File - Ms. Kroekenstoel`s Junior Portfolio

S. Kroekenstoel
Belief Statement
Submitted October 10, 2012
I believe that as educators, we must foster the natural abilities and curiosities of our students by
drawing on their strengths and developing their weaknesses. At the Junior level, we must build selfefficacy for success in learning in order to ensure that we build a stable foundation for our students’
futures. In my teaching experience, I have observed students at this age who have very low self-efficacy,
and as a result, little interest in learning in fear of failure. We can learn much from Bruner’s
Constructivist Theory, which describes learning as an active process in which learners construct new
ideas or concepts based upon their existing knowledge (Constructivist Theory (Jerome Bruner), n.d.). As
teachers, we must acknowledge our students’ readiness to learn by ensuring that our instruction is
concerned with the experiences and contexts that make the student willing and able to learn. We must
plan our delivery of the Curriculum according to a spiral organization so that it continually builds upon
what students already know (Constructivist Theory (Jerome Bruner), n.d.). Teachers should ensure that
their lessons are student-centered, by encouraging students to discover principles by themselves and
making students active in their learning. In order to foster students’ natural learning abilities, we can use
Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences (1993). Differences in academic ability, experiences,
motivation, values, attitude, and culture will have important influences on students’ learning (Gardner,
1993). Building self-efficacy for learning is crucial at the Junior level, and we can do so by focusing on the
particular intelligences of each student. Different intelligences represent not only different content
domains but also learning modalities. Therefore, we should be mindful to incorporate not only linguistic
and logical-mathematical approaches to our lessons, but to also create opportunities for learning
through musical, spatial, kinesthetic, intrapersonal and interpersonal styles as well. For educators, this
theory implies that the assessment of learning should also be designed according to students’ multiple
forms of intelligences (Gardner, 1993). In the classroom, we can provide these opportunities in the way
we design our lessons and also by giving students choice on assignments, and varying types of
assessment and evaluation.
I have personally experienced very positive outcomes with my students through this approach.
One recent tutoring experience in particular demonstrates the importance of constructivist learning and
incorporating multiple intelligences. I tutor a Grade 5 girl who has struggled with Science for the past
couple of years. In planning and delivering her tutoring sessions, I ensure that I a) build upon her existing
knowledge by drawing connections and providing examples and analogies, b) make her active in her
learning by incorporating games and computer activities and c) accommodate her learning disability and
identification as a visual learner by providing extra visual representations and schematics. I noticed a
significant increase in her morale and her attitude towards homework and studying, which was evident
when she begged her mother to have an extra tutoring session last week. She recently received her
mark from her first Science test of the year and got 87% - an increase of over 20% from last year.
Gardner, H. (1993). Multiple Intelligences: The Theory in Practice. NY: Basic Books.
Constructivist Theory (Jerome Bruner). (n.d.). In Instructional Design. Retrieved from
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