About Ms. Lauren Kroutil...
Position: 2nd & 3rd Grade Specialized Teacher
Email: Ms. Lauren Kroutil
Welcome to our 2nd/3rd grade specialized classroom at CTA! I am thrilled to be your child’s teacher this year!
With each new school year, we welcome new friends to our classroom as well as returning friends. Our classroom will be a safe place where we will discover many interesting things, do amazing projects, and build our confidence as we grow as readers, writers, mathematicians and more. In addition to academics in the classroom, the social-emotional and behavioral needs of your child are the utmost important to me as a special education teacher. Together, we will all learn and teach each other, too!
My Education and Professional Background
Beginning with graduating from a local high school in Gilbert, my educational experiences have been plentiful over the years. I have pursued a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Grand Canyon University and a Master’s Degree in Special Education from Arizona State University. I am currently pursuing a Doctorate in Organizational Leadership and Special Education from Grand Canyon University and am expected to graduate this fall of 2022. My dissertation research study topic is social-emotional learning in high school special education classrooms.
As an educator in a special education classroom, I have had the wonderful opportunity to work with students who have a wide variety of mental, emotional, physical, and specific learning disabilities.
My professional and volunteer-based affiliations include the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), Special Olympics, Arizona Education Association, Psi Chi Honors Society, and Alpha Chi Honors Society.
My Educational Philosophy
Education is the foundation for a child’s future. As a special education teacher, I take pride in my profession as someone who shepherds the future generations. Central to my pedagogy is a focus on the needs of students. I work hard to differentiate learning so that each student’s unique skills are emphasized. My teaching philosophy is strongly influenced by Abraham Maslow’s humanistic approach, and in particular his Hierarchy of Needs. I aim to ensure students’ basic needs are met in the classroom so that they feel happy, comfortable, safe, and welcomed into the classroom. Paying attention to students’ social, physical, emotional, and cognitive development equally helps raise balanced children for the 21st Century. When students’ basic needs are met, they can focus on learning and personal development.
I aspire to create student-centered and co-created learning environments in which the student is in the driving seat of their own learning. I embrace Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development as a key pedagogical tool to ensure all students are taught content that is achievable yet challenging. I love hands-on, partner/group work to facilitate social growth and inquiry skills. I believe that all children, regardless of ability level, have something to give, so I try to provide an environment where all children feel comfortable expressing themselves. I set high standards and high expectations by promoting growth mindsets among my students. All my students know that I expect them to try their hardest and strive for improvement every day.
I also include play in every aspect of our learning day as I can. When students learn by doing rather than listening, they tend to store information in their minds more effectively. This is why I use a play-based learning approach. I create play-based learning situations where students can play in parallel, learn from staff personnel and one another, and make new discoveries through the use of all their senses.
Assessment and progress monitoring are important to me as a teacher as it helps me to measure my own teaching efficacy. I often use students’ assessment results and progress monitoring data to reflect upon how I taught the content, what areas of weakness appeared across a cohort, and how to teach those areas of weakness more effectively.
Students need to become clear and confident communicators of their knowledge. I often create assessments that require students to express themselves in visual and verbal formats to help them develop their communication capacities. I often employ the guided practice of the “I do, we do, you do” method. This approach starts with teacher modeling a practice, but involves the gradual release of responsibility to the student until the student can undertake tasks on their own.
Overall, my goal as a special education teacher is to prepare students to make the transition from grade to grade while developing their academic and social skills, basic life skills, behavioral management, and emotional regulation so that each student can join and contribute as an active and functional member of society.
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