Although my teaching philosophy is constantly changing, I have noticed that I place a large amount of value on experiential learning, and the inquiry approach. I was a skeptic at first when I heard of teaching through inquiry; however, once I implemented it throughout my pre-internship, it was evident that experiential learning and the inquiry approach are beneficial. I believe there should be a balance between traditional teaching methods and the inquiry approach; however, I believe each day the students should be active in their learning, whether it be through group work, hands on activities, or full on exploration of mathematical topics. When students are active in their learning, they are not only understanding the mathematical concepts, but they are finding a way to remember it as well. When students are simply writing notes and working on assignments, they won’t necessarily be able to remember what they wrote a month from that day; however, when students are discovering, exploring, and are active in their learnings, they will remember that for a long period of time. For example, in my pre-internship, one of the first days I did a surface area lesson where students had to calculate the surface area of a composite object, and they had to wrap it in wrapping paper. This activity was hands on and the students were active in their learning. When I asked students on the last day of pre-internship which activities they enjoyed the most, many of them mentioned this surface area activity because it was hands on. For this reason, I realized that student end up remember the hands on and active lessons, as opposed to the more direct teaching lessons.
I also place a great amount of value on inclusion of all students. I believe that all students should have the opportunity to learn and that we need to make accommodations and adaptations to our lessons to fit our students’ needs. By making accommodations and adaptations for my students, I will be aiding in their learning, and I will be helping them reach their full potential. I taught two diverse groups of students during my pre-internship and I had to make several accommodations and adaptations for these students. I had one student who would not participate in any activities and would just sit in her desk and draw. When I was teaching an enlarging and reducing scale diagrams lesson, I allowed her to draw her own picture and then reduce it or enlarge it, which got her involved in the learning activity while still allowing her to do her own thing. I also allowed a student to perform an oral test instead of a written test for they were not capable of writing their thoughts down in a neat way. Finding ways to include all students in the learning activity is something I will continue to focus on throughout my education.