Running Head: PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION
Philosophy of Education Desireâ€™ Staley Mount Vernon Nazarene University
PEL 6003 History and Philosophy of Education March 26, 2014 Dr. Michael Traugh
2 My educational philosophy is based on my personal educational experiences, my beliefs, and the training I have received. As a future Integrated Language Arts teacher (7-12), I wish for my classroom to be conducive to the needs of all my students, and I will teach according to state mandated ILA standards. My beliefs can be linked to the five major educational philosophies used throughout the history of education, but are aligned most with that of Progressivism. It is important to teach effectively but also to leave lasting impressions. To do this I will foster a collaborative classroom that develops learning based on student diversity, student learning, curriculum, classroom management, and technology.
Student Diversity Student diversity within the classroom is common, and can actually foster learning based on a social aspect. According to Spring (2012), “…there is a continuation of cultural and language issues in schools as a result of increased immigration through the twenty-first century…” (p. 128). It will be essential to incorporate as many different cultural differences into my teaching. I will also aim to make my classroom a “safe haven” so that students will feel comfortable with their cultural differences; no judgment from other individuals will be involved, and the learning atmosphere will be positive. I am fortunate in my licensure area based on the fact that all literature has a different story to tell, which may include the author’s background, the lesson being learned, or even the literature itself. Also, I will be able to keep students engaged by changing my lesson plans based on ethnic diversity. I will be able to incorporate literature written by authors who are African American, Hispanic, European, Native American, etc. One of my more memorable classes in college was based on literature written by authors of several cultural backgrounds, and incorporating rhetorical reading through the literature. It was
3 PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION fascinating to see the differences in the writing from something as simple as differences in religion. Learning different cultural backgrounds in this manner may help each student better understand why cultural differences are a necessary aspect, and why learning about these differences will only serve to make them more worldly.
Student Learning As mentioned above, I feel a strong pull towards the philosophy of Progressivism. I believe that learning can only happen when a student is engaged, excited, and genuinely interested in what is being taught. In order to achieve this, I will not use textbooks as a crutch for my lesson plans. Some textbook work will be necessary of course, and the integration of many novels/poems will be needed in order for me to adhere to state mandated benchmarks, but I feel that teaching according to the “assembly line” aspect is not effective in some cases. I also feel it may be appropriate at times for my students to be involved with their lesson plans. I intend to use feedback from the students to conclude what I am trying to teach is effective, and fun. I may be unorthodox with my lessons at times, but I am fortunate to be included in the ILA family because I feel that there is a bit more freedom associated with this type of course. In order to keep student learning continuous in the classroom, it may be essential to resort to other properties of teaching such as classroom discussion. Montgomery and Groat (1998) suggest that students are not merely “empty vessels” to fill with knowledge, they are instead meant to be in a “conversation” with the teacher, which will emphasize cooperation and interaction (p.1). I will never forget the poetry class I took as required for my English degree at OSU. My professor was trying to teach vocabulary pertaining to literature, and in order to demonstrate a particular definition he actually used lyrics from two popular songs. Not only did he play these songs for
4 us, but he also had the lyrics on the overhead so we were able to have visual cues as well as audio.
Curriculum Curriculum is the heart of learning. It is important to follow state guidelines in order to have a starting point for my lesson plans, and to incorporate thoughts and ideas that are considered essential as outlined by the state. I will pay close attention to these benchmarks and guidelines, using them as a starting point for my lessons in order to give my students the knowledge they will need for state testing, but I will teach them as I see fit; if my students do not seem challenged, I need to be able to have the flexibility in my course work to recognize this and adjust it accordingly, and vice versa. I will incorporate assignments into my course that will foster my studentsâ€™ creativity to help them develop their thought processes. Tjeldvoll and WelleStrand (2003) define creativity as students acquiring identity and mastering skills in order for them to think and implement ideas in an entrepreneurial manner (p. 359). I will assist my students during these challenging assignments, but I will not do the work for them. They look to me to set realistic goals for them, therefore I am responsible for helping them to meet my expectations, as well as their own. My students will be capable in all aspects of Integrated Language Arts- grammar, poetry, reading, etc.- when they leave my classroom. The greatest gifts I am able to give my students are the gifts of capability, self-confidence, and application. These gifts will make them adept in the outside world, and encourage them to be leaders.
5 PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION Clement, author of Preparing Teachers for Classroom Management: The Teacher’s Role (2010) states, “classroom management is perhaps the single most important factor influencing student learning” (p. 42). When dealing with high school level students, I believe structure and routine is key in order to develop a safe, interactive learning environment. In order to have an atmosphere conducive to learning, structure needs to coexist with routine. Rules for interaction within the classroom will be clearly discussed on the first day, along with expectations and the consequences of not meeting these expectations. Reasonable questions will be answered and adjustments may be made to the expectations if a student provides evidence as to why an alternative may work- thus incorporating the class into the rule making process and reinforcing the knowledge that they understand. As mentioned above, I believe it extremely important for the classroom to be a “safe haven”, in which students are able to express themselves and not worry about judgment, bullying, etc. Debate will be an everyday occurrence between the students, and in order for this to run smoothly and aid in their learning experience, control of the classroom is a must. I will lead by example, and will give each student the respect they deserve so they may transfer the learning environment within the classroom to the outside world.
Commitment to Technology Technology is here to stay. According to Wynn (2013), we are entering a teaching age in which the “Digital Native”- a student raised on a daily dose of new technology (p. 22)- is integrating themselves into classrooms all over the world. It is imperative we as teachers are able to keep up with them, as well as show them how to use technology to their advantage in school, in their careers, and in life. Technology is a resource that should be used freely for every
6 subject, but most importantly for literature. There is a whole world of online articles, journals, newspapers, etc. at the fingertips of my students; I am responsible for making sure they are able to navigate, identify what they need, and be able to interpret it so they may apply it. Incorporating technology into my lessons will serve threefold: it will give the students experience using certain forms of resources for assignments, it will help the students become technologically savvy, and it will help them to develop technological skills they will need in the outside world. For example: if I were to assign a presentation about a topic of choice to my students, they will need to research, develop, and present their idea to the class- the same procedure they may be required to do in their career. Technology is also a common ground for students and their teachers. Using technology will help to keep the students entertained and interested, aiding them with learning and their assignments.
Conclusion My philosophy of education is rooted strongly within the historic idea of Progressivism, but also incorporates the need for identifying my students capabilities in order to challenge them, give them confidence, and help them to apply this to the outside world. I believe in a classroom that is welcoming and where judgment in any form is absent in order to foster interaction and learning. I will meet the state mandated guidelines, but will also have high expectations for my students in order for them to reach the goals and standards I have set. These goals and standards are essential in the learning of the students in order for them to understand the importance of consistency, while helping me to develop new goals once the initial ones have been met. To do this I will foster a collaborative classroom that develops learning based on student diversity, student learning, curriculum, classroom management, and technology.
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References Spring, Joel. (2012). American Education. New York, NY: McGraw Hill.
Groat, Linda N., Montgomery Susan M. (1998). Student Learning Styles and Their Implications for Teaching. CRLT Occasional Papers, 10. Retrieved from http://www.crlt.umich.edu/sites/default/files/resource_files/CRLT_no10.pdf
Welle-Strand, A., & Tjeldvoll, A. (2003). Creativity, Curricula and Paradigms. Journal Of Educational Research, 47(3), 359.
Clement, M. C. (2010). Preparing Teacher for Classroom Management: The Teacher Educator's Role. Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, 77(1), 41-44.
Wynn, M. (2013). Student Perceptions of Technology in the Classroom: A Faculty and Student Collaboration. Researcher: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 26(3), 21-33.