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Personal Teaching Philosophy

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Running head: My Philosophy

Personal Philosophy Paper

Marc Boldurian

EDU 360 Philosophy of Education

Instructor: Sundra Dolberry

April 15, 2015

   

     Educational philosophy is the manner in which the teacher believes information and learning should be delivered. It highlights the important aspects of the learning environment and is the foundation in which a teacher presents curriculum and teachable moments. This paper will define my belief in education, while aligning my views with the classic educational philosophies and philosophers in suit while establishing how these philosophical beliefs will influence my work as an educator. It will also define the role of the teacher, student, and education in society, and touch upon my opinions on curriculum, instruction, and assessment within the school system and the learning environment. We as educators are mere vessels that travel through the oceans of knowledge. Every ocean holds different characteristics we must incorporate. Seas that are cold, rough, clam, still, warm, hot and uncharted. The students are the oceans and their learning styles force us to incorporate the needs of philosophies or specific aspects of various philosophies to reach and develop our own evolving philosophy that guides us thorough the educational needs of the class which is constructed of a diverse number of individual needs and factors. Our educational philosophy may have roots in idealism, realism, existentialism, pragmatism, or postmodernism, but wherever our belief stems from the matter of fact still is that philosophy of education enables students to aim at understanding, interpretation and unification of reality so that they can be viewed from a unified perspective and not as discrete entities. My future is in the elementary grade level, so that I may inspire early learners to embrace their educational value and promote self-learning within every child to take control of their own educational experience and make it a special and personal influence in their lives.

     An education is not bound to a single purpose, and as the needs of society has grown over the years the complexity of the intention of education. The aim of education has covered a diverse range of areas throughout history. These areas have included teaching children in religious doctrine, instilling the aspects of life in democracy, helping immigrants integrate into society, and especially preparing people for an ever changing economy that has echoed the values from industrialization to today’s global economy and issues. We as educators must assist the needs of today’s needs of society by providing the tools for our new generation to compete in the global economy. In order to do so we have to create life-long learners who can adapt to the ever-changing global community’s needs. The future that we produce will lie upon the shoulders of the adult force and their ability to harvest the relationships that produce the opportunity’s to become an asset to society and the world. There is a delicate balance of the duty of teachers to not only instill civic knowledge, but we must even more so make sure our students’ conquer the civic skills of respecting others, ability to work with others, respectful; demeanor, and able to see and participate as a factor in the life of the community. From the early educators that were sponsored by religious denominations, like the Puritan Church, the motives behind their mission were so beneficial that it transcended cultures and territorial lines as in Pennsylvania where William Penn and Ben Franklin instilled the same educational philosophy. Cotton Mather, an early educator knew the importance of the educators’ role and the connection to the needs of society. He wrote an address in “The Education of Children” and stated, “woeful putrefaction threatens the Rising Generation; Barbarous Ignorance, and the unavoidable consequence of it, Outrageous Wickedness will make the Rising Generation Loathsome, if it have not Schools to preserve”. (spurgeon.org) This vision of performance and association to social needs and standards followed through the years and inspired innovated thinking that pushed educators to pioneer new educational philosophies that still to date influence the classroom and learning environment. Innovative educators like John Locke where not only revolutionary in their teaching style, but continue to impact todays educators to push the envelope for fresh strategies to evoke critical thinking and self-learning. John Locke was prosaic, and practical, treating his problems in a common sense manner he analyzed rather than synthesized, described rather than explained. His chief mental virtues were sincerity and simplicity". (Baldwin, 1913) “Locke departed from the Idealist view of the learner as possessing innate knowledge. According to Locke, we are all born with minds like a blank slate, or tabula rasa, ready to be written on by our sensory experiences of the external world. The meaning we make out of those sensory impressions constitutes knowledge”. (Stallones, 2011) His departure from absolute authority inside the classroom turned the educational experience into a self-motivated journey that placed the education in the hands of the learner. Child- centered education, in my opinion, has been the greatest contributor to the positive changes in the education. The conflict comes from the age old question of curriculum, do we standardize education or should we teach to the individual need of every student? Standardized education is not in the best interest of students. The diversity of the individual and the individuals learning needs and techniques are as diverse as our country. Currently the fad in education is accountability. This is nothing more than trying to bully teachers and students into better performances. “More difficult assignments and tests, which more students will fail, are supposed to represent an improvement.”(alfiekohn.org). All this does, as it is the case in my wives school, lower income schools teach towards to the test, so that even if the test score goes up the quality of the education goes down.

     The most influential philosophy to me is pragmatism but I must also mention egalitarianism since it paved the way for pragmatism. The fact that the school was seeing all people as equal in the eyes of the law and their rights when it comes to education is in my opinion the most influential point on educational history. The current laws, techniques, and strategies are founded in that belief and have propelled our current system to its global status today. Segregation undermines the very meaning of teaching. The entity that is the class is comprised of individual needs. Students learn from other student in all facets. What was once, a problem in the past is now perceived as reachable today. This shows that diversity and differences are part of our world and that they are exactly that part of our lives today but not wrong or excluded. As I have said “All children are reachable” and we as educators model the acceptance of those who are different. In my own philosophy different is good. It can scaffold techniques and information on a scholastic and social level that can infect the entire class positively. Dewey was an advocate of Educational Progressivism and believed and pushed for reform of education. He was against the pre-determined strict knowledge approach. The understanding of knowledge was missing the key role of understanding students' actual experiences is the basis of my educational beliefs. A student, their culture, environment, and experiences are key factors when determining a strategy and techniques for educational needs and learning environments. As educators we have to cover a wide range of issues when it comes to our students and their learning environment. We need to factor economics, social hierarchy, cultural values, personal beliefs, strengths, weaknesses, disabilities, IEP/504 plans, administrative goals, and curriculum standards, while incorporating the given curriculum and to the entire class moving forward as a whole at a pace that leaves no child behind but challenges every student in a competitive manner that provokes cognitive thinking. If we do not have the bases of assuming and pre-determining the levels and needs of the individual we would be unable to encompass the class and each individual’s needs. A compatible philosophy is an essential tool that gives a teacher input and evaluation without having to devote too much time to the individual. You hear the connection of society and education when discussing philosophies, techniques, and student’s needs, but exactly are the educational needs of society? We as educators have an unspoken duty of preparing students for the hurdles and task it will take them to become a positive influence in society and be beneficial to the growth of their community and the global community as well. From the view of society education should create a method in which we can empower both children and adults to contribute to the change of their societies. “Although education has long been embraced as an unalloyed social good, there is now a growing sense that it serves poorly its proclaimed role of enhancing productivity, equality, and learning.”(Kingston, 1980) This is why I believe that the focus of education should have a foot in values, attitudes, and behaviors that give the students the proper tools to function and coexist within today’s global community that is comprised of diversity and pluralism. The teachers’ role is to guide and mold the learner to be able to educate themselves in a manner that provokes the critical thinking and learning. The role of a teacher has changed dramatically over the course of history. What was once a privilege to the children of richer, noble men has become a social staple point in the grooming of an individual to the needs of a functional state within ones’ own society.  The profession has come from only utilizing the concepts of math, English, and science to promote learning within the student to a multifaceted profession to include such classroom instruction and presentation, as well as familiarizing the students with social and personal needs that once were the home environment and meso-systems responsibility. Teachers’ role is now looked at as the sole source of a student’s learning experience. If teachers are in tune with their students, educational, social, and cultural needs, they can present and develop a well-rounded educational experience. Unfortunately the role of the student has diminished in my opinion. Where as in early educational times students were inspired to learn and develop skills that would create a prosperous life for them. Today it seems as though the child is only asked to show up and follow the teachers’ guidance. Students should look to develop habits that empower them to control their educational experience, learning environment, and promote the skills to guide them through their lives in a positive manner and influence others to do the same. Very few students are intrinsically motivated to learn. If the topic is one of interest and/or the students find it easy, yet challenging to navigate through the topic and its data, they are pretty much satisfied with ample effort through the class. It is the duty of the teacher to motivate the student intrinsically. A teacher can become a better role model for the interest of their students. If teachers can protrude high energy and enthusiasm in their lesson deliverance, the students will connect with the material and the teachers’ efforts on a personal level. Students do not want to be told what to do and what to learn, but by incorporating a simple strategy like discovery learning. Student will be persuaded to control their own learning, and be satisfied through discovering the underlying principle on their own. To assist the student with this transformation, curriculum content is high in value. Curriculum can transform the average learner into an intentional learner through developing their own awareness about the reason for study, the learning process itself, and how education is used. It also creates learners who are integrative thinkers. The strengths of a integrative thinker is the ability to draw on their vast range of knowledge in order to make decisions. They adapt the skills learned in one situation to new problems encountered in another like in a classroom, the workplace, their communities, and their personal lives. Things like collaboration, innovation, critical thinking, and communication are being considered as important as the core subjects like math and history. This consideration is fueled by the perception that practical skills can be used in the world outside the confines of school. As a teacher, in order to better prepare for these changes I feel educators must get in a deeper touch with the students they influence. Just knowing what they like and dislike is not enough. We must strive to uncover what inspires and evokes critical thinking as well as what makes them shut down and inhibits their success and progress. Then taking this new found knowledge and incorporating its core value into a curriculum that connects with the individuals’, and their needs for a better life through education and community influences will produce a learner that can reshape the world in a way that opens doors for the next generation. New horizons need techniques and strategies to bridge the gap of traditional thinking and evolutionary learning. “If “inspiration,” “a questioning spirit,” and “lifelong learning skills” are broad aims for institutions, teaching staff need to be shown they can develop them in the students.”(Grossman, 2008) The tools that would enable teachers to reach this level of education can be achieved through universal screening and progress monitoring. The important components of this process are the instruction that occurs as a result of the products of the assessments. This will hopefully inspire the changes within the students that educators hope to see. A tired instruction can access several levels that can encompass the nature and seriousness of the student’s difficulties. The school should be student centered not teacher centered. It gets the students thinking critically instead of regurgitating information. “In order for teachers to help linguistic learners progress, they need to use language that the student can relate to and fully comprehend. If used correctly, language can provide a bridge between the material and the learner.” (Nolen, 2003) If language falls short of its intended use, proper assessment is the educator’s last resort to define a student’s needed areas and skills for improvement and strengthening. Teachers need useful and timely feedback. Using techniques of in-course assessment would prove to be a valuable tool. Students must be gauged by the efficiency of the teacher and the value of the learning that is taking place inside the classroom. Teachers should focus on academic skills and intellectual development of their students. By making sure that students’ knowledge will suffice to move onto the following topic, we assure that overall knowledge is well rounded and supportive. If we as teachers makes sure that students are prepared to learn new material, we will already be assessing their learning skills in a useful manner to both teacher and student. The manner in which I say is one that fairly covers material in a less stressful way to help highlight the students’ actual knowledge and skills. We as educators must constantly adjust our teaching to cater to the individual and classroom needs of learning. A great way to help do so is the implication of private education on a public budget. “This form of school choice is thought to encourage innovation through lessened bureaucratic control is called a public charter school.” (Estes, 2006) It is my opinion that the more resources teachers have to utilize the better the connection they can establish with their students. Not every student will have a clear need and may require multiple techniques, to slowly help their progress in and out of the classroom. These philosophical beliefs will give me a stronger foundation to establish a strong and healthy relationship with my students and offer a better learning environment for them to flourish in.

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