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Philosophy

of Education

Rene Hennessy

Each student learns from every single experience he or she has because that is how we all build
knowledge. Vygotsky stated we must have social interaction in order to learn and grow, which I am in
complete agreement with. Although the brain develops in stages, as Piaget believed, learning cannot
advance without connecting experiences with new information. For example, if we are never exposed to
a more knowledgeable other, (MKO), we cannot advance our ideas. There are other factors that can and
do affect brain development such as disabilities, trauma, environment, and malnutrition. We must
consider all of these items when thinking about students and their development, knowledge, and
schemas.
Since each student arrives in our classroom with a different schema, we must first work diligently to
assess each student. Time spent on effective pre-assessments and formative assessments is crucial as
they inform us what needs to be taught and if students understand the material. Scaffolding techniques
are crucial when teaching another language. Each step must be broken down, practiced and rehearsed
multiple times.
Getting to know students and showing that you care is imperative. Assessing students is just one way we
can get to know our students. Meaningful conversations and questions in my classroom will be
encouraged, and I will provide choices as often as possible in order to provide freedom and motivation.
Assessments will also help me to self-reflect on each lesson to make changes and improve future
teaching methods and approaches.
My passion is not only other languages and cultures, but also how we learn, and kids. I would love to
share those passions with students in hopes they might find their own passions, whatever they may be.
One of the most important things I will offer in my classroom is free voluntary reading in the target
language. A lot of research (Stephen Krashen) shows how much free voluntary reading at appropriate
levels improves literacy dramatically in each skill. I think its important to find a variety of books in
Spanish and English so students have these daily opportunities.
When learning a second language, students must feel comfortable speaking out. Their affective filter
must be lowered and I will work daily in order to do that. This can occur by providing a positive
environment and encouraging students to accept the fact that mistakes are expected and are okay.
My class will be very hands on and inquiry-based. With every new and/or different modality language is
presented to students, their ability to acquire the target language increases; therefore, language must
constantly be presented in all its forms. These modalities include seeing it, hearing it, touching it and
physically moving with it. This is why I will also use TPR (Total Physical Response) and TPRS (Storytelling)
often in my classroom to get students moving and to allow students ample opportunities to practice the
target language.
Teaching a language is much different from teaching about a language. If there is a need to
learn a language, we must teach for acquisition, not for learning.