Personal Philosophy Discussion Page
What are your personal beliefs concerning education? Naturally, I find many changes evolve through experience, though there are some basic values which remain constant. Please feel free to comment or critique my thoughts. I’m always willing to learn through others’ perspectives. Here are some current opinions with the realization there is much to learn:
- All children have value. Students must be encouraged to realize their personal worth, while recognizing the merit of others, respecting that values/cultures often differ. This matters most to me. I don’t mean insincere praise, but rather strengthening a student’s capabilities, revealing potential and sharing an appreciation for the intrinsic value of all people.
- Content matters. It serves as a foundation of a well rounded education. However, the foundation of learning evolves through critical thinking so that children learn how to learn. During inquiry information is processed, sorted, and manipulated to stimulate critical thinking (predictions, inferences, comparisons/contrasts, searching for fallacies, analyzing data, then problem solving using newly constructed concepts/principles). It becomes the means to making sense of the information given. Each lesson is an opportunity to dig deeper whether it’s through questions, discussion, or the lesson itself. What does this look like? It appears in the classroom with independent/group examination to satisfying personal curiosity, then twist and probe the information for deeper understanding. The teacher’s role is one of support, guidance, and solicitation.
- Children need to experience a variety of technological tools to support ability to adapt with rapid changes in this area. Success in tomorrow’s society requires technical agility; varied opportunity improves ability to transfer skill sets where needed. This doesn’t mean throw in technology thoughtlessly, but where it fits the criteria.
- Children need to manipulate and experiment. Learning is a natural process when children interact with relevant concepts. Vital to this idea is student-centered instruction to increase interest, retention, and authentic representation of adult collaboration in the workforce. What does this look like? It showcases as a classroom persuasive essay addressing observed campus issues. Written to the appropriate audience, it promotes a reasonable plan of action. Classroom discussions/votes/team participation lead up to the essay. This works best using an inquiry based approach. Capitalizing on children’s innate curiosity, plus placing responsibility of the activities on the students inspires active learning.
- Educators must recognize the whole child. A child walks into a classroom with his entire world carried in his heart, his education will be affected by all aspects of his life. It is important to remember that information is not the sole tool of life; we share values, self-worth, work ethic, respect, and love.
- Variety is important. This has several facets: 1) a mix of teacher, peer, and self directed activity 2) using multiple intelligence approaches within units 3) novel events- such as a guest author book discussion 4)and routine/chore assignment adjustment to provide children opportunities to serve in several roles.
- Classroom management with respect fosters success. People respond to respect and encouragement. Believe in a child and he/she will prove you right. This doesn’t mean a classroom without boundaries or structure. It’s often as easy as “The Look” – I see what you are doing, you know what I expect, I’m waiting. Wonderful, now let’s get back to learning. No words – but an entire conversation which resumes productivity without controversy.
- Educators must set high expectations for each child in a class room, then help each student reach those goals. Children will work to the level of expectations set as long as the environment is one of respect, support, and encouragement. What does this look like? An educator working under this belief is willing to wait quietly for an answer rather than filling in an answer or directing a question to the student more likely to answer quickly. This teacher returns to a student who didn’t earlier understand to ensure success because it is understood that success is possible.
- Teaching is only for those who love children + teaching. If this statement doesn’t hold true for someone, he/she should find a different job. It’s the only fair choice for the children.