My philosophy of education stems from the years of seeing my mother in-law attend classes in order to attain a more lucrative position in her field of business. The visions of her sitting at the table with a pencil in one hand, a highlighter in the other and her Bible perusing several books, newspaper articles, and her personal notes, gave me the insight to strive for a better life. My mother in-law was and still is a firm believer the she can achieve anything with Christ and that her degree was attainable. Seeing my mother in-law so engaged helped me realize the importance of education, becoming a lifelong learner and the possibilities that could be discovered by being a continuous and active learner. Getting a ‘good education’ was a constant phrase reiterated daily in my household with my children. I understood that education was the common denominator for success and the foundation in which all other professions are based. My goal is to impart into children to be productive citizens, lifelong learners and have a love for God and learning.
Keywords: learning, education, children, success
Working in the public educational setting as a Parent Liaison has afforded me the opportunity to gain a greater appreciation for education and its importance. In my past experiences, I have noticed the number of students entering school being unable to read, recall, infer or comprehend. These situations with students caused my heart to ache for their learning. I have witnessed beginning kindergartners with no phonemic awareness, very little sight word recognition, and little to no awareness of school and its importance. My daily mission is to instill the value of education in my students and its direct alignment to both their salvation and success in their life. Regularly, I question students regarding their future goals, dreams, and how education will play an intricate part in their success and achieving those goals. Education is the core element in which all other professions are based and rooted. Every profession involves the human connection of educating and pouring into the spirit. I believe that all students can learn and that learning is a lifelong process that can be achieved with students, parents, and the community.
Worldview & Philosophy of Life
Having received grace to be able to walk through this universe for over 50 years, I have come to realize the result of your daily life is the efforts that put forth into the universe. Understanding that people are complicated and hold various experiences is the key to maturity and adult growth. Recognizing this can be a difficult task if the individual is not conscientious in the moment. We are human beings and continuously deal in the flesh. Our emotions can sometimes overtake our conscientiousness which causes the head to lead as opposed to the heart.
This view is shared daily with my students as I try to promote the value of education. School life is my life, and my daily mission is not a job but a calling. It is an opportunity to have a positive impact on students and their futures. Pouring quality information into my students in most cases is the only positive affirmation some of them may receive. My ability to breathe positivity into my students’ spirit may be the only spark that ignites the spirit and assist the students in moving forward within this world.
Life challenges my daily practice as a Parent Liaison (educator). However, I am solid in my belief of knowing that education and true quality of education is the foundation and path to any successful career. The connection between school and active learning is synonymous with success and prosperity. Active learning is essential for a full and productive life. With education, one must be intentional, attentive and conscientious of and recognize the value of the presented opportunities. This active involvement makes the work meaningful and creates success. According to Froebel’s educational philosophy in order for this to take place the student must be in a happy, harmonious environment in which he or she can grow and the whole person can be built (Gutek, 1995).
Christians are human beings, and the flesh is part of that existence. The challenges of a Christian’s daily walk are directly aligned with some of the issues facing our educational system. Christians and teachers (who are Christians) are passionate regarding showing others the purpose of life and being grounded in their personal beliefs, owning that belief, and sharing that belief. In some cases, both teachers and Christians are held in high regard. Their actions must correlate with internal beliefs and be an example for their students and others. Romans 12:2 (ESV) “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Philosophy of Schools & Learning
Being in public education for over twenty years, I have come to realize that building positive relationships is the connection between school and learning. Students come to school with various experiences and unclaimed baggage. As educators, it is important that we recognize and attend and teach the whole child while leaving no stone unturned.
Today’s educational system and its students does not allow for antiquated and traditional settings and behaviors. The structural settings no longer require students to stay seated in straight rows while the teacher lectures. Because today’s students are different, the learning must be different and presented in a manner at the students’ present level of understanding. Teachers must utilize various pedagogical methods to meet the varying needs of the learners. The learners must be able to actively engage in the process of learning, which includes but not limited to developing critical thinking skills through open dialogue and peer interaction. In addition, teachers should ask thought provoking, deep, probing questions, which extends the learners’ thinking.
Because the learner has various learning styles, it is imperative the teacher is equipped with a multitude of instructional practices in order to differentiate the instruction to meet students at their present level of understanding. Active engagement and the promotion of meaningful technology usage assists in bridging the deficit gap and critical understanding.
Teachers must educate themselves to become familiar with today’s students and their learning styles. Understanding learning styles assists the teacher with the improvement of instructional delivery and overall classroom management. Regarding improved instructional practices, teachers can assist the various learners by creating learning centers that involves active engagement in order to successfully complete an assigned task. Positive peer interaction can motivate each student to do their best. Pestalozzi and Froebel’s educational philosophies closely relates to what I believe about education students. Johann Pestalozzi believed that every individual could learn and individuals should have a right to an education. He believed that as a society we had a duty to put these things into practice (Bowers and Gehring, 2004). Froebel’s “kindergarten method” is not just for kindergarten students, but can be conducive for all students.
A Christian’s beliefs are directly aligned with their daily practices. Both Christians and teachers travel a path of selflessness while pouring and teaching valuable, eternal lessons. As an educator we are always looking for ways to be innovative, but we must remember our students. My educational practice would be more in line with progressivism and social reconstuctionism, viewing the learner as the central focus. When working with students I will serve as a guide and facilitator assisting the student in reaching their learning goals. Students will be introduced to learning centers and work in with partners. Students will take ownership of their work and their classroom. My goal is assist to students to prepare for the future and to be independent-thinkers.
When presenting new material to our students, make sure that we clarify the purpose and the learning goals to our students show them models and examples. According to Graham (2009), we are to apply biblical truth to all of education, and not just parts of it. Our goal is for the student to be successful. As colleagues we discuss if something is working or not, so why not take the time with our students to hold classroom discussions about their learning. In this way educators will be able to observe how the student is grasping the material and if something needs to change. It is important that students receive feedback from assignments and to give the teacher feedback about the learning process. Metacognitive strategies will be implemented to so that students are given the opportunities to plan, monitor their learning, and self-reflect along the learning process.
Being a teacher is a true calling that only special people can and should answer. The old adage regarding ‘those who can do and those who cannot teach’ is meaningless and degrading to all who are in the educational profession. Being a teacher is not just standing in front of a class lecturing and students utilizing pencil and paper to record the transferred information. Being a teacher is about the human experience and making a spiritual connection with those whom you are in contact. According to Graham (2009), we are to apply biblical truth to all of the educational process, not just part of it.
The role of a both learner and teacher are important for the others existence. The learner is one who challenges the teacher to critically think and ask probing questions in order to extend their mental capacity. In addition, the learner actively engages in the lesson/conversation and acquires relevant information that is prudent to their success. Ultimately, the learner has to be intrinsically motivated to gain knowledge. The role of a quality teacher is able to reach deep within their learners and appeal to their hearts. By doing this, the teacher can make a connection with the learners and guide them appropriately while communicating the importance of an education and allowing them to see and understand to true benefits of their educational journey. Once the connection between learner and teacher have been established, the teacher can speak words of encouragement, life, and longevity into the learner and giving them a great appreciation for education and its value.
One cannot exist without each other. Success can only be experienced if the two (learner and teacher) are united. In the public school setting, building teacher/learner relationship is essential. Witnessing various classrooms, I have noticed that teachers who positively interact with their students experience success on a greater level compared to those teachers who do not buy into their students. Mutual respects are the foundation to a successful teacher-student relationship it is the teacher who sets the tone for and models respectful behavior. Once the relationship is established, the ability to pour into our learners is durable. Titus 2:7-8 (ESV), “show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.”
It is very important for teachers to know their learners and how they learn. As stated earlier, life experiences varies and that must be taken into account when educating our youth. Understanding your learners and appreciating their differences is crucial to both their success and the success of the teacher. Being willing to explore those differences give the teacher a concrete understanding of instructional practices that would be benefit their learner.
Teachers should be able to utilize various instructional practices to reach their learners and allow them to be successful. It is extremely important to meet the learner at their present level of understanding and grow their knowledge base. The learners’ life experiences has an impact on their instructional understanding whether positive or negative.
As it relates to diversity, Ruby Payne (2001) noted that students’ experiences and their ability to attain resources plays an intricate part of the learners’ success. Payne noted that emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical resources are vital learners’ of diverse background. Colossians 3:11 (ESV), “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.” As educators with diverse learners, we should remember it is not about us, but Christ in us and in our students.
As stated earlier, education is the root in which all other professions grow. Educating students about the world and the beauty of God’s glory is the most rewarding mission that can ever be experienced. Conflict occurs when teachers are not kept abreast with the change of society. Just as some ministers must utilize unorthodox methods to capture the attention of our youth in order to move them into the church to learn of God’s love, the teacher, in the classroom setting, must research and stay abreast of the various needs of students and their learning styles in order to meet their academic, social and emotional needs.
Bowers, F., & Gehring, T. (2004). Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi: 18th Century Swiss Educator and Correctional Reformer. Journal of Correctional Education, 55(4), 306-319. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/23292096
Graham, D. L. (2009). Teaching redemptively: Bringing grace and truth into your classroom (2nd ed.). Colorado Springs, CO: Purposeful Design Publications. ISBN: 9781583310588.
Gutek, G.L. (1995). A history of Western educational experience (2nd ed.) Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press. ISBN: 9780881338188.
Johnson, L. (2011). Teaching outside the box: how to grab students by their brains. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, a Wiley Brand.
Payne, R.K. (2001). A framework for understanding poverty. Highlands, TX: Aha! Process, Inc.
Russell, K.A., & Aldridge, J. (2009). Play, unity and symbols: Parallels in the works of Froebel and Jung. International Journal of Psychology and Counseling, 1 (1), 001-004.
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