Education is not a group of classes containing a series of facts to be used on a test and then forgotten. Education is a series of tools that students use every day in the classroom and in the real world. The English language is the primary language of the United States and people use it to communicate throughout the world. Yet, many students have difficulty using the language properly. As an educator, I would like to make a difference and help students write better and use proper grammar and punctuation. All students are capable of learning and learning about language does not mean students simply learn a series of rules. Using the language is the key to understanding it.
Like many teachers, I prefer an eclectic approach. I see rows and columns of seats, filled with students. The rows would be changed into small circles for group work, which would be a part of my approach to teaching. Signs on the wall address the rules for the classroom and the consequences for those that break the rules. I would use a combination of essentialism and progressivism in the classroom, as defined by Teachers, Schools, and Society, written by Myra Pollack Sadker and David Miller Sadker. Lectures, textbooks, and written assignments would be part of my teaching style. Certain subjects lend themselves to progressive assignments, but English should be taught so that students learn the rules of the language and how to apply them. This would be essentialism in action.
Writing is undervalued in many English classes. Instead of writing a report about a short story, students could write a short research paper on a topic that interests them.
By using proper grammar, they would be learning to use the rules of the language and become stronger writers. Allowing students to pick their own topic would make students more likely to pursue it and work harder on the assignment. Allowing students to pick some of the literature they read in the course would also give them freedom in the classroom. Using these methods would incorporate portions of the progressive philosophy into my classroom.
A teacher used the Socratic method in my senior English class in high school. Although it had its merits, many students did not respond to the questions and dialogue favored by the teacher. Perennialism is a nice philosophy, but its use in the classroom should be limited. Students need to be made to feel that they are part of the physical world and the world is constantly changing. The great works of literature should be used in the classroom, but other work, and activities need to be included as well.
Students need and want discipline in the classroom. If the rules and consequences are made clear at the beginning of the school year, then the students know the boundaries of the classroom. If the teacher follows these rules and consequences, then students will know that the teacher expects the rules to be obeyed. If students disobey rules, I would take the student outside for a private...