Personal Teaching Philosophy
There are a lot of considerations that go into one’s teaching philosophy beyond just how you teach. The strategies you use, the approaches to reach children, but also the environment you create, the relationships you form, and concepts behind what is being taught all effect how how one teaches.
I believe teaching should be learner-centered. The curriculum being taught should emerge from the students interests and needs. Students need to have involvement in choosing what and how they learn. If students are interested they will be more engaged, if they are engaged they will learn. All teaching should ultimately aim for personal growth and personal meaning, thus encouraging self-awareness through personal responses that utilize problem solving and reflective thinking.Projects and assignments should be designed with the student in mind and with the student as the number one priority.
The role of teacher extends beyond just a knowledge provider, the role of the teacher should be to identify the needs of the learner and serve as a resource. There needs to a be a relationship formed between teacher and student with cooperative respect and trust. Through respecting your students you will gain respect in return, they can not trust you if do not trust them. Another important role the teacher holds is as a model for appropriate behavior. The teacher can’t just present rules and mandates but needs to put them in place and follow them herself. A teacher’s purpose in the classroom is not just as a someone who speaks to students but someone who speaks with students.
The teacher must also create an environment where students can learn through guided reflections and experiences that put them in the center of the learning. The classroom environment has a large effect on how students learn and how students behave. A classroom must be welcoming and safe but also feel like a place where creativity and art making is continually happening. Visuals and resources are essential, as well as organization. Everything should have a place and everyone should know where those places are, this allows for easy access to supplies and easy clean up of supplies. In order to spark creativity students must be surrounded by continually changing inspiration, when you enter the classroom you should know the ideas, artists, and concepts that are being taught, explored, and made.
Learning should occur in a variety of ways, responses and assessments should take on many forms. Learning should occur through problem solving, experimentation, critical thinking, interaction with objects, events, and people, reflection, inquiry and experience. Teachers should encourage cooperation rather than competition. Working in groups should become a part of the learning environment and an alternative way for students to process information and learn from each other.
Concepts should be taught through the use of broad concepts, big ideas, rather then specific skills and techniques. While skills and techniques are essential to learn, these should be incorporated into a larger picture, a more critical, thought provoking, experience.
Teaching is much more then just imploring knowledge into students, it is about the students making those realizations, those connections that occur when something makes sense, when something is effecting them on a personal level. Creating these opportunities for students is job of a teacher, and the teacher needs to consider teaching approaches, environment, relationships, and curriculum in order to be successful. The most important resource a teacher has is her students, and a teacher is continually learning and growing from the knowledge they provide.