I am relentlessly optimistic, a trait which empowers me as an educator. This optimistic frame of mind has helped me approach adversity with grace and agility, especially in the face of COVID-19. Education is rapidly evolving to respond to safety concerns for teachers and students. Entering the 2020-21 school year, I have spent considerable time pondering how to successfully toggle between socially distant, in-person classrooms and virtual classrooms. Based on my research and work with teachers around the globe who have taken coursework with Moreland University, I have discovered that teachers’ mindsets profoundly impact our ability to be effective facilitators of learning in any circumstance. As part of a larger growth mindset, teachers must embody creative problem solving and perseverance as we enter the fall semester. Why do mindsets matter? How does our mindset impact student outcomes?
How I empowered students to be advocates and 21st-century communicators
As a Spanish teacher in Title I public schools in Washington, D.C. and Vista, California, I served students who faced obstacles in life as a result of socio-economic status, race, sexuality, gender, origin, language background, and ability level. Systems of inequality and oppression surrounded my students so that their success was an uphill battle for which they were unprepared. My schools leveraged extracurricular programs to help students become self-advocates and leaders through after-school programs, learning extension, arts integration, and community partnerships. However, I wondered how I impacted students through teaching and learning: As their Spanish teacher, how did I provide access to learning opportunities that promoted self-advocacy and civic engagement? How did I help my students become successful global citizens and respectful communicators?
Strategies to facilitate engaging, impactful, and relevant online classes
Education endures even when school buildings close. Classrooms across the world feel the impacts of COVID-19 as students and teachers face the challenge of creating community and facilitating learning virtually. In the wake of this global pandemic, educators search for ways to create student-centered learning environments characterized by engagement and motivation. To foster a virtual classroom culture of student-led collaboration and creative problem-solving, teachers must identify and leverage...
The 2019 California Language Teacher Association conference was a blast! I thoroughly enjoyed networking with so many passionate and driven teachers, both in my own 6-hour training and in the conference in general. This year, I gave a full-day session titled, "Creating a 100% Student-Centered Classroom - Interactive Workstations" and provided teachers with opportunities to experience learner-led learning for themselves. After spending all morning in a classroom-like environment in which participants worked through a series of five workstations, we spent the afternoon discussion our findings and questions, as well as working on developing out own student-centered learning environments. Participants started the afternoon in a whole-group discussion, and then ended by writing norms for student-led work and drafting workstations to take back to their classrooms.
Below, take a look at the slides from my presentation to get a better idea of how we spent the day. Additionally, click here to access the instructional materials participants got to try in our hands-on instructional experience.
2019 CLTA Session on Workstations - Virtual Activity
Take a look at some samples of teaching and learning through student-centered small groups. I have included sample videos from both primary and secondary contexts. Through the lens of autonomous student-centered learning in the world-language classroom, consider the following questions:
Check out my latest conference presentation under the "Presentation and Publications" heading! Click here to see the resources and content of my talk on metacognition in the target language. Thanks to all who attended and participated in my presentation in Anaheim.
The culminating celebration of our great success in 2018 was a community-based Mexican Posada on December 16th, 2017.
I passed my classes and have completed the required final portfolio in order to earn a Master of Science in Education from Johns Hopkins University.
As I work toward developing the perseverance and drive to achieve my goals, I am reading Grit by Angela Duckworth. My biggest learning so far has been the importance of identifying and defining my inner compass, "...the thing that takes you some time to build, tinnier with, and finally get right, and then that guides you on your long and winding road to where, ultimately, you want to be" (p. 60). I use this compass to set goals, plan my daily actions, and reflect.