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Teaching Statement 1

Teaching Statement
Matt DePalma
Teaching Statement 2

The following statement has been drafted after years of studying and developing a

passion for social studies that began as a child and has fueled my desire to become a

teacher. I firmly believe that teaching students the history of man and our country is a

necessary requirement for children to become citizens of the United States. I believe social

studies acts as a vehicle to educate and impact the future of our world.

One of the major goals of teaching social studies is for students to become equipped

with skills in reading and writing to best critically think about the world around them. My

experience has led me to a methodical approach utilizing a socially reconstructed

curriculum for students to best understand, think critically, and challenge the ideas of

yesterday and tomorrow through the study of different civilizations.

Learning through experience best occurs when a student can confront a real social

crisis and participates in the construction of a solution to that crisis. Vygotsky’s social

constructivist theory has influenced my teaching style and led me to develop lesson plans

that include role playing of historical events that have students actively engaged through

modeling behavior of historical people or events. One of my favorite lesson plans that helps

students “connect” to their world is the mock trial of a court case, where students take over

their education developing ideas of how to prosecute and defend, as well as understand the

roles and processes of the United States court system. As students construct their own

identities of what it means to be a lawyer, a defendant, or even a judge, my role as the

teacher is to facilitate the learning process, not to dominate it.

Through inquiry, my students will run the class; their exploration of these roles will

aid them to better understand the past and become engaged in the learning process. My
Teaching Statement 3

open mindedness to different points of views of my students as well as my extensive

research of social studies is critical in forming a democratic education, allowing for a

comfortable space for different opinions to proliferate. All of my students are valuable,

whether they have learning disabilities or they become the valedictorian. Every single

student in my classroom will share in the same success. My students are at the forefront of

each lesson plan, for example, they may want to read about WWII, or have discussion of

controversial topics such as Japanese internment camps in America and my curriculum will

make sure that student’s wishes are taken into consideration.

I have dealt with many challenges in teaching history. Students may have a difficult

time making connections and relating to the material. I have developed a strategy for this,

which is for students to write opinions of what they think at the end of each class for me to

gauge their learning as well as develop their writing. By emphasizing history as a

“collection of small stories” and assessing each epoch of history separately, my students are

able to focus on small aspects at a time on a biweekly reinforcement schedule through

various exercises including formal tests, essays, group projects and their personal

reflections to classes. This allows me to evaluate the learning process of each topic and

measure students’ ability to read and write as well as their content knowledge. At the end

of the day, my goals as an educator are for my students to become better readers and

writers while using social studies as the content to develop their skills in order to enter our

democratic society, with the ability to be able to critically think and evaluate the world

around them.