"The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to think - rather to improve our minds, so as to enable us to think for ourselves, than to load the memory with the thoughts of other men." - Bill Beattie
I believe that the purpose of education is to provide a safe and creative environment for students to be able to construct the steps needed to build upon their knowledge, skills and character. To provide an environment where my students feel safe and engaged, I will consciously instill certain values, such as, awareness of differing cultures, awareness of self worth and the importance of setting goals and striving to reach those goals. I believe that children have a natural curiosity and desire within them to learn. It is my job, as an educator, to encourage that curiosity and desire through my teaching practices and methods. I also believe that learning is an active process, in which students create knowledge as they interact with their environment.
I believe that knowledge is a socially and culturally constructed product of humans. A student has preconceived beliefs, attitudes, and knowledge that I must take into account when teaching. They learn and construct new knowledge based on what they already deem as being real. As a teacher, I will provide my students with authentic problems that they can relate to everyday life, in order for them to find patterns between previous knowledge and new knowledge. I will also need to be aware of and understand the diverse backgrounds and environments that my students are coming from, in order to draw and build upon their previous knowledge.
Learning is a continuous and lifelong process. I will make sure to be up to date on my information and teaching strategies by continuing my own education and having discussions with various teachers in and out of my specific field of study. I feel that as a teacher I am both a teacher and a learner and there will always be ideas to learn from my own students.
I feel that the use of various instructional methods is needed in order to impact all of the students in a classroom. Since I do believe that learning is very much a social process, I plan on using group projects and discussions as part of my teaching techniques. Group projects and discussions allow for various perspectives to be considered when learning new knowledge. I will use styles that incorporate several of Gardener’s intelligences into the learning process. When I include lectures in my lesson plans I will allow for discussion and interaction to occur throughout the lecture. In assessing students, I will take into consideration their strengths, weaknesses, needs, feelings and potential.
I feel it is very important for my students to feel like their basic needs are being fulfilled, and that I respect, understand, and truly listen to them. As a teacher, I plan on expressing to my students that I do value their individual needs and am open to any discussions concerning how I can better help them learn and achieve their goals.
Most of my goals and beliefs about teaching can be summed up in the old saying, “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” Like this author and Beattie, the author of the previous quote, I believe that a teacher’s main purpose is to guide students in their thinking processes, so that they can think for themselves and are not just memorizing information. Students need to be able to problem solve and critically think about situations in order to make new connections and learn new knowledge. As a teacher, I feel it is my job to teach them the tools to do so.