Philosophy of Education
I believe that a classroom is a home. It is a place where children feel comfortable to learn, grow, have fun, make friends, and discover new ideas. I believe that a teacher is more than an instructor, but a mother and a friend. A teacher's job is not only to educate children, but to guide, encourage, and motivate them every day to do and be their absolute best. A teacher is someone who supports through struggles, rewards successes, and sees potential in each and every student. A teacher understands that not all children can learn by sitting at a desk, and designs instruction that accommodates all individual needs and abilities. A teacher is someone who values and sees the beauty in education. Teaching is a passion: a passion, appreciation, and love for learning, and sharing knowledge in a way that children can understand.
As an educator, I believe that a love for learning and knowledge is acquired through the implementation of memorable experiences. In regards to John Dewey's progressive ideals, he states, “children soak up knowledge and retain it for use when they are spontaneously induced to look into matters of compelling interests to themselves” (Novack, 2005). These experiences are what make learning worthwhile. Given meaningful learning experiences, children are more likely to be engaged and excited to explore, discover, inquire, and remember. Through experience, all children are likely to succeed in one aspect or another, and can utilize more than just their cognitive abilities. Experience and hands on activities stimulate not only the brain but all senses. Learning by doing benefits all students, allowing them to have fun while soaking up new information.
Throughout my own experience, I have learned that all children learn differently. As a teacher, it is my duty to look at each child as an individual, and provide instruction that meets their personal needs. I think it's vital to utilize different hands-on activities throughout lessons and develop a curriculum around the student's interests. Incorporating different creative elements such as music, art, games, and technology will engage students and provide opportunities for them to showcase their own individual skills, abilities, and talents. This all revolves around the educational ideal that knowledge is acquired through the way in which learning is experienced (Novack, 2005).
As a teacher, I believe in having both a strong personal and academic relationship with my students. I want children to feel safe and comfortable in my classroom, and open to talk to me about concerns as well as excitements. I also think it's vital to act as a role model, not only as someone they can look up to, but someone from whom they can learn respect, optimism, reflection, and a passion for learning. As an educator, it is my job to both teach and guide students. This is done by providing access to information and the opportunity to discover and practice skills individually, as well as with their peers. Similar to Vygotsky's theory, I believe that social interaction plays a significant role in cognitive development (Culatta, 2013). Therefore, by utilizing methodologies such as peer tutoring and heterogeneous grouping, students will learn socialization and communication skills, while working cooperatively with their classmates. This type of instruction allows the teacher to act as the mediator, ensuring students are focused, interested, and moving towards the discovery of something extraordinary. Through this grouping, students will also be likely to learn more about each other, as well as themselves.
It's also integral that teachers and students work and interact as a team. Morning meeting gives the school day a positive start, and promotes students to share their thoughts, ideas, and experiences. It fosters a welcoming environment, and provides students the opportunity to see the differences and similarities that they share with their classmates. The teacher's role is to lead these groups while giving students the chance to speak freely and openly. Working as a group is a great way to laugh, learn, and discover knowledge as a class, while simultaneously building a familial relationship through working together.
To assess students, both informal and formal testing should be used. Formal assessments are aligned with unit objectives, and given to assess both student and teacher progress. Informal assessments are used to inform instruction and measure how students are grasping the information that has been presented. I personally believe that assessment can take place in many forms, such as projects, drawings, written assignments, and any other ways that students can demonstrate their individual understanding. Standardized tests only assess one type of ability, and if used, should be constructed fairly and differentiated for those who tend to struggle with this type of assessment. Self assessments for both the teacher and students should also be implemented to demonstrate reflection, highlight areas of need, and show improvement.
Above all, the most important thing a teacher can do for their students is believe in them. Extrinsic motivation and positive feedback keeps children engaged, participating, and wanting to learn. Not only does believing in your students show that you care about them, and want them to succeed, but eventually, children internalize these feelings and begin to believe in themselves. To give children the love and support they need provides them the positive outlook and encouragement necessary to make the best out of life. As a teacher and life-long student, I want to show children the value of education, instill a love for learning, create an enjoyable classroom environment, and prove to them that they can do anything they set their minds to.
Culatta, R. (2013). Social Development Theory: L. Vygotsky. Instructional Design. Available from
Novack,G. (2005). John Dewey's Theories of Education. International Socialist Review, 21(1). Available from http://www.marxists.org/archive/novack/works/1960/x03.htm