My Teaching Philosophy
My philosophy of education melds together the aspects of the philosophies and theories of progressivism, pragmatism, existentialism, critical theory, and social reconstructionism. The elements of each that appeal to me the most are: progressivism and pragmatism’s stress on change and using problem solving, existentialism’s emphasis on self-awareness and forging one’s own destiny, critical theory’s highlight on social change and a pedagogy of hope, and social reconstructionism’s stress on awareness of problems in the interdependent world we all live in.
I believe the purposes of education are to help student’s prepare for the world and to teach the students how to become independent individuals who are able to think critically for themselves. As teachers, we can help shape the students’ minds to think critically by exposing them to many problems they will attempt to solve. Furthermore, as teachers, we promote education while also promoting the development of students’ self-awareness, self-concept, and self-esteem. Education is vital in aiding the development of students to become adults who are able to face the world.
I believe that students learn best when they are taught under certain conditions in certain ways, such as the students being genuinely interested in an engaging lesson and thus show improvements in their educations. Furthermore, other conditions are the usage of group work and dialogue to promote students to freely express their ideas and benefit from learning from their fellow peers, which improves the sense of community and cooperation between students. Also, the learning material should be a combination of texts, experiences outside the classroom, and fun, interactive, critical thinking exercises. Teachers can create the necessary condition of trust in students by linking learning concepts to students’ lives, promoting empathy and awareness by addressing social questions, by incorporating students’ needs into the lessons, and by understanding students’ responses to questions as different and not wrong.
The curriculum of any classroom should include certain “basics” that contribute to students’ social, emotional, intellectual, and physical development. Such basics are the education of multiculturalism, emotional intelligence, behavior modification, student-centered learning, and field trips. The education of multiculturalism, group work, and behavior modification would help students’ social growth, emotional intelligence would enhance students’ interactive skills and their emotional development, and student-centered learning would advance the development of students’ intelligence. Moreover, field trips and exercise would contribute to students’ physical development. Also, the curriculum should vary so that the different learning styles are addressing and developing the students’ multiple intelligences, which furthers their learning experiences.
Students learn best in an environment that promotes learning. Some features of a good learning environment are the large availability of hands-on activities, equality and respect (no segregation or discrimination), individualism and cooperation, inclusion of students’ interests into the lessons, variety of options available for students to choose for themselves, vague topics and instructions to promote creativity, no bullying or belittling of students, giving students a voice, and encouraging inquiry.
All students have certain needs that must be met in order for them to grow and learn at their best. Some of these basic needs include the needs from Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: physiological needs, safety and security needs, love and belongingness needs, and self-esteem needs. Students need food, clothing, and shelter, a peace of mind as no dangers stress the students, family and friends that love them, and a good self-concept in order to reach the stage of self-actualization, where students’ creativity and learning are at its peak.
A teacher should have certain qualities and behave in certain ways. Qualities I believe to be important for teaching are a teacher’s open-mindedness, willingness to reflect and change teaching methods to adapt to students’ needs, patience, endurance, a high emotional intelligence or understanding of it, diligence, a passion for teaching, the love and knowledge of the teaching material, good organization skills, the ability to use behavior modification in the correct manner, and the ability to view the students’ situations from different perspectives. Moreover, teachers should be able to build relationships of trust with their students. Also, teachers should learn to alter lesson plans to better accommodate for special needs students, gifted students, and English Language Learners.