Philosophy of Teaching and Learning
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Students are the heart and soul of education. In my classroom, the student is the first priority. In making everyday teaching decisions and weighty program choices, my first question is always, “What’s in it for the kids?”

I strive for a careful balance between challenging the entire group and meeting the needs of each student as a unique learner. The trusting, supportive, and encouraging environment in my classroom helps maintain this balance.

I value each of my students as a human being with thoughts, ideas, opinions, desires, and needs. It is important to me that the students perceive this value, and accept the responsibilities and freedoms it brings. My students know that they are free to be expressive, emotional, and even opinionated. They also know that I will challenge them to think critically about their own learning, communication, and emotional expression.

I am fortunate to teach in a fine arts classroom, where such expression is both encouraged and expected. Music offers students opportunities and challenges that are unique to the curricular area. Music not only challenges students to think in a different way, but it also helps students develop critical listening, interpretive, and logical thinking skills that are assets in other curricular areas. Through study and performance, my students develop musicianship and literacy skills that serve them for a lifetime.

Education must be student-centered. The student is the impetus for, the direct participant in, and ultimately the beneficiary of the educational process. In the end, both the value and vision of education lie within the students themselves.

Matthew L. Reece

January 18, 2011