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Education is a lifetime process with no true beginning or ending. Education consists of experience, environment, socialisation and communication. John Dewey assumed that "all genuine education comes through experience." I agree and believe that education does not start and end in a classroom. The education that we actually receive is the sum of experience that we let ourselves to be exposed to. It is the duty of an educator to inspire his students and enhance that desire to learn by the classroom environment that he creates. For Peters (1977), education is not only that which develops in someone is valuable but also that it involves the development of knowledge and understanding.
Moreover, apart from the classroom environment, the curriculum, and the way the classroom is managed are important factors that contribute to the quality of education that a child receives. Like Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), I think that small classes, consisting of fifteen to twenty students are ideal for a good teaching. As this allows for a more intimate relationship between the teacher and the students and there is more time for individualized instruction that would allow the students better success.
A teaching philosophy gives insight into your basic beliefs of teaching and learning. It reveals the values you wish and want to convey to your learners. My beliefs about learning and teaching are directly linked to my own experiences as a trainee and a student as well. For the last two weeks as an observer in the teaching field, as a pre-service teacher, and as being a student for numerous years, I have realised that there are four aspects that make someone an effective teacher: teacher-student relationship, communication, teaching techniques, and continuous learning. A positive and safe environment is conducive to effective learning. A good teacher must possess teaching skills and the ability to effectively teach all kind of students. With the socio-economic change and the availability of new information in the field of special education, it is imperative to stay up to date and open minded. The values I want to transmit to my students are that education is power and knowledge is essential. Through education anyone can accomplish anything in life.
I do believe that not all children are able to attain the same educational level but I do feel that every child has his own way of understanding things that make sense to him. I hope to emphasize different ways to learn in my classroom which may include visual, verbal and kinaesthetic. I plan to incorporate various methods throughout my teaching experience. I want my students to be able to learn in every way they are capable of.
During my research I came across a great philosopher which I tend to agree with, John Dewey. According to him, education is the "creation of knowledge through inquiry rather than the transmission of extant information". Moreover, he stated that "genuine education is based on the experience of the learner". As a student, I spent school years learning in an improper way. I was far from being an academically excelling student since I literally did not know how to learn. Hence I could not understand how to go through the most important things which was necessary to remember that my teachers would want me to know and understand. I realised that I learn by doing and not by listening to lectures.
My philosophy is mainly a combination of progressivism, behaviourism and existentialism. I like progressive approach as I understand that teachers need to be there for their students. Teachers act as a facilitator and a guide to their students. Students do need to learn to do things on their own and at their own pace, yet with scaffolding. I become conscious that students are not empty vessels rather they possesses innately the "raw materials" and the starting point of growth (Dewey, 1934). Dewey strongly agrees that teachers should guide student through experience but student should equally voice their experiences (Nodding, 2007). I believe in the progressivism endeavour to make schooling both interesting and useful. Hence I intend to incorporate group-work, field trips and organising games in my class. Sometimes seeing is better than reading, and doing an exercise is better remembered and understood than just reading it. I also like the philosophy of behaviorism because it provides positives reinforcements like rewards and praise for good and desired behavior. This will encourage motivation, build self-esteem and innate a feeling of self-responsibility within the students. However, to deal with disruptive students sometimes, in extreme cases, teachers need to adopt negative reinforcement like extra homework. Using existentialism, I want my students to be self expressive. There will be all types of students from slow, to average, to gifted. I want my students to always feel like they can ask questions and to be able to express their views.
I believe that learning is the process which a person acquires knowledge through both instruction and teaching. As a teacher my duty is to facilitate that this learning is taking place for my students. Part of my objective as an educator is to pass on the knowledge presented in the course from their different sources like the text and other readings, lectures and in class discussions. The method I will use or type of approach I will use to smooth the progress of learning and understanding are the main elements of the teaching process. Thus, the tools I will use will depend on a myriad of factors. For instance, the course type, class size and subject matter. However, it happens that the approach one has envisioned is not necessarily the right one, so modification must be made on my side to alleviate any problem. For instance, when trying to make an abstract concept as more applicable with the real fact, it may be required to have several examples at disposal. This is so as a frame of reference and awareness may be different than the students. The in class lecture is still an essential tool in the learning process but at the same time develop an environment of critical thinking and active learning. Participation is a key factor of the in class experience. It gives the educator a form of daily feedback from his class as a whole and equally from each individual student about the grasp of subject matter covered in that session.
No matter what philosophy someone agrees with, all teachers should want to bring out the best in all students and make sure that their students are getting every chance to be successful. If a student is not succeeding, we teachers must intervene and make modification as we can and have the ability to make a difference.