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July 12, 2021

40.0 The Independent Teacher: Strategies for Teaching in Low Resource Environments

40.0 The Independent Teacher: Strategies for Teaching in Low Resource Environments
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Jennifer Gonzales, Chair of the Board of Directors at the Rhoades Education Foundation

Top Tips to being independent and use anything as a teaching resource

  • Find ‘everyday’ objects as teaching tools
  • Scaffold with these objects
  • Adapt, to engage students
  • Create your own “portable classroom” (box of tools)
  • Check for ‘cultural appropriateness’ of items
  • Look at everything as a learning tool
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Jennifer GonzalesProfile Photo

Jennifer Gonzales


Jennifer Gonzales is an independent teaching and learning consultant working in K-18 environments. She has over 20 years of experience mentoring and coaching educators and administrators through individual and systems-wide professional change initiatives related to assessment, instructional approaches to inclusion, continuous professional development, and school-wide behavior supports. She has worked with indigenous populations throughout the United States to promote learner-centered primary education that respects cultural practices using data to guide instructional decisions, and strategies to implement a whole-child approach to learning. In Tennessee, she worked with rural and urban schools to facilitate full inclusion models for students with disabilities, build district-wide positive behavior support systems, and train educators on using assessment and research to improve classroom instruction. Jennifer has also developed and administered a graduate teacher education program for art educators at Memphis College of Art and ran Number: Inc., a regional non-profit and contemporary art publication distributed throughout the Southeastern U.S. While living and working in Namibia, she trained teachers and education officials in learner-centered approaches to literacy instruction and methods for implementing the National Continuing Professional Development program. One of her greatest achievements in Namibia was leading a $74,000 State Department pilot program to train Teachers, Peace Corps Volunteers, and Senior Education Officers to implement learner-centered literacy strategies for primary English Second Language learners in low-resource environments. As an English Language Specialist and Fellow with the U.S. State Department Office of English Language Programs, she collaboratively led the development of two textbooks for the Ministry of Education in Djibouti. Jennifer approaches all education development through a lens of literacy, social justice, accessibility, and creative problem-solving.