Philosophy of Education
“If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.” – Ignacio Estrada
Purpose… I feel that the purpose of education is to inspire children- to dig deep within their beings and uncover what they have to offer, as you lead them to uncover it themselves. It is not to give knowledge to students, but to give them the opportunities and guidance to discover it on their own. No two children are the same, and therefore I believe the classroom should be a place where every child can grow into the person they want to, and have the potential to, become.
Content… What is taught in the classroom should largely depend on the students themselves. Just like no two children are the same, no two classes are the same either. Therefore, what worked in a previous class may not go so well with a current one. We should be teaching topics and lessons that not only appeal to students, but are also useful to them. If they see nothing interesting about it, nor can they find a use for it, why would they want to bother learning it? As adults, we have a choice in our education- we choose our own majors, courses, and what degrees or diplomas we wish to achieve. As adults, we choose things that are of interest to us and/or are useful for us to learn. As adults, we choose things that we feel we are good at. Why should younger learners not have the same choices in their education? I believe that a strength-based approach, combined with a constructivist approach, creates a formula for a productive and positive classroom environment. Guide your students in figuring out what they like, what they are good at, and what they would like to learn, and teach them based on these findings. They should have a voice in the classroom, and the opportunity and freedom to use it.
Learning… Learning is not a universal process that everyone does the same way- it is done differently from one person to the next. Therefore, I feel that differentiation is absolutely critical in establishing a successful classroom. I believe that all children are capable of learning, but if they are not given the opportunity to do it in a way that makes sense to them, it will not happen. Each child should be given the chance to learn and to express what they have learned in a way which suits them best. Feedback should be provided so that students, too, are aware of what they have learned, and what needs work. Assessment can be a valuable tool, for both the learner and educator, and should be used to benefit both.
Teaching… A teacher fills many shoes. To one child, a teacher could be exactly that- their teacher. Someone who gives them guidance, provides them with an education, and encourages them. To another child, their teacher could be the rock in their life- the consistent adult who is there for them each day, with the classroom being a safe and warm place for them to go to. You need to remember, as a teacher, that you can have a huge impact on the lives of your students, more than you might realize. A teacher’s job is to be there for his/her students, to encourage, guide, and listen to them, and to provide them with opportunities to learn each and every day. Every student deserves a chance, and a teacher needs to make sure that they have provided that.