Annabel D’Souza

Chemistry Teacher
Secondary School for Journalism

My Teaching Philosophy

I believe that learning is a negotiation of ideas and an exploration of experiences that students engage in with each other and with their community to arrive at a truth about the universe. To facilitate this endeavor teachers should provide opportunities for students to not only learn academic content but also grow in the skills needed to access and assess that content. This requires intentional planning, modeling, scaffolding, practice of skills, and consistent feedback and teachers should provide these opportunities to tap into that potential.

Building Block Spotlight: Personal Mindset

Chemistry is often very challenging to many students but I have found that students are much more successful when they are simultaneously developing Personal Mindset skills. Students exhibit growth mindset when they state, ‘this is hard, but I will try again’ or when students in my chemistry class ask me ‘Can I correct and resubmit this class assignment for a higher grade?’ This shows perseverance and a keen focus on improving.

What I'm Working on

  • Building student reflection routines and protocols into the daily learning.
  • Creating targeted tools to support students and iterating the tools with specific feedback from students.
  • Giving targeted feedback on targeted skills in addition to content skills. For example, I would say I like how you annotated the text and I noticed that you were highly focused in the first 10-minutes because you were able to get through 4 questions already.
  • Developing, discussing, and implementing rubrics to assess students as they are mastering the targeted skills. I found that students did better when they knew what the skill looked like at different levels and worked on personally improving small behaviors to move up a level.
  • Developing model scenarios for expected behaviors of the targeted skills. I learned that some teachers in the Fellowship are effective in modeling the criteria for the behavior and skills with scenarios, role plays and discussions. They have seen higher student engagement and understanding as a result. I would like to learn more about developing this skill.