Saturday, September 8, 2018

Belief Statements: Time for Reflections & Revisions




Being intentional and purpose-driven is crucial in teaching and learning.

When I first read this, back in January 2011, I sat down to figure out where I was going; the vital work of teaching children cannot be left to chance.  

A Flashback to January of 2011
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.
Jump ahead seven years, my second year, no longer a classroom teacher, but now an instructional technology coach. I work in two elementary buildings, expanding the opportunity to influence more students through the work I do in collaboration with their teachers. I sat down to reflect and revise my path; important work like this can’t be left to chance.

I wondered:

  • Are my belief statements still relevant?
  • Am I holding true to them?
  • Should I revise them?  
  • Did my move to technology/coach change my belief statements?
  • As a coach, am I following my belief statements?
With these questions, my current role's responsibilities, and a year’s learning at the front of my mind, I reread and revised my belief statements.

My revisions are in green, the color of growth.

  • Teachers and students have a powerful influence on how children feel about learning,
    Click here to view larger
    their peers, and themselves.

  • Learners perform best when they have a sense of ownership.

  • Learners need choice in their learning and time to practice new learning.
  • Learners work best with the support and encouragement of colleagues.
  • Learning environments Classrooms are most effective when they reflect the thinking of the learners, are organized, positive, and responsive to the learner’s needs.
  • A framework, which incorporates a gradual release of responsibility, is a most an effective teaching model.
  • Ongoing assessment informs good teaching.
  • Learning is more powerful and transformative when it is authentic and extends outside of the classroom.

As I read through these statements, making revisions, I realized, coaches, teachers, and students are learners. So I changed students to learners to include the coaches, teachers, and students.

Next, I added students to those who influence children in the classroom. Students are influential members of the classroom, they are the community.

Learning is powerful, not more powerful, but powerful. When teaching is responsive to the learner and effects life inside and outside of the classroom, it’s transformative.

As I read the final revision, I had an 'Aha momment." The work I have been doing with students and in my professional development had paved the way to my current role; working as a technology coach and a co-author on the blog, Two Writing Teachers. I have been gifted with the opportunity to share what I have learned and experienced with a broader audience. Learning to integrate technology into my classroom presented opportunities I had not imagined possible, it was truly transformative to the students and me, I guess I’d say, to the learners.

The Transformation Technology Brought to Our Classroom:

  • The intentional use of technology allowed the learners to learn about others and themselves.
  • As students learned about the purpose of traditional and digital tools they began to take ownership of the work they did and how they worked. Students discovered their learning preferences and passions.
  • The ability to meet learners where they are (through the use of digital tool features) allowed all learners to feel successful and confident in their work. Digital tools have the potential to level the playing field for all learners.
  • The connections and collaborations made possible with technology-enabled learners to experience the world in more personable and relatable ways.
  • The learners developed empathy as they learned about others and their perspectives.
As I read through this list today, I am struck by how the digital tools taught the students to be reflective. Having tools available, changed the ways students could work to understand content, other human beings, and demonstrate learning. Digital tools brought students new opportunities.


Students weren’t forced to figure out how to do something using pencil and paper. Instead, students were choosing the tools that would match how they wanted to work. I was also struck by how digital tools, tools that are often thought of as isolating interactions, actually connected us. With the use of collaborative tools, we connected with students and teachers around the world. We shared our lunches, our recess games, and books with each other. We became friends.

Learning is powerful and transformative when it extends outside of the classroom indeed. Isn’t this why we are here today? To reach beyond our classrooms, to learn and grow together, to be better for our learners, our communities, and ourselves?  

What are your belief statements? How are you intentional and purpose driven? What path are you paving?






Post a Comment