My Teaching Philosophy
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Being an effective teacher is very important to me. I have had many teachers that I will never choose to model, but I also have those who were so wonderful that I will always hope to become like them. Every educator I have had has affected my life in some way and helped me to develop my ever changing philosophy of education. As I begin my journey into the world of art education, I will take all of my experiences with me as learning tools for the future to help me become an effective teacher. I will achieve my goal of becoming an effective teacher and positive role model by developing my views on the nature of students, the nature of knowledge, the purpose of a public education, curriculum and plans for my professional development.
Taking a look at my views on the nature of students, I have come to realize many things. Children are born with a natural curiosity. They are excited by discovering new things. Every child is a blank canvas that is begging to be painted upon, desiring to be shown their world. However, a child’s learning ability relies on factors than a basic human instinct to learn. These two factors are heredity and environment. I believe in multiple intelligences and there is no standard to say one child is more intelligent than another, but due to genetics, some children naturally learn more quickly than others. This has been evident in my own life. An example is the students I observed for Education 210 were divided into groups according to their math abilities. This division was not to separate smart from unintelligent students, but to allow the students to learn at a level best for them. Each child learns at a different rate; some just catch on faster than others.
I believe that environment has a much stronger effect on a students learning ability than heredity does. The child who is encouraged to learn is much more likely to succeed than one who is not encouraged.
It is also evident in many situations that a child raised by a family who puts a strong emphasis on education and success is usually more driven to learn than is the child raised by indifferent parents. Although a child may not be the fastest learner due to heredity, they may have a strong desire to overcome the genetic factor and succeed more than the child who is capable but has no ambition due to their environment.
Another topic covered in my philosophy of teaching is the nature of knowledge. I believe that the nature of knowledge can be both relative and absolute. Some examples of absolute knowledge could be math or physics. It seems that the elements of these subjects progress but remain unchanged. They are true regardless of person, place or time. This makes these fields and others related to them absolute.
Relativity is much more familiar to me as I further my education in art. Subjects such as arts and literature are relative in the nature of knowledge and much easier for me to relate to. There are, however, absolute aspects to art. There are techniques and rules learned for a basis in art. These can be rules of perspective, techniques for blending paints, as well as many others. In summary, I believe that all knowledge has both relative and absolute aspects.
Another element in my philosophy of education that I mentioned earlier is the purpose of public education. When considering the purpose of educating the public I ask myself many things. What is the overall purpose, importance, my personal goals as a teacher, and the goals for the students in my classroom?
I believe that my goals for my students in the classroom are very similar to those of society. The focus of educating is to allow everyone the opportunity to learn. This also provides everyone the ability to provide for themselves so that society does not have to carry them. Whether people choose to accept this gift is their personal choice. I want to offer my students a learning experience in basic subject areas as well as in other areas that will help them throughout the rest of life. It is not only important for people to have equal opportunities, but also to know how to explore them. We all get the chance to learn. I want to help them to appreciate it, to make the most of it, and take full advantage of this precious gift. I hope to teach students how to keep up the learning process long after they leave my classroom. I will do this by helping students to stay young. It seems that everyone loved to draw or color once but many never progress past the artistic ability of a twelve year old child. This comes about because people begin to adopt the idea that they need to “grow up” or “face reality”. They leave their imagination behind and begin seeing the world differently. Our world is full of color; full of bright and exciting things. I want to show students that this can be appreciated at all ages and that growing older does not mean you must stop using your imagination, but instead develop it even further. We should never lose focus of all the beauty we are surrounded by and the ability to enjoy every moment of it.
The curriculum for my classroom will support my beliefs of my philosophy of education because I will give assignments according to students’ personal interests and needs. This will allow them to explore their own imagination and ways of expanding it. I want them to appreciate the freedom of self expression through art. The curriculum will be geared toward hands-on activities that teach students basic skills allowing them to later have the ability to perform independent study.
Another part of my philosophy is my plans for professional development. As an educator I believe it is extremely important for me to continue my education even after I enter the work force. I will continue taking art and education classes after graduating and getting a job. Doing this is very important to me because I believe you should never settle for average. I am blessed with the opportunity to progress and I want to take full advantage of it. If I settle for just getting my degree then I will never be an example to my students that knowledge is endless and we should appreciate every bit that we can attain. Also, I want to help others to further their knowledge. If I settle for less, then I will not have the ability to help others progress past my small area of expertise.
A quiz taken in Education 210 revealed that my philosophical approach is progressivism. I agree with many aspects of this method. As I mentioned earlier, my curriculum will be experience centered and relevant to each student on an individual level. This curriculum corresponds with that of progressivism as well as some of my teaching methods that also reflect those of progressivism. I want assignments to be hands-on projects and cooperative learning activities to help students on interact with one another.
Another aspect that matches this method is that I believe in the democratic method. Allowing students to have a voice in their classroom is very important to me. I have had teachers who allowed this luxury and those that choose the authoritarian approach. From my personal experience, students are much more likely to participate in activities that they are interested in and more likely to follow rules that they help top make. No one wants to feel as though they have no control over their environment. Students will be in my classroom to learn from me, not to be dominated by me. It is my responsibility to provide them with the atmosphere that best fits their needs and desires. I feel that a classroom centered on the child and the democratic process allows a comfortable atmosphere for all those involved.
One last part of progressivism that I will demonstrate is the role of the teacher. I want to be a director of learning or guide to help students reach their personal goals. I had an art teacher in high school that took this approach and I found it very effective. She gave assignments that could be influenced by the each student in their personal way. Each one had enough freedom to add their personal touch but must stay within certain boundaries that she set for the assignment. She guided us throughout the assignments while allowing us to express ourselves through them. This is what I plan to do in my classroom also.
I have many aspects that affect my philosophy of education. I realize that change is not bad and that my beliefs will change as I begin teaching in my own classroom. I also know that I have developed my views from wonderful educators who have influenced my life. I intend to remember everything I have learned from these great people even as I continue to learn from my future educators as well as my students. I am excited about my journey into the field of education and I know that as long as I live, I will continue to learn from all those around me. I only hope that I can be a positive influence on every life I touch as well.