facilitates understanding using demonstrations and performances. Another essential component of my classroom involves improvisation. Improvisation facilitates student responsiveness in real time according to the immediate needs of the class. Improvisation shows a readiness for adaptability and a shift of focus when needed.
Ultimately, I view my students as co-collaborators in the classroom setting and instructional experience. For this, I rely on the embodied knowledge of my students and the current world they inhabit. My lectures and facilitation of discussion emphasizes the experiential nature of acquiring knowledge that makes connections embedded within the theoretical framework explored.
I root my effective teaching in powerful pedagogies that provide transformative learning experiences of action and interaction for all students. My classroom is a place where active learning stimulates the cognitive and sensory skills necessary for our information age.