Tuesday’s Teaching Tip – Reflect on Your Beliefs Debbie Miller Style

As teachers, we stand on the shoulders of all of the greats who have gone before us.  In Tuesday’s Teaching Tips this year, we will feature great ideas…both old and new…from some of the greatest teachers of all times.  This week, we have a tip from the amazing Debbie Miller.

In Debbie’s book, Teaching With Intention, she talks about the importance of writing down and reflecting on our beliefs as a teacher of reading.  In her book, she quotes Shelley Harwayne in saying that…“Classroom practice must be based on richly understood and deeply held beliefs about how children learn to read.”  With that in mind, Debbie urges all teachers to write down their “deeply held beliefs about how children learn to read,” and to reflect on them regularly.  Then, they will guide you in making your teaching great!

As we write this, it is January and just as we  set personal goals for the new year, it is also the perfect time to reflect on our beliefs, so that we can go forth and teach confidently for the rest of the year. As Debbie always asks her students….”Are you up for the challenge?”   If you are, it will help you learn about yourself as a teacher, and improve your practice.

And just in case you are wondering what Debbie’s beliefs are…here you go!

  • “Classroom environments are most effective when they are literate and purposeful, organized and accessible, and, most of all, authentic.”
  • “We cannot underestimate the power of our influence-what we choose to say and do in the classroom profoundly affects the ways children view their teacher, themselves, and each other.”
  • Learning is maximized when the lessons I design are purposeful, interactive and engaging, with real world applications.”
  • The gradual release of responsibility instructional model, integrated into a workshop format, best guides children toward understanding and independence.”  (Pearson and Gallagher in The Instruction of Reading Comprehension)
  • Formative, ongoing assessment enlightens and informs my day-to-day work with children.
  • A workshop format based on the elements of time, choice, response and community fosters active, responsive teaching and learning. (Hansen in When Writers Read)
So give it a try!  And if you want to learn even more from this fantastic teacher, check out Debbie’s books, Reading With Meaning, and Teaching With Intention.  Both are available on Amazon. 

Happy Teaching!

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