My purpose as an educator is to ignite passion for lifelong learning. To do this, I believe educators must create an environment where students actively are challenged and experience satisfaction from conquering those challenges. Music education pushes students in a way that might be unfamiliar, but also pushes them to work with their peers to grow and build a community which creates art and joy. It is my hope that students continue to use the intrinsic motivation and collaboration abilities they have learned through their music education experience as they move forward in their lives.
In my classroom, students will progress towards musical literacy. I use the Gordon methodology of Music Learning Theory, which teaches music literacy similar to how humans become literate in language. I have easily adapted this approach to work with students of all ages and meet the needs of any individual, helping all students to progress towards successful audiation assimilation and music reading ability. This is important in my classroom as music literacy gives students the tools to understand and explore any music they choose to in the future.
I believe creating a classroom culture of respect and support is greatly important. Feeling comfortable in a classroom allows students to feel safe engaging in risk-taking behaviors and growing their musical abilities. I create this rapport amongst students and myself by encouraging them to regularly share out about their lives and by celebrating their successes instead of focusing on their shortcomings. Particularly through my work with Chicago Public Schools and reluctant student musicians, I have learned the value of building relationships and motivating students to take ownership of their learning.
I employ mastery learning as a grading technique in my classroom. This is my chosen assessment format as it places emphasis on mastering a concept, opposed to focusing on numbers in the grade book. Employing formative assessments as a tool for students allows them to see how they are doing on a particular unit and receive valuable feedback. Students can then use these formative assessments to deepen their knowledge and display mastery on the final summative of the unit. I find that focusing energy towards learning a concept and not stressing about small grades along the way makes the learning experience much more successful for students.
Being a music educator, I get to see students step out of their comfort zone and grow in ways that they never imagined possible. Having a successful music program in place so that students can experience that pride and delight through the performing arts is so important. A successful music program fosters musical knowledge and appreciation, commitment to excellence, and personal growth. My students participate in rigorous, high-quality music making while also creating joy. Ultimately, I want my students to create meaningful experiences as individuals and as members of a community with skills that will last them throughout their life.