The candidate uses understanding of differences in individuals, cultures, and communities to ensure inclusive learning environments that enable each learner to meet rigorous standards.
As an educator, I recognize the differences and strengths of my students and their backgrounds, and build my lessons to create an inclusive learning environment. One of the best analogies I have to explain my understanding is by connecting back to my composer roots. Just as every student has their own background and characteristics that they can contribute, so do each instrument. My favorite part about composing was getting to study the history and capabilities of each instrument. I would go talk to professionals of each instrument and take vigorous notes that I still reference today. These conversations informed me of the unique sound qualities instruments can make at different ranges, dynamics, and styles. My job and joy as a composer is to write music for these instruments in a way that highlights their sound and capability, and to write in a way where all musicians contribute to the vision of the piece. My passion about strengths-based creation transfers to my classroom and the students within. One of the unique aspects of teaching college is that my classroom was filled with students from all over the country. Each student came from programs that had differing requirements and standards for success. Some students already had music theory training, while the subject was new to others. I frequently allowed students to share their own understandings through think-pair-share in hopes that one student’s understanding would spark understanding in another student. My lessons were inspired by these student contributions but were also based on evidence of effective pedagogical strategies to reach the most students.
Students will benefit from my experience in this area because my goals as an educator are centered around recognizing and displaying students’ strengths. I am a firm believer that by recognizing your own strengths you can better understand what you value but also where your weaknesses lie. Once students begin this reflective process, they will feel encouraged by how their strengths contribute to the classroom. Success in music can look like many things and it is important for students to understand how their own brilliance makes a difference.