My philosophy of education is learner-centered; the better a teacher knows her students the more effectively she can tailor pedagogical strategies to meet their needs, abilities and goals. Students can help inform the content, pace, starting point, ending point (i.e. goal) and teaching style an educator selects that are more relevant and engaging to them. When a student is engaged or included in a lesson they are more responsive - they want to actively participate because they have some stake in their learning. However, children are not taught in a vacuum nor is learning limited to the confines of a classroom. There are many outside influences which impact learners that must also be considered when making pedagogical choices, for example, ethnicity, politics, environment and religion. Not all students are the same; they vary in age, sex, knowledge, ability and past experience. Amidst all these differences there are underlying commonalities which help establish the framework of my educational philosophy.
Thinking back on more positive learning experiences I realize I was more active in and responsive to lessons when teachers made an effort to engage the students and personalize the task at hand. I recall my first grade teacher beginning a lesson on vowels by writing them on the board for illustration and reference; then asking each student to pronounce his/her name and say or list the vowel(s) within. At each identification she pointed to the corresponding vowel on the board. The class grew excited as each student took his turn and was cheered on. There was commonality and personalization which hooked the students in. When it came to be my turn I was stumped and a little hesitant; my name is ...
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Freiberg, H.J., & Driscoll, A. (2004). Universal teaching strategies (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
Rogers, C., & Freiberg, H.J. (in press). Freedom to learn (4th ed.). New York, NY: Merrill.
Sheets, R. (2009). What is diversity pedagogy? Multicultural Education, 16(3), 11-17. Retrieved from Education Full Text database.
Weinberger, E., & McCombs, B. (2001). The impact of learner-centered practices on the academic and non-academic outcomes of upper elementary and middle school students. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Seattle, WA.
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