Sun February 11, 2018 Influential Teacher Project – Rowena Navarro The person I chose to interview is one of the most significant mentors in my life: my mother. Although she may not have a professional career in teaching, she is the one who taught me the most, from helping me with math in elementary school to giving me lectures and advice that will help me in the future. She describes her main goal for teaching as making others feel as comfortable as possible by introducing yourself as well as getting to know them better. This is a good way to initiate connection between a teacher and a student, as by doing this the student grasps the teacher’s background and is able to become more sociable with them. I believe that this connection is very important to establish when teachers are first starting to teach in order for students to increase their participation and enable active listening, in which as the term progresses so does the strength of that “teacher-student” bond. Furthermore, she proceeds to add that teachers should first ask the students how much basic information they know about the concepts that will be taught in class so that the teacher can construct an adaptive teaching method that can build on what they know and further their understanding. Students should be able to then relate to the teacher’s methods, based on what they know, and recite what they have just learned. This is a good way of getting students to understand course content, however I believe that it is also of best interest to teach in a way that is creative and forces students to leave their comfort zone; teaching new, difficult concepts to students in a way that they are still able to understand but also making them curious and wanting to learn more. My mother believes that some difficult aspects in teaching would include language barriers, as some students may not speak English as their first language and have difficulty communicating with others, as well as students not being present in the class, in which they are either not engaged with the lesson nor paying attention. While these aspects are indeed difficult for teachers to handle, she also believes that it is the reason why teachers should create a teaching method that adapts to their situation and makes it so that students are still able to learn and progress the same as the rest of the other students. I believe that it is also important to embrace individual traits of each students, using them to help students struggling, both in work and social skills. For example, as discussed in R. M. Hourigan article, the author discusses how invisible students such as Jason may attempt to initiate conversation with fellow students but fail due to their poor social skills. I believe it is important for teachers to tell their students to establish connections with everyone in the class so all the students are comfortable with each other and would have no trouble when it comes for students with poor social skills or bad work habits to reach out to the students who are very sociable and have optimal work habits. When asked what students look for in their teacher, she said patience, as each student in a class may have their own methods of learning. A teacher should be able to understand how difficult it may be for students to finally comprehend a concept taught in class and be patient enough until the students are successful. However, I also believe that patience is also what a teacher can look for within their students. For example, a teacher may have difficulty trying to find a method to convey the knowledge to their class, resulting in students becoming annoyed and seeing their teacher as clueless on how to teach a class or un intelligent enough to lead one. Both teachers and students should realize that they must have faith in each other to overcome their own problems in teaching and learning. To conclude the interview, my mother cares for others by helping them when in need, listening to and acknowledging struggles people may be going through and responding with advice. Working as a nurse, she treats sick patients who are in need almost all the time, which is similar to how teachers work with their struggling students and help them overcome the situation at hand. By doing this, teachers can establish social interaction with their students and learn more about what they are like when they are communicating with others. I believe that this is a good way to find out more about someone who does not speak too much about what they are going through and also a good way for them to vent out their feelings to someone who will understand and are able to relate to. There is only so much we can do for a person to make them feel comfortable and included with others; as stated previously, it is important to establish a good connection with others however to a point that we are not invading their personal space.
Sun March 11, 2018 Student Interviews – Kiarrah Fernandes, Diego Ferry, Robert Araujo The people I chose to interview are some of my closest friends during my high school. Kiarrah Fernandes is currently studying Business at McMaster University, Diego Ferry studying Architecture at Ryerson university, and Robert Araujo, who is enrolled in a co-op program with the Police Force at Humber College. These people all do have some general knowledge in music, however chose not to pursue it post-secondary. Throughout the course of each interview, I noticed that there were a few similarities in the answer of each person. One similarity was that they all believed that music is as difficult as other program. When asked how they would compare regular academic education to music education, all answers they gave were similar in which they were of the same difficulty however demonstrated in a different way, appearing to be on a lower level than others, where music education is more applicable as to more memory-based learning. I also can agree with this, as I believe that teaching music education is almost identical to regular learning where teachers use a constructive teaching method that adapts to the learning styles of each student and that it is simply a matter of the subject being taught in the class. What I think makes music education different from the rest of the different fields of study would be how music, like other forms of art, is a way for students to not only help them focus while working or studying, but also helps relieve stress as well as relax which was also a similarity in the answers I received from the interview. I think music is a fun, interesting subject that brings out the creativity and imagination in students, in addition to a good way to break off from the intense, vigorous subjects such as science and mathematics. Furthermore, even without any musical background, others are able to connect to the same emotions and feel the same atmosphere being omitted. For instance, each person I interviewed, when asked about what they think the best part about music was, all responded the same with how music is a way to express different emotions that can be interpreted by others. I think that feeling and expression are important components for creating music and enhance personal contemplation and reflection. In other words, coming from people in different fields of study, we are able to grasp a basic idea of how music is perceived within society, regardless of how much experience we may have compared to others. As stated by all in the interviews, including myself, we all shared the same reason why we chose to pursue our field of study, as it was all in our interests and life goals we all made for ourselves to complete. What I also observed during my interviews were that there are also some differences amongst them. For example, I think that some of the answers had varied in terms of their musical experience. When I asked if they would take the opportunity to study music formally, Kiarrah, who was a fellow band member within my high school wind ensemble and was enrolled in music all four years, explained how she was very interested and inspired by it and would have pursued music post-secondary if she knew exactly what to do with her music degree, or at the very least taken a minor, and see what would be possible career choices. Robert, when asked the same question, responded that it would be interesting to learn an instrument but not necessarily its theoretical or historical aspects of it. Robert had taken lessons in guitar during his childhood, but stopped as it seemed to him that he did not think he was improving in terms of his playing. I am able to relate to both their perspectives as while music can be very compelling, it also requires hard work; to take the time to practice your instrument on a daily basis as well as having to learn about theory and history is not an easy task. What I took away from doing this interview would be that everyone has their own ideas with how they see music: as a career choice, as a way to relieve stress, and many other aspects. It was very interesting to observe these responses and how it was similar and different to others.