Monday, January 17, 2011

Teaching with Intention by Debbie Miller-2nd reflection~ Belief Statements

This is my second reflection in a series of reflections on Teaching with Intentions by Debbie Miller. 
In chapter 2, Debbie explains her process in developing a set of belief statements to guide her teaching. As I read this I thought about the various building and districts committees where I have worked to develop belief statements but never have I actually thought about what my belief statements might be. I was relieved when Debbie stated,  “I thought this was something someone else did for me.” I was reassured by this sentence. I have been teaching for nineteen years and have certainly developed many ideas about best practice but never had it occurred to me to write my own belief statements. I, like Debbie, thought this was done for me.Debbie explains the process she took establishing her belief statements. Debbie explains, "We are the ones with the unique and wonderful positions to know where our kids have been, where they are now, and where it makes the most sense to take them next." Debbie spent almost a year reading books, articles, research, and talking openly about her teaching in establishing her belief statements. Like Mandy at  Enjoy and Embrace Learning, I found comfort in knowing this isn’t something we can do in quickly.

Here I found the confidence to think about what my belief statements would might be, I need more time to read, reflect and collaborate.  Debbie clearly explains the power of belief statements in the classroom. “When teachers know where they are going they make explicit, intentional teaching decisions.”  How can I continue teaching without my own belief statements knowing I have time, the resources and the knowledge to develop my own?

I think my belief statements might include:

  • Teachers have a powerful influence on how children feel about learning, their peers and school. 
  • Children perform best when they have a sense of ownership. 
  • Children need choice in their learning and time to practice new learning. 
  • Teachers work best with the support and encouragement of colleagues. 
  • Classrooms are most effective when they reflect the thinking of the children, are organized, positive and responsive to the student’s needs. 
  • A framework, which incorporates a gradual release of responsibility, is the most effective teaching model.
  • Ongoing assessment informs good teaching.
  • Learning is more powerful when it is authentic and extends outside of the classroom. 

Collaborating with fellow educators like Cathy at Reflect and Refine, (who I want to thank for encouraging me to challenge myself everyday!) Mandy at Enjoy and Embrace Learning and Julie at Raising Readers and Writers and following great blogs like Am Literacy Log and Creative Literacy, (and so many more I am just beginning to discover!) in addition to my work with the Literacy Connection and joining the blogging community are just my beginning steps in establishing my own belief statements. I hope to continue to read, reflect and collaborate this year as I develop my own belief statements.


  1. What a great list to start with and I like the word, might include. It indicates the beginning of a process. Teachers like children need to experience the process.

  2. Deb,
    I'm enjoying following your blog. It's nice to be able sit down to read, reflect, and absorb your thinking. In the rush of the school day it seems this time is never available. As your "neighbor", I know your classroom reflects all of these things you believe. Your last one, "learning is more powerful when it's authentic and extends outside the classroom" really caught my attention. I think I'm considering this more than ever this year as I've realized how much extending my own learning community has shifted my thinking.


  3. These beliefs statements truly reflect your teaching as you implement and stand by each of these through your daily lessons and activities with the children.