As an educational technology coach, I work alongside teachers, parents, and students as we navigate teaching and learning online. The shift of environment has asked us to think differently, but we are not expected to leave what we know and believe about teaching behind.
Stop and consider for a minute how we begin designing in-classroom lessons and classroom environments. When we plan, we start with what we believe about students, learning, and educational best practice. These beliefs shape how we create learning experiences and how we reach our students.
We anchor our practice in our beliefs. What we believe gives us the power to be brave and creative. What we believe defines the kind of teacher we become and how our students engage in learning. Teaching and coaching during a global pandemic has amplified the importance of having foundational belief statements.
Take a bit of time and reflect on what you believe about teaching. Now, note the classroom practices (in the physical classroom) reflected by these beliefs. Then, ask: “What might this look like in an online learning environment?” or “How can I do this when teaching online?” This practice helps us visualize future work as an extension of the classroom, not a replacement. This perspective shift opened my creativity, and my ingenuity began to blossom. I was no longer fearful. I was asking myself questions like; What if? Can we? I wonder? I found myself excited to try new ways of teaching.
Lanny’s post, Beliefs Guide Actions, exemplifies the importance of using your beliefs to guide your transitional teaching.
… if we come to be clear on the things we implicitly believe — about writing instruction, for example — we will likely connect and translate those beliefs into actions, no matter the form “school” takes next year.
No matter where we gather to teach children, the values we have for children and education should not change. Starting with our values, then moving forward with creativity, patience, bravery, and our knowledge of kids, we can give students what they need. We are not experts, but we can work bravely for our students.
I developed my belief statements in 2011, after reading Teaching with Intentions by Debbie Miller (I revised my statements in 2018). These beliefs continue to guide my work. One of my beliefs is: “Learners work best with the support and encouragement of peers or colleagues.”
I have provided a document where we will work to reflect on what we believe about education, our current practice, and transitioning these practices to meet our current teaching environment. I am also hosting a virtual meeting where we can come together to support, inspire, and grow our practice.
Begin by typing your beliefs into the clouds. Then, consider your classroom practices. What was in place that reflects these beliefs. List these practices on the leaves on the left. Now, keeping the core belief of these practices intact, envision how these practices might look in an online teaching environment. Record these ideas on the leaves on the right.
(See directions below on how to type in the document).
Click on the image. Once the link opens click “make a copy.” After you make a copy double click where there’s text to add your belief statements, practices, and what you envision in your online classroom.
Once completed, save the document as a PDF ( Go to File>Download>PDF Document .pdf) or take a screenshot. Now, share your work on the “Yes, And… Teaching Online,” Padlet. Please type in your name or Twitter handle as the title of your Padlet post. See example below.
I believe we work best with the support and encouragement of others. If you would like to deepen this work please join me and other educators in a virtual meeting on Sunday, August 16th at 8:30 pm EST.!
Complete the form below, for your personal invitation.
I hope you found the interactivity of the post helpful.
I hope you and all of your friends and family safe and healthy.
3 thoughts on “Belief Statements: The Breadcrumbs of Teaching Near and Far”
Thank you, Deb. This kind of reflection is such a great way to ground the start of the year–especially when we might be spinning. I appreciate the opportunities embedded here to make our beliefs public and to collaborate.
I agree Margaret! My hope in setting the post up in this way was for teachers to think about how they could do this with kids!
Deb, this is a great idea for connecting us. I think it would make a great activity to get students to do as well.
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