Erin Fleischauer

ESL and History teacher
Brooklyn International High School

My Teaching Philosophy

My teaching philosophy reflects the five core principles of the International’s Approach developed by the Internationals Network of Public Schools. I seek to create opportunities for learning where students collaborate in heterogeneous groups. I believe students need to draw from personal experiences in order to stay motivated and that they need to have opportunities to apply their skills in projects that take them outside the classroom. I believe that they learn English as they describe their experiences and as they take on meaningful responsibilities in project-based work. Finally, the principle of one learning model for all is key for me, because it forces me to confront the same challenges my students do: to trust that collaboration is a vital part of improving my practice and to find the balance in managing my responsibilities in my collaborations with others.

Building Block Spotlight: Collaboration, Social Awareness

In my experience there is a chicken and egg relationship between collaboration and social awareness and I’m interested in how these two skill sets support each other. Typically I see students who are respectful of themselves and each other having an easier time working together effectively, but I have also been surprised to see a strongly collaborative group provide effective support for a student whose social awareness is less developed. I try to support students in both skills by structuring groups so that they can choose a way to work together that works best for them and by helping students find ways to help each other without doing the work for each other. Author Mo Willems says his motto is “to always think of your audience and never for your audience” and I try to model the same with students.