Practicum Fall 2015
“Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace.” – Confucius
I believe in social justice and empathy having a strong presence in the classroom. Throughout my career as both a student and a professional, I have been continuously drawn to people who strive to seek perspectives other than their own in order to garner deeper understandings of others’ point of view and value all that equality has to offer. By embracing and exploring social justice and equality in the classroom, students are provided a safe space where they can explore these topics that are often thought of as sensitive and confusing. Through the development of these topics, students can be better prepared to enter the real world and interact with other individuals in more understanding and compassionate ways.
I believe in a creative curriculum that incorporates different types of learning and is scaffolded to all students’ needs and abilities. Schools should be havens where students look forward to going everyday, where learning is a coveted experience and knows no boundaries. I believe that a creative curriculum that engages students in hand-on learning through all of the senses provides moments of understanding for all. By incorporating creative curriculum, learning no longer needs to resemble what Paulo Freire calls “the banking method,” but can be an enriching experience where students are active agents in their own learning. Creative curriculum is also more flexible, allowing for more scaffolding for students who may need more assistance than others, whereas transactional curriculum views learning as one-size fits all.
I believe that students have as much to offer in the classroom as the teacher. Our students enter our classrooms everyday with their own unique experiences. To deny these experiences in our classrooms is to deny the child, which is ultimately a disservice to our students, our schools and ourselves. By allowing students to share their experiences, their prior knowledge, and their understandings, we can actively embrace our students for who they are. Through this embrace, we are providing ourselves and our entire class with other sources of information, creating room for deeper discussions and inquiry to take place.
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” – Mother Theresa
I believe that every classroom should be centered around the themes of social justice and empathy. These two topics are participatory; they cannot be learned solely from the pages of a book nor from a how-to instructional video on the internet, students must apply themselves if they seek to understand what it means to be empathetic and socially just. Through this focus on social justice and empathy, classrooms strive to encourage the equality of all individuals and often give a voice to those who are usually silent.
A classroom lacking the aspects of social justice and empathy could have dire consequences on our society. Since students spend much of their time in the presence of teachers, it is our duty to inform our students about the harsh realities of the world. It is also our duty to inspire our students to be the change that the world needs to see by developing their understandings of social justice and empathy. This can be accomplished by providing our students with the tools they will need when facing those harsh realities on their own, such as critical thinking, perspective taking, and the ability to rationalize to name a few.
My goal is to base classroom curriculum on a foundation of social justice and empathy as a way of insuring that students understand the importance of these two subjects. By providing the tools necessary along with this solid foundation, students can better interpret the world while also being able to better reflect on the self.
“Where there is no vision, there is no hope.” – George Washington Carver
English is a disciple that has endless learning opportunities, but the ability to shape and mold those opportunities into a curricular vision that is both engaging and balanced is one that requires not just the mind, but the heart.
I believe that curricular vision should encompass more than the textual aspects of a classroom and should strive to incorporate empathy, social justice, and open-minded practices. Students spend roughly around 35 hours a week in the presence of teachers, making us a huge influence in our students’ lives. As such, it is our duty as teachers to ensure that students receive not only intellectual growth, but mental and emotional growth as well. As educators, we should strive to teach the entire student, not just the intellect. The heart of the student is no less important and should thus be given as much attention as the brain.
By incorporating aspects into the classroom curriculum that focus on enriching the heart of a student, such as empathy and social justice, we can make current curriculum that focuses on knowledge acquisition that much richer. A curriculum that ignores the heart denies our students of the opportunity of receiving a well-rounded and diverse learning experience. This is why having such an engaging and balanced curricular vision is of the utmost importance, not only for ourselves as educators, but for our students as well.
Nicole M. Ellison
1300 Berkshire Ct. #203 Phone: (402) 216-7355
Lincoln, NE 68505 firstname.lastname@example.org
Master of the Arts in Education Completion: August, 2016
Emphasis: Secondary English Teaching University of Nebraska – Lincoln
Bachelor of the Arts University of Nebraska – Lincoln
Major: English Major: History
Praxis Status Completed Praxis I and Praxis II
Related Experiences in Education
Pius X High School Lincoln, NE January – Present, 2016
- Working with two sections of freshmen with a full range of abilities including a student with an orthopedic impairment and an ELL student
- Guiding students through the process of researching, developing, and writing a research paper
- Developed and implemented unit over poetry ranging from Naturalism to Renaissance
- Will devise and co-teach unit on Romeo and Juliet
- Working with three sections of sophomores with average abilities
- Devised unit on Julius Caesar involving the use of multimedia and alternate assessments
- Developed interactive timeline about the events listed in Julius Caesar
- Guiding students through the process of developing and writing an argumentative paper
- Will co-formulate unit on To Kill a Mockingbird
Lincoln East High School Lincoln, NE August – December, 2015
Composition, Grade 12
- Observed and taught one section of 11 students with varied abilities, learning needs, and cultural backgrounds, including two students with Aspergers, one student diagnosed with dyslexia, one student diagnosed with an Emotional Disturbance, one student diagnosed as Behaviorally Disordered, and one student with a Specific Learning Disability
in a Composition class
- Created units on narrative and expository writing, incorporating multimedia aspects including artwork, music, short stories, and film clips
- Developed mini units covering grammar, peer editing, discussion, and listening
- Assisted students one-on-one who were in need of extra support
- Utilized computers, projectors, Edmodo educational website, Kahoot quizzes, and Google Documents throughout the course
Presented roundtable at 2015 CEHS Student Research and Creative Activity Fair November, 2015
Dean’s List, College of Arts and Sciences, three semesters
ELL Tutor, Lincoln Literacy, Lincoln, NE September – Present, 2016
Volunteer, Nebraska’s GFWC Girls Only Writer’s Workshop November, 2015
Basic speaking skills in French
Computer (Microsoft Office, Internet)
Employee, Part Time Freelance Writer for Adams, Inc. Omaha, NE, 2015 – Present
Employee, Full-Time Head Server/Bartender, Lazlo’s Lincoln, NE, 2012 – 2015
Employee, Part/Full-Time/ Hostess, Upstream Brewing Co. Omaha, NE, 2010 – 2012