As a middle school STEM teacher, I feel students learn best through a constructivist teaching approach. Constructivism is an inquiry-based teaching method that offers a student-centered learning community where students work collaboratively together to solve real world problems. I believe that teaching with this type of instruction empowers my students to take ownership of their learning by allowing them to explore problems and uncover solutions.
To be a successful educator, student learning should be the focal point of instruction. For that reason, I consider myself a facilitator rather than a teacher. As a facilitator, I aim to provide my students with the learning tools to construct their own education. For example, I help students find ways to answer their own questions by encouraging them to perform active research, rather than giving them the answer. I also provide guidance and assistance to my students to help them accurately formulate their own hypotheses, discoveries, and conclusions. If one were to walk into my classroom, he or she would find my students working in groups, solving problems through hands-on investigation and technology infusion.
I empower my students by teaching via challenge-based learning. This allows my students to take full ownership of their learning by using their own inquiry in order to problem-solve. They must use the engineering design process in order to overcome their challenges. Students learn how to research to answer their own questions, successfully collaborate with other students, effectively and purposefully use technology, and harness their creativity and critical thinking skills in order to solve the problems that they faced with in the classroom. The experience that my students gain and skills that they build upon will ultimately prepare them to be productive 21st century citizens.