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Philosophy of Education
My beliefs about education will play out into the way that I teach, the way that I interact with my students, and the way that I structure my classroom and lesson plans. While there are many different “official philosophies” floating around the education world, I do not believe that one word or theory can sum up my beliefs. Education is an important part of our society, and I believe that the root of education and teaching is knowledge.
I believe that knowledge is built. For it to be built, knowledge needs building blocks and foundations. Students must learn the basics of a topic well before moving on to more complex subjects. It is important to me to help build a solid structure of knowledge. I also believe that knowledge is pertinent to building well-rounded people that can function in society. Students being knowledgeable about themselves and about the world around them can help them be well-rounded. They can use knowledge to push themselves and their community to new heights. Finally, knowledge should be balanced. Students should be knowledgeable about a multitude of subjects rather than focusing only one or two subjects that they might find more enjoyable. By having a balanced knowledge-base, students will be able to become better thinkers and learners.
Learning is the acquisition of knowledge. I believe that learning is best achieved through variety. Students’ brains should always be active, and oftentimes, so should their bodies. Learning in a variety of ways can help deepen a student’s understanding of what they are learning. I also believe that the way that students learn should be connected to their lives. It should be active and seem real to them. Learning should not just be something they are doing because they have to but something they are doing because it will be useful to them. Lastly, I believe that learning is done in large amounts from observing the surrounding world. Students learn through modeling and then from attempting things on their own. The most meaningful kind of knowledge will come from students learning by observing and doing things themselves.
The most common way for a student to learn is through their teachers. I believe that teaching, like learning, should have variety. The best way to teach is to do so in a way that can reach every student. Since students have multiple learning styles, a classroom should be full of multiple teaching styles. Lectures can reach auditory learners, while hands-on lessons can be more effective with kinesthetic learners. I also believe teaching should be meaningful. Students should be able to see the meaning behind what is being taught to them. Therefore, teaching should always have a clear objective that is made available to the students. Lastly, teaching should be hands-on. A teacher should always be involved in the classroom, getting to know her students and working with them as much as possible.
A teacher’s connection to her students is highly important. I believe that all students can learn, regardless of any labels they might have had put on them in the past. Students with mental and physical disabilities may not always be able to show the amounts of progress that their peers can, but they are still able to learn successfully. I also believe that students will rise or fall to whatever expectations held to them. Students need to be held to high expectations and be pushed to stretch themselves farther than they think they can go. Lastly, I believe that students, not content, should be the center of education. While there are standards for all students to meet in the classroom, I think that a student being able to apply and enjoy himself and his knowledge is more important than simply being able to memorize and repeat facts.
A teacher and her students work together to create a unique classroom environment. I believe that a classroom should be safe. It should be a place of refuge and a place where students feel comfortable being themselves. It should be a safe place to speak and to ask questions, a safe place to laugh and to learn. A classroom should also be inviting. Students should not feel like outsiders when they enter their classroom. Also, a classroom should be full of opportunities for students to learn on their own. It should be a place full of resources to ease a curious mind.
Many classrooms together make up a school. While some believe that school is a place where students learn the basics in order to pass standardized tests, I believe in a bigger purpose for schools. A school should be a place to build a community of learners. Students in a school should be open and willing to learn from others and to share their knowledge with the other students. A school should also be a place to build a community of thinkers. Thinkers can make educated decisions for themselves. Thinkers can question the world around them and learn from it. Finally, a school is meant to prepare students to live in society. It is a place where students should not only learn the fundamentals, but should also pick-up manners, friendships, and other life skills.