Thursday, January 12, 2012

Why Do You Do What You Do?- Learning Beliefs

Earlier in the year, one of the teachers in my building came up with a set of her beliefs about teaching and learning. She posted them outside of her classroom as a way to let everyone know her rationale behind why she does what she does and to hold herself accountable for them in her classroom decisions.

Well, since then, we were all asked to do the same- come up with a list of our own personal beliefs about teaching and learning and post them outside our classrooms.

I think it's a great idea. Now everyone who walks down our hall can see every teacher's personal philosophies behind why they do what they do. And it's been really interesting to see other peoples' beliefs. It has made me wonder about my bloggy friends... what are your personal beliefs about teaching and learning? I know that I had never really thought before about why I do things how I do them. It's just how I do it! But it was extremely insightful to have to think about why Room 10 is the way it is. So, here are my beliefs about teaching and learning:

It feels good to work hard and do a good job. (And sometimes we do the right thing just because it's the right thing to do.)
Learning made fun is fun. (This is HUGE! Who doesn't want to make school more fun?!)

All kids can learn. (And, yes, ALL means ALL.)
Celebrating the success of others is important. (I never realized how much of this we do until I started thinking about my beliefs. Sometimes school feels so competitive- which isn't all bad- but I think it's equally important to teach our students to be proud of their peers too. One way I help do this is by my weekly awards I give out on Fridays, which you can read about HERE if you'd like! Anyway, celebrating others as part of character development is a biggie for me, so it had to be part of my beliefs set.)

Students can be accountable for their own learning. (ie. keeping graphs of their reading progress, math fact mastery, being asked to explain what they are learning, empowering them with choices via Daily Five and math workstations)
Parents are important in school success. (Thanks, parents! We love you!)

There is only one I did not add and it is one I feel very strongly about, but couldn't think of a way to say it that wouldn't be offensive. I teach in a district with a very high free-and-reduced-lunch rate, but I truly believe that poverty does not stand in the way of learning. I know that this can be a hot-button issue with some people and I get it that what happens at home is out of our control... but those 8-hours we have with those kids, IS in our control and I refuse to allow home situations to hinder my students' learning. Is there a way to re-word that so it sounds more positive?

I would love love love it if you would share some of your beliefs here too. It was really good for me to get them down on paper and spend some time actually thinking about the things I do in my classroom and what beliefs I have that lead me to do those things.

So, if you wouldn't mind, let's hear yours too! Why do you do the things that you do?


  1. What about...
    "There is no excuse for failure."
    "It is up to me to do everything I can with what I am given."
    "Nothing can hold you back except yourself."
    "No matter what the other circumstances are in life, a great teacher can help you succeed."

    I definitely want to think about these... but I think I might actually ask my STUDENTS what they think my beliefs are about teaching and learning! There are some things I tell them all the time, like "It's okay for something to be hard. That means your brain is getting stronger!" and I'm curious to see if any of that has sunk in!

  2. I love ALL of yours. I really love the one you couldn't post. I feel strongly that ANY child can learn, no matter what background they come from.

    One I always refer to in my classroom is:
    It is okay to make mistakes as long as you are giving 100% effort.

    Looking forward to seeing everyone elses. =)
    Ms. Smith

    The Adventures of Ms. Smith

  3. Ooh- one more way to put it. "It doesn't matter where you come from, but where you go."

  4. I loved your blog today and of course everyday that I read it. I published my core beliefs on my blog and encouraged others to read yours and mine and post their own as well. Thank you for refreshing my memory of what I believe as a teacher.

  5. Every year I tell my students that if there's a traffic jam, since I grew up around here I know 7 or 8 other ways to get home. I tell them that's what happens when you get a "wrong" answer. The next time you're working on a problem, you know lots of "ways to think" about the problem. One of those ways may lead to the right answer, but if it doesn't you're still making wrinkles in your brain (like I've driven all the roads around my home) and you can find answers faster the next time and the next time and so on... I also tell them that research shows that making "wrinkles" (gray matter) in your brain guards against alzheimer's disease.

  6. So...I should have said one of my learning beliefs is "If you got the answer wrong, good for you! You're learning more!"


  7. I love that idea. We have ours inside our own rooms, but outside would be good too. I have a couple that I'd like to share. "If a child doesn't learn the way you teach, then teach the way a child learns." and "instead of saying I can't, say I'm having a hard time."
    P.S. Are ya dancing? ******

  8. Love this!

    "EVERY student CAN learn"

    "Every student is trying to tell us something, we just have to hear it"

    That's all I can think of for now! As a special ed. teacher I truly do believe every child can learn.

  9. I LOVE this! Thank you so much for sharing. I am going to do something similar in my own classroom!

  10. Thanks for sharing your learning beliefs, everyone! I'm trying to figure out how to do threaded commenting so I can actually respond to individual people... but I'm having a difficult time with it!

    But I have loved hearing everyone's beliefs!


  11. I love this!! Thank you for bringing up your point about poverty. I teach in a Title I building with about 85 f&r lunch rate. Teaching many students who go home to so little can make those hours we have them SO important! I love working with the population that I do, and I know each of my kiddos is smart and capable - but at times it can be hard to give so much support!

    Your post has made me go back to my "philosophy" created in college before I had any experience in the classroom. I plan to look at my beliefs and hopefully post them in my room this week! :)


  12. I really like this idea. It is good to hear the belief's of others and take the time to reflect and remind ourselves of our own.
    Cute blog. I'm your newest follower.
    ♥ Dragonflies in First ♥

  13. My favorite is "Childhood is a journey not a race."


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