Hope Reflection: H5

H5: Honor student potential for roles in the greater society
My understanding of this standard means providing engaging lessons and units that support the development of skills relevant and relatable to the lives students will lead outside of the classroom. Accomplishing this includes explaining to students the ways in which the learning they are doing within the classroom connects to life in “the real world.” My goal is not only to provide a scholastic education, but also to provide students with access to lessons that encourage them to consider who they are and how they fit in and contribute to the world around them.
During my internship, before I began teaching a unit on debate and persuasive writing and speaking, I crafted a course rationale to provide students with this information. In the course rationale, I explain how the various skills I would teach within this debate unit, would center on developing civic awareness and navigating difficult social issues in the hopes that students would have the opportunity to engage in a more equitable, democratic society. As supported by IDEA, my rationale explains: “debate inherently ‘teaches the principles of tolerance, nonviolence and respect for different points of view’ (IDEA). Training in open-mindedness and the patient and purposeful consideration of varying perspectives is essential to developing well-informed opinions and views.” After presenting this to my students, I learned how crucial it is to be explicit about the purpose behind the lessons I teach, to establish credibility with students by providing authentic learning opportunities and activities.

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Additionally, this perspective provides a self-check for me as an educator: if I cannot explain to students why what we are learning matters, I should rethink why I’ve chosen to teach that lesson in the first place. Too often students have this conception that high school is simply a hoop they must jump through before getting to “real life”—there is this major gap between what happens inside the classroom and what happens outside of the classroom and my goal and next steps include closing that gap. When students understand the value, significance, and “real-life” application for skills and content they are learning, they are increasingly more likely to be engaged in the classroom and to apply skills learned, to contribute and fulfill roles outside of the classroom.

Works Cited: IDEA. “WHY DEBATE?” International Debate Education Association. 2011. Web. Idebate.org

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