Belief about Teaching and Learning
Life is filled with opportunities to learn and to teach. At times it is hard to define the fine line between these two processes. Our daily experiences are constantly shaping the way we view life and make us reflect and assimilate on new skills, ideas and situations. There are several methods of teaching as also there are many paths for learning. It is extremely important to understand how they both work in symbiosis. The more we learn about the learning process, the better we may teach. However, we must always remind ourselves that this process never ends. We are all lifelong learners. Our background knowledge may set the stage for new acquisitions ant this will constantly be nourished by enriching and motivating experiences. Inquiry and curiosity feeds the need to learn. On the other hand teaching is fuelled by a desire and passion to open the world of knowledge to all of those interested in growth.
Beliefs about students, knowledge
Every person has background knowledge to build from. As we discover and explore new experiences, these shape our understanding of the world around us and induce us into making more connections and discovering new possibilities. Students are a precious gift that we encounter in the teaching process. It is our job to know their strengths and weaknesses, their desires and fears, how they learn best and what type of environment will hinder their learning process. We must respect students needs and become a keen observer of what motivates and engages each one of them. All humans are different and we must make sure our teaching reaches each person.
What is worth knowing
In today?s fast changing world we may find that is hard to identify a clear set of skills that will benefit all. There is however, a few skills that we must keep in mind when we think of developing students prepared for the 21st. century. The ability to problem solve, apply critical thinking, skills, creativity, flexibility, interpersonal and intrapersonal skills are a few of the fundamental skills needed to succeed. The traditional content, that we are exposed with like language arts, math science, social studies, music etc, are a way of delivering the necessary concepts that they will need to manage to continue their growth process.
My personal education philosophy is based on building an environment that is safe and inviting to the student. Where they are allowed to express their interests and build connections from their previous experiences. As a teacher I would need to take the time to know each one of my students very well in order to identify their unique learning styles as well as what types of strengths and weaknesses they are bringing with them. This would help me know exactly how to plan my lessons, knowing that I must provide enough differentiation in order to engage and reach all of my students. Each student brings with them a certain level of background knowledge that we must access in order to know how we must challenge them and be able to take them to the next level. A constructivist philosophy would go hand in hand with my style of teaching. This is built on respect, a deep understanding of child development and the necessary time to plan lessons that are enriching and motivating that are connected to real life experiences.
My professional and personal goals are well aligned with my philosophy of education. I truly believe that education is changing in this global economy and we must be flexible and creative enough to adapt to these changes in order to better understand our students and help them become lifelong learners fit to succeed in the 21st century. Global communication will influence education and this requires certain abilities such as problem solving, and interpersonal skills. Learning and sharing information is such a huge factor that affects our daily lives. We see it in everything we do, from informing ourselves about best technology updates, to consuming goods, to selecting the best school for our kids. The information is out there for us to access and use wisely.
I will use these beliefs daily because they are part of who I am and how I relate to my world. Education is all around us not only in our classrooms it is how we face new experiences, how and what we teach our children, and what drives our desire to learn new things. Being able to facilitate the delivery of certain content and watch how individuals light up and create connections that are meaningful is such a warm and gratifying experience. I would say we are blessed to have the opportunity to provide others with new concepts that set the grounds for them to build new ideas and experiments. It is this drive, which has taken human beings forward in time, producing the significant amount of progress we have made. Every day that passes educators are confronted with new challenges, and no day is the same as yesterday because all individuals bring uniqueness to our lives. I would say that as a teacher I am constantly involved in this learning process as I encounter new and fascinating minds while teaching others.
There are several educational philosophies out there that I could relate to and a few that are simply too confined for my enjoyment. I believe in an eclectic view of education where one can take the best that is out there and apply it in our class instruction. I believe in progressivism where the child is the critical thinker and problem solver seeking knowledge through personal experiences. Taking action on real social problems and relating content to life experiences is another view that I share with the constructivists philosophy. I deeply believe in the process of assimilation and accommodation that takes place in the process of adaptation mentioned by Piaget. On the other hand, Behaviorism is one of the philosophies that I personally do not relate very well to. I dont believe that learning is only achieved through external factors determined by others and not free will. It might work to change certain specific behaviors but I personally do not feel comfortable using them. We must be open to change and flexible enough to know that certain students may benefit from a behaviorist approach. It is there where our keen observation and experience comes into play and helps us adapt to what is best for the individuals needs. Education is not set in stone it is constantly changing and we must engage in this journey with an open mind.
Kauchak, Don and Eggen, Paul. 2011. (4th Ed.) Introduction to Teaching: Becoming a Professional. Chp 7. Merrill. Pearson Education, Inc.