Philosophy of Education
Literacy is important because without it, reading the next few paragraphs would be a challenge! Not only would it be difficult to read my philosophy of literacy education, but reading a menu at a restaurant to order food, or reading street signs to drive cautiously would also be a challenge. Literacy education is the foundation for all other subjects and is a vital component in a child’s education. Literacy starts in the early years of life, when children learn their first words of mama and dada. Not only are babies starting to make sounds, but they are creating meaning for these words when their mom or dad responds to them. These early learning skills continue to grow as children notice symbols and signs for their favorite restaurants, book characters, point out letters on street signs, connect pictures and print, look for the favorite cereal or food in a supermarket, etc. Eventually the student will have a solid grasp of letter identification and letter sounds which can be applied to reading and writing. All of these actions are signs of a child’s growing literacy development and which they need to succeed in their schoolwork. In order to solve Math word problems, students need to make meaning of the words in order to understand what the question is asking. To understand science procedures, read historical facts, read a map for directions, etc. students need the skills of reading in order to make sense of these content area texts.
My beliefs on the importance of literacy education and the responsibility I have to continue my education has led me to focus my career on developing a deeper understanding of Literacy. “If we teach today, as we taught yesterday, we rob children of tomorrow”. This motivational quote was proclaimed by John Dewey and it represents the central goal in the classroom...to meet the needs of all learners by differentiating curriculum. Each student presents a unique learning style which challenges me as a teacher to help meet the needs of all learning styles. As I think about the best instructional approach to address the learning styles of my students, I also reflect on my own learning style growing up. I was always very distracted with my studies which resulted in a lack of focus on lessons. My attempts to make connections between objectives was lacking in all subject areas: Math, Science, Social Studies, and ELA. My elementary educators never used motivational elements to grasp our attention, or accessed background knowledge in order to make meaning, schema theory. Luckily for the students today, instructional strategies have improved and teachers are more aware of differentiating lessons. I only wonder how I would have performed if I were presented with the resources and new teaching strategies that are available today. I will use my experiences as learning experiences and not “rob children of tomorrow” as John Dewey stated.
When faced with any challenge it is important to identify the root cause of that challenge. As a teacher I have found that when a student struggles academically, I must motivate and guide the student to overcome their challenges. For example, one of my students, Derek, has displayed the need for extra assistance in writing his name independently. After working with Derek in a one-on-one setting he was able to complete the task of writing his name. We first had to work on the proper way of holding a pencil. Once that skill was established we were able to practice letter formations. He started with tracing the letters in his name, and then gradually worked his way to writing his name independently. Next Derek practiced the concept of writing words in order from left to right. Just as I set subsequent goals for Derek to achieve success with writing, similar goals can be set for any student by understanding the objective we want the student to achieve and breaking it up into individual, subsequent tasks.
I have learned so much from my teaching experiences and I continue to grow professionally. I feel that everything I learned in my courses so far have built off each other. Each class has been a bridge to the next and have provided the tools and confidence that directly apply to being a literacy educator. I find that much of the information I learn throughout my studies, I am eager to share with my colleagues.
Through this program, I have learned more about myself as a learner. I have learned to pay more attention to the practices I use in my classroom. I have also learned how important peer collaboration truly is. I find that at times, I learn more from my classmates than I do from the readings in class. As a learner, I believe it is important to bounce ideas off my peers and hear feedback they have to offer. I have realized that I am a lifetime learner. Just like our students, my knowledge is ever growing. I have learned more and more with every class I took through this program. One of the most significant factors I have learned through this program is how important it is to stay up to date on all literacy research.
Hunter College has greatly impacted the way I teach. From setting up the room for maximum student productivity to effective instructional approaches, literacy education has helped shape my teaching style to meet the learning styles of all students.
As I reflect on all that I have accomplished in the Literacy Program at Hunter College, I am very proud of my accomplishments and I highly value the Master of Science in Education degree. The beginning of the program was aimed towards instructional approaches, methods and theories in literacy education. Towards the end of the program it was aimed at taking on the role of a literacy coach and holding professional developments for colleagues. I understand that the role of a literacy coach entails different responsibilities than the role of a teacher. The school I currently work in doesn’t have a literacy coach position, unfortunately. Therefore my goal is to step foot into a public school or a DOE school that has coaching positions for me to learn from. As I said, I learn from doing and I know that in order for me to become an effective literacy coach I would need the support and guidance of someone who already holds that position.