My Education Philosophy
Our educational system of today has the responsibility of educating – making productive democratic citizens and workers of tomorrow – every child. This is no easy task. In order to accomplish this challenging goal, I, as a teacher, struggle to reflect and reevaluate my practices and students. I strive to unite the subjects I teach into thematic units, which help students see the bigger picture, and helps engage students in the learning process. I also work hard to teach every child, believing every child to be unique as a learner. I differentiate my instructional methods to incorporate the many learning styles of my students.
My ideas for the role of the educator and instructional strategies to be used in my classroom can be summarized using seven principles that make up the acronym, DECKMAN.
Designation of time to reflect and clarify expectations
Reflecting on the previous day allows us to move forward, knowing where we’ve been and how we feel about it. Part of reflecting is asking questions, allowing us to set goals and clarify our goals so we can receive feedback on our expectations as well as the expectations of others. These are important steps in the process of learning and creating. Using these principles can help channel the benefits of expression into the classroom.
Emotional and social learning in the classroom
We need to teach future generations how to work through their emotions and be able to treat each other with kindness. The teacher is, therefore, a manager of emotions. Guiding students through problem solving strategies, teaching compromise, introducing the perspectives of others, and setting goals together, are part of a manager's job.
I will help facilitate and grow social emotional skills within the classroom setting.
Choice in what we do and how we do it
Choice is one of the most important motivating factors for learning. A certain amount of freedom of expression should be incorporated across the curriculum, and students should be able to self-select means of expressing, reporting, and sharing ideas with the world. Allowing this freedom creates an atmosphere more conducive to learning and more enjoyable for everyone involved.
Kids should have fun over fairness
An atmosphere where kids can share without fear is critical to the learning process. Kids often have a skewed sense of fairness, where they are frequently comparing themselves to each other to make sure they have not been slighted. Maximizing the potential of the classroom means focusing on the fun, instead of making sure everything is perfectly balanced, and focusing on everyone’s unique gifts and abilities to make the best of what everyone has. Kids are very different and unique. Embracing our differences is what's important. To learn acceptance of others, one must start with accepting oneself and find the joy in learning.
Movement should be incorporated into the classroom. It allows for expression and creativity that cannot be replaced by any other type of learning. Movement in any form – dance, poses, creative movement, gesturing, improv, stretching – should be incorporated wherever possible. The more modalities you cover when you learn, the more likely it is for retention and generalization to occur. Movement also increases energy and interest, improving the experience for everyone.
Art should be used just like movement. It should be integrated into the things that you already do, to enhance and broaden the connections between subject areas. Art can be used to express feelings, moods, themes, or depict events or concepts. Bringing art into the curriculum can solidify the concepts that are taught by presenting them on the creative level and increasing interest.
No one can stop you
The fact that a person’s knowledge and creativity cannot be taken from him/her can be very empowering. Although it cannot be taken away, it can be hampered, and every effort should be made to create an environment for young children that minimizes negative self-talk and criticizing the ideas of others. Encouraging creativity helps to minimize these behaviors and positively affects self-esteem, which increases a child’s ability to achieve academically and socially.
The role of the educator is always changing, taking on more responsibilities. Thus, my philosophy of teaching continues to grow and evolve to reflect the needs of our ever-changing world. At the core of my philosophy will always be flexibility, and a drive to encourage and motivate the learner in new and creative ways.