H1 – Honor student diversity and development. To me, H1 means respecting each of my students for who they are as a person and helping them to grow.
Because I teach at an international school, my students and their backgrounds are very diverse. Through my coursework and preparing for edTPA, I have been learning to incorporate student background and interest into my lesson plans. This helps to engage my students with the content material and honor their experiences as they share them with the class.
In one of my lesson plans, I am introducing my students to the nervous system of different animals. I begin by asking them, “Who has a pet dog?” Many of them raise their hand and I will ask them their dogs’ names. I choose one of these dogs as an example of what this dog does as he hears a car pull into the driveway. The response of the dog is all about the interaction of his nervous system. When I began the lesson this way, the students were immediately engaged and enjoyed learning about their classmates’ dogs. I then continued to use this as an example throughout the lesson as we learned about the 3 types of neurons and their interaction with one another. Below is an excerpt from this lesson plan.
I learned that using personal examples or experiences from my students engages them in the lesson and content. It helps them to relate what they are learning in the classroom to their personal lives and so increases the potential for retaining this information. I will continue to use this strategy for classroom instruction.