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Category: Education Today
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By Tawn Altunova
Student, College of Education

When I think about culturally inclusive teaching, I am reminded about my experiences in elementary school. My teachers really made an effort to know the students, the faculty and staff as well as the community members. They also seemed to be very proficient in what they taught. I remember that I was very engaged and involved in what I was learning because the teachers made the lessons applicable to the ideas and cultural values of the community. The population at my elementary school was quite diverse, and many of my friends spoke a language other than English at home. This did not deter my teachers from establishing authentic relationships with all of the students and their families.

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By Micah Lee
Alumna, College of Education

Legendary is defined as “remarkable enough to be famous; very well known.” I would venture out to say that many individuals have the goal of being legendary in their lifetime or desire to leave a legacy behind. Being legendary can look very different in different occupations. For example, being legendary for a doctor may mean finding that cure or vaccine, or for a detective it could mean solving the case that has been stumping all others. What does legendary look like for a teacher or an educator?

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By Micah Lee
Alumna, College of Education

Homework is something that was once a nightly staple in the average child’s school life, but as ideas change and the world of education progresses, the concept of homework is under the microscope more than ever before, especially at the primary and elementary level.

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By Brandon Juarez, Natalie Anderson and Claire Kelly

Shepherding new teaching professionals or teacher candidates begins with caring for students. Naturally we all began our careers as novice teachers eager to make a difference! The sincere hope found in this flame has not withered or burned out. In fact, one of the best ways to keep the flame burning strong is to guide a new teacher (or soon to be a new teacher) through the entry-level stages of the career. Remember, we were all there once! Moreover, the support and help you provide goes a long way to help prevent mistakes you made when you were in his or her position. The true winners of your support are his or her students.

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By Emily Pottinger
Assistant Professor, College of Education

Education always seems to be a hot topic of conversation. For teachers this is not just a job, but a way of life. It is a calling. Sometimes, it is beneficial to be reminded of why teachers choose to teach. Not only is knowing the “why” important for the students, but it is important for teachers and their practice. Knowing why we do something helps us understand ourselves, can help drive and motivate us and can help us cut out some not-so-healthy practices, habits or clutter in our lives. This got me thinking. Why do my fellow teachers teach? Do they know their “why”? What better way to find out than to ask?

A few colleagues and I had an opportunity to survey some fellow teachers about the reason why they teach. What started like any other survey ended up becoming quite a powerful learning experience. The results were so moving that I was inspired to compile them into a list of the top reasons why teachers do what they do. Read our top ten reasons, share with your fellow teachers and never forget WHY you teach!

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Remember not that long ago, when we worried that technology would distract students and take over teachers’ jobs? It is safe to say those predictions have not come to fruition. Instead, technology is used in classrooms all over the world to enhance learning and engage students, who themselves are digital natives.

Today, everything from instruction to planning to homework assignments can be created and completed online. In addition, the online environment allows students to be more collaborative with peers outside of the school building. Technology also allows students to access information anywhere at any time, meaning they can finish those last minute research projects without worrying about library hours.

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By Dr. Stephanie Knight
Faculty, College of Education

Family involvement may be the strongest predictor of a child receiving a solid education. This extends more importantly to English Language Lerner students who are challenged by language barriers. This home/school partnership with ELL families may be more challenging and it goes well beyond language differences – economic struggle and family mobility are more common within the ELL population.

Also, many ELL families are not familiar with the school system and may be intimidated to speak up. It becomes the responsibility of an educator to empower and engage parents of ELL’s to ensure not only a smooth transition into a new language and the school but also to future success.

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By Ben Vilkas
Faculty, College of Education

In an ever increasingly connected society, it is critical for classroom teachers to create an environment that integrates literacy across all disciplines in a culturally inclusive manner. Primarily, this can be done through the use of thematic instruction that is centered on students’ cultural backgrounds. The effective alignment of Arizona state standards to culturally inclusive activities not only promotes active learning and student engagement but also establishes a love of diversity while at the same time, promoting a spirit of unity.

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By Dr. Mary Ann Manos
Faculty, College of Education

Excellent teaching has many levels. In a single classroom moment, competent teachers make decisions on many aspects and levels of learning. They must adequately judge content, student interaction, curriculum, assessment levels, school policy implementation, legal impact and interpersonal skills all in the same decision.

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