"We do not learn from experience...we learn from reflecting on experience." - John Dewey
I found that this UC San Diego Extension CLAD through CTEL coursework has been interesting, challenging, and rigorous. I began to pursue the fulfillment of my EL requirement in order to cement my Single Subject Music Teaching Credential in the state of CA by studying to pass the CTEL exam on my own. I quickly realized by perusing a study guide that I would get so much more from graduate coursework than I ever would studying just to pass an exam. I definitely made the right choice, for I have grown so much from what I read, processed, and put into practice in the classroom this spring.
I spent weekends and evenings completing my CLAD coursework while teaching music at three school sites in Silicon Valley, navigating the distance learning model for the entire school year through the COVID-19 pandemic, juggling my single mom responsibilities, and conducting a job search. I bonded with my children in our struggles to submit high quality projects on time while attending school entirely online. We stayed up late together in our home office to finish our own respective assignments. Needless to say, it has been a challenging and very intense spring. What better way to encourage excellent student work ethic from my children than to model it myself? Model a relentless work ethic I did, and I'm still standing at the end of it. I feel very confident that I will be able to support ELLs with compassion and positivity in my music classroom and throughout my career as an educator.
I look forward to implementing more cultural inclusivity, support strategies for ELLs, and world music education into my music classrooms this fall. One of my first projects this fall when I teach 5th grade music classes will be one in which I ask students to present to and teach the class a song from their family culture, including any games or traditions that connect with the music. I am excited to learn more about my students, put them in the role of teacher to their classmates, and potentially add some new songs to my World Music file.
I experienced so many aha moments throughout this journey, thanks to my brilliant professors and the thoughtful insights from my cohorts in our discussion boards. I have always loved learning, and this coursework was a happy reminder of that fact! At the same time, classes and deadlines are stressful, especially if and when I fall behind because life happens. Though I don't love everything about being in school, I so enjoy making connections between course materials as well as expanding and opening my mind with new ideas.
One concept that I learned more about in this program has been resonating with me for years -- the concept of Bilingual education. I am disappointed that we don't have more school programs that allow American children to learn English in conjunction with another language, starting from a very young age. I would have loved this opportunity as a child, and I also actively sought out bilingual education for my two children. My daughter attended a Spanish Immersion preschool for two years, for I noticed that she learned English quickly and earlier than her peers. She still has a really good Spanish accent. She is now learning Japanese all on her own using Duolingo and Anime shows she enjoys. She finds Japanese to be a beautiful and poetic language, and I find that watching her pursue language education all on her own inspires me. I wish more students could experience Bilingual education with the support of their schools.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Language and Language Development course. I never took a linguistics course before, and I found myself bringing up thoughts inspired by this class with my family at the dinner table.
Being that I am a Music teacher, I have not and probably never will experience first-hand the process regarding assessment of ELLs. Nonetheless, I like to understand what my students are going through, and I am proud of the education system California has in place to equip our diverse student population with English language fluency.
Throughout my writings and projects for this certificate, I found so many opportunities to reflect on my culture and family of origin. I have written my thoughts and my experiences, and as I did so to complete my assignments, I felt newly connected to my family, my childhood, my love of learning, and my culture. Like me, every student I encounter in my personal and professional life has his/her/their own memories, traditions, and culture to share. The CLAD through CTEL coursework has strengthened my understanding of this truth and made me a better teacher. For that I am so grateful. - Spring 2021
"We should all know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color."