"It is my mission to ensure that all students succeed through a combination of rigorous academic study and experiential learning opportunities that engage, challenge, and inspire them to achieve their educational and professional goals."
All students are capable of learning and have the capacity to succeed. However, not every student learns in the same way. Whether it’s Howard Gardner’s eight multiple intelligences (2003), Kolb’s experiential learning styles (2005), or simply visual, auditory, or kinesthetic all students can excel when taught in a manner that fits their preferred mode of learning.
Differentiation is a proven way to reach all students. When teachers differentiate instruction they are putting multiple and varying learning styles into practice in their classrooms. It requires careful thought, planning, and patience. Differentiation varies instruction for not just struggling students but also students that are right on track and students that are high-achievers. All three groups of students need particular and special attention that cannot be given by a one-size-fits-all approach.
Differentiation involves more than just varied instructional strategies and techniques. It also requires alternate forms of assessment designed to engage, challenge, and motivate students. Making sure that each assessment meets the learning goals is key. This requires clear, specific and measurable outcomes and objectives for student learning. The outcomes ensure that regardless of the form of assessment, or the products that students produce, that it will demonstrate the degree to which students have met the learning goals.
These outcomes must be based on practical, authentic, and real-world skills. Students don’t have to ask, “When will I ever use this?” if they can see the direct connections an outcome has to their lives and future careers. For example, in the field of audio engineering there are direct links between Algebra and Ohm’s Law, which is a fundamental concept in the industry. When two sometimes-separate fields have overlapping content and application student learning and engagement improves.
This connection across disciplines requires a high level of rigor and an appropriate amount of relevance. This is the backbone of an outcome-based 21st century education. It is the heart of preparing students for their future careers and combines a traditional theoretical education with laboratory, hands-on, and experiential learning. It is my belief that a rigorous and relevant education is the best combination for inspiring, engaging, and motivating students to reach their educational and career goals.