Personal

My name is Caryn, and I’m an educator with passions for literacy, discovery-based learning, and figuring out the puzzle that is a child’s mind. Welcome!

chris-and-caryn

I am someone who enjoys spending time with people, but I need my alone time at the end of the day to recharge. I love spending time especially with my family and close friends. I’ve never been one to have many friends, but the few friends I have are very close to me. I like to go on adventures and explore the world around me, whether that is by taking a hike, exploring a city, or something else new and exciting. I love music, both playing (piano) and listening. I enjoy staying active, whether that shows itself through daily exercise or playing volleyball or frisbee with a group of friends every now and then. I am a dog person (and most definitely not a cat person). I try to encourage those with whom I come into contact to always do their best no matter the circumstances.

How Students Learn

Students can learn in a variety of different ways; there is not one “right” way that works 100% of the time to make students learn. I do believe, however, there are philosophies and beliefs that help teachers get closer to helping their students make the most of learning.

Children construct what they know from their experiences. These core ideas and beliefs are what I like to think of as preconceptions. While these preconceptions may not always be accurate, they are still rooted in that child’s experience, so they cannot be denied, but they cannot be affirmed either (to do so would not encourage a growth in learning). Rather than affirming or denying a child’s preconceptions, these core ideas and beliefs can be used as building blocks with which to construct a foundation from which a more accurate and higher level of understanding can be built. Building on a student’s preconceptions requires a different teaching methodology in each content area. For example, in science and social studies, this may look like a structured/guided inquiry 5E lesson. In math, this may take on a structured form of discovering learning, building understanding of mathematical concepts through real-world examples and dilemmas. In reading and language arts, this takes a much more rigid approach, as many phonetic-type concepts must be directly modeled rather than purely discovered. While it is important that the act as a guide to learning no matter the content area, the method of instruction must match up to the characteristics of the content area. At times, certain situations may call for inquiry-based learning and discovery, whereas in other situations, a more direct method of instruction may be necessary. No matter the principle, a student’s learning must always be authentic, meaningful, and relevant.

Philosophy of Education

To put things quite generally, I might describe my philosophy of education as taking a constructivist approach. One of my core beliefs about learning is that learning happens at the deepest level when meaning has been constructed before it is instructed. This core belief reaches into every facet of education.

Every student has unique abilities and gifts and every student shares an incredible potential to learn. It is my job, as an educator, to help each student unlock his or her potential and realize it for him or herself. I want to not only instill content area values in my students, but I also want to mentor my students to become critical thinkers, engaged in what is at hand and respectful of those around them. It is my goal to mentor my students into becoming life-long learners with a spirit of curiosity towards the world around them. It is my purpose as an educator to empower and challenge my students to reach their highest potential.

This is generally done in a traditional classroom, but I believe it should not be limited to these four walls. Not only does learning occur at the deepest level when it is constructed, but it is made meaningful when it is authentic. I cannot limit my students to the four walls of the classroom while attempting to practice authentic instruction at the same time.

Education is not just an opportunity for my students to construct meaning and learn authentically, but it is an opportunity for me, as their educator, to learn from my students, to experience learning through their eyes, and to build on each year of experience to make the next year even better.