Every educator should possess his or her own unique set of teaching philosophy which suits the ever-changing needs and demands of education in today's society. Exploring and developing the beliefs of teaching play an important role in contributing to the success of an educator in the teaching profession. This teaching philosophy has been shaped by my personal experience when serving my alma mater as a relief teacher. It will serve as a framework for my embarkation to the profession of education with the aim of success in teaching.
My Concept of Learning
"Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" If my student were to ask me this question, I would probably smile at him and reply, "Why don't you find out and tell me?" My utmost belief about learning is that it is not just only a "process of acquiring knowledge or skills" ("dictionary.com", 2010) but also a journey of discovery where sometimes the journey of discovery is more important than the discovery itself. This concept of learning can be illustrated by [The] Constructivist Learning Theory ("Teaching with the Constructivist Learning Theory", 2010) which states that students learn best when they generate their own knowledge instead of having someone to generate for them. Learning would not be meaningful if everything is going to be spoon-fed to the student. I believe that only by learning through mistakes or experiences, it would make the student remember what went wrong during the process and that they would not repeat the mistake again. This is why this concept has been embraced for effective learning (Oon Seng Tan, 2011, p. 476).
The Learner and his roles
In the course of learning, the students should "learn to be responsible for their own actions" and be able to "take pride in their work" (Urrutia, 2010). My goals for my students is not just about achieving good grades in the aspect of academics, but also to teach them the crucial skills of survival when they enter into the "real world" outside the classroom. This is probably why we have our very own NIE t-shirt that says "We develop all other professions!"
The Learning Environment
Boosting the confidence and developing good communication skills in each individual is one of the important aspects in preparing our students for the real world. This can be achieved by "creating a supportive classroom environment" (McCutcheon, 2006, p. 30) where it is non-threatening but fun-filled. Students shall be given enough opportunities to speak up and share their experiences. Based on my past experience, one of the "house rules" I imposed within my classroom was to make all my students applaud and cheer enthusiastically after any form of oral presentation; be it a short passage reading or going up on stage to perform. The concept of this method is to give the participating student a sense of achievement and satisfaction and that it would slowly change them to become more confident as a person. Simple encouragement words or praises like "Well done! You've done us proud!" should not be neglected in the course of building their self-confidence. After equipping with the confidence to speak up in class, the students would then be able to relate and communicate more with me, thus learning through this type of environment would be much more meaningful and effective.
The teacher and his roles
The different roles of teacher are too many to mention. In my view, one of the most important roles of a teacher is to ensure that what is being taught has been understood by the students. In order to realize that, I should constantly develop new competencies in order to keep up with the society's changing expectations by being as resourceful as possible. Possessing a willing-to-learn attitude, I should constantly update myself with the latest technology by signing up for IT-courses, getting myself in touch with information, trends and global issues that are most up-to-date through activities like attending educational talks or even participating in forums. Being open to other suggestions and advices from colleagues also help to improve on my teaching strategies. With the expanded knowledge and updated skills, successful teaching can further be achieved when I ensure that every lesson has been prepared adequately to show my professionalism. Being a resourceful teacher would help me gain the respect from my students. On top of that, I should aim to build a good rapport with my students. This could be done through simple acts like having a meal with them during recess time, or even having a basketball game with them after class. By associating myself more with the students, it can help me gain their trust for me and that they would treat me as someone more than just their teacher.
In the education profession, there are many more concepts and theories out there that would aid me in my teaching. However, the theories of Constructivism and Professionalism can be found within the fundamentals of my teaching philosophy. Reflections shall be done after every lesson to ensure that I have adopted and apply the suitable theories for my class. As I enter into the teaching profession, it is important that new beliefs of teaching be explored in order for me to achieve success in teaching. I believe the foundations should be able to guide me throughout the journey of teaching profession and it shall aid me in my growth as an educator personally and professionally. Lastly, it is also important for our teaching philosophy to make conform to the values of Ministry of Education in order to achieve the desire outcomes in students.