INTRODUCTION TO EDUCATION
Education is the process of teaching, learning and acquiring knowledge. Education has a changing effect on people who acquires it. It has a formative effect on the mind, character or physical ability of individuals. It allows shaping a society. Education is a mean, a medium, through which knowledge is transmitted to new generations. Through education the society transmits its accumulated skills, knowledge and values from one generation to another.
Education is mainly considered as schooling in our modern society. Children are moulded and instructed how to live in society in view of building a more enlightened society. There are different types of educations namely pre-school education, elementary education, secondary education, post-secondary education and lifelong education. Education is also a lifelong learning process and in this modern era education is more and more considered as a continual process.
The Aims of Education
Article 29 (1) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) of the United Nations, dated , states the aims of education as follows:
Article 29 (1), Convention on the Rights of the Child
States Parties agree that the education of the child shall be directed to:
The development of the child's personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential;
The development of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and for the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations;
The development of respect for the child's parents, his or her own cultural identity, language and values, for the national values of the country in which the child is living, the country from which he or she may originate, and for civilizations different from his or her own;
The preparation of the child for responsible life in a free society, in the spirit of understanding, peace, tolerance, equality of sexes, and friendship among all peoples, ethnic, national and religious groups and persons of indigenous origin;
The development of respect for the natural environment."
The Role of the Teacher
The main role of the teacher is to promote the aims of education. However the aims of education and its philosophy is not a constant issue. It varies from society to society as it can be noticed that different philosophers have different way of thinking about the concepts of education. The concept of education has evolved from law abiding citizens by Socrates to more rational thinking like that of Peter's philosophy of education which states that education consists of knowledge, transformation, cognitive perspective and care and commitment towards other individual, Peter's philosophy of education has a broader view and encompasses several aspects.
My perception of my role as a teacher is to impart knowledge to students. It is the transmission of knowledge, skills and attitudes from one generation to the other. With this work, I hope to address my teaching philosophy in regards to the subject I teach namely Arabic language and the Islamic sciences. I will also stress the importance of developing one's own philosophy as well as detailing my personal philosophy of teaching.
IMPORTANCE OF HAVING A TEACHING PHILOSOPHY
A teaching philosophy can be defined as personal statements regarding one's belief with respect to the teaching process. Furthermore it should be explained how one can apply these beliefs to the classroom. Your philosophy of teaching statement should reflect one's personal values and the needs of one's students.
Teaching philosophy statement gives a vivid picture of you as an educator. It helps outline classroom goals, increases emotional investment in teaching and increases consciousness. It is an extremely stimulating exercise and it is very important to describe one's goal and means to achieve it. A well-defined teaching philosophy can help teachers remain focused on their teaching goals and to appreciate fully the personal and professional rewards of teaching.
MY TEACHING PHILOSOPHY
Teaching in General
Several important general principles that I try to use in my teaching practice can be formulated as follows:
No matter how experienced a teacher is, every new class and every new student pose a challenge. For excellence in teaching, there is always room for improvement.
A teacher has to appeal to different learning styles, to offer a variety of instructional experiences, and to keep an open mind to new teaching techniques to give every student the opportunity to participate fully and actively in the learning process.
Being a successful teacher depends on creating a learning environment with the open exploration of ideas, a relationship in which students feel respected as well as challenged. Students should be encouraged to stretch themselves a bit beyond their level of comfort and be given an opportunity to leave every class feeling that they have overcome a new challenge successfully.
Teaching should be an integral component of the creation of new knowledge, an initial step toward continuing education, and first of all, self-education.
Lesson plans should be stimulating and interesting as one is judge by the level of boredom in one's classroom. Students will often label a boring teacher as a "bad teacher".
Teaching of the Islamic sciences
The Holy Prophet Muhammad e is reported to have said:
" Ø®ÙŽÙŠÙ’Ø±ÙÙƒÙÙ…Ù’ Ù…ÙŽÙ†Ù’ ØªÙŽØ¹ÙŽÙ„ÙŽÙ‘Ù…ÙŽ Ø§Ù„Ù’Ù‚ÙØ±Ù’Ø¢Ù†ÙŽ ÙˆÙŽØ¹ÙŽÙ„ÙŽÙ‘Ù…ÙŽÙ‡Ù "
"The best amongst people is the one who learns the Qur'an and then teaches it."
Thus, for me teaching of the Islamic sciences based on the Noble Qur'an and the wise sayings of the Prophet e is a honourable duty which I adore doing.
Teaching of Arabic
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[ Verily, we have sent it down as an Arabic Qur'an in order that you may understand. ]
"The Arabic language is the most eloquent, plain, deep and expressive of the meanings that might arise in one's mind. Therefore, the most honourable Book was revealed in the most honourable language, to the most honourable Prophet and Messenger, delivered by the most honourable angel, in the most honourable land on earth, and its revelation started during the most honourable month of the year, Ramadan. Therefore, the Qur'an is perfect in every respect." (Tafsir of Surah Yusuf - Ibn Kathir)
"No people in the world manifest such enthusiastic admiration for literary expression and are so moved by the word, spoken or written, as the Arabs. Modern audiences in Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo can be stirred to the highest degree by the recital of poems, only vaguely comprehended, and by the delivery of orations in the classical tongue, though it be only partially understood. The rhythm, the rhyme, the music, produces on them the effect of what they call "lawful magic (sihr halal)." (Philip K Hitti, History of the Arabs)
Ibn Hazm says; "...the most comprehensive of all languages, the clearest in expression, the least ambiguous, the most concise, and the most extensive in vocabulary to comprehend the names of all things, whether substances or accidents..."
Being an Arabic teacher as well as a lover of the subject, there are some features of Arabic that makes it a very special discipline. To name a few:
Arabic is spoken by over 323 million people worldwide as a first language, which is about the same as the number of native English speakers.
Arabic is the official language of 25 countries - the third most popular after English and French.
Many words that are used in English are of Arabic origin, such as alcohol (al-kohl ) ,sugar ('sukkar'), coffee (qahwa), giraffe (zarÄfa), jar (jarra), lemon (lÄ«mÅ«n), sheikh (sheikh)
Classical Arabic is the official language of over 20 countries and is the only form of Arabic taught in schools at all stages with each country also having its own local dialect (such as Egyptian, Syrian, Sudanese, Lebanese and so on)
All the different Arabic dialects use the same written alphabet.
Arabic is one of six official languages of the United Nations and a primary language of the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Conference, and the African Union.
Arabic is the language in which both the Qur'an and Sunnah are conveyed to the believers and is central to the Islamic faith and the Muslims. One needs to know Arabic in order to understand his prayers and other acts of worship.
The above statements alone motivate me to share my Arabic knowledge, among others, to my students. However, my goals for teaching the Arabic language are:
Enrich knowledge about the history of Arabic and its transmission throughout the centuries.
Understand the significance of the language and its importance in relation to Greek and Roman philosophy.
Make the child aware of the diversity that exists in this multicultural society and introduce CDs and DVDs in Arabic language and simple songs about family values that will make learning about this fun.
Enable students to enhance pronunciation accent since Arabic has a very deep accent and it gets hard to pronounce some of the words especially if one is used to English, or French.
Enable students to read Arabic effectively.
Enable students to understand their own thought processes.
Encourage a broader interest in Arabic.
Establish constructive student attitudes about Arabic.
Facilitate acquisition of life-long learning skills.
Foster a desire to ask Arabic questions.
Foster student discovery of Arabic.
Teach the beauty of Arabic.
Improve students' writing abilities.
Increase the number of Arabic majors.
Increase the students' Arabic knowledge.
Motivate students to make an effort to learn Arabic.
Open the doors to other opportunities for students.
Prepare future Arabic professionals.
Prepare students for technical careers.
Prepare students to be knowledgeable adults.
Teach students to work collaboratively.
It is, unfortunately, very difficult to try to show the real beauty of Arabic in the framework of most existing curricula as they are designed to feed students with often more facts than anyone could swallow. Just covering the required material usually takes a bit more time than is available. Another problem is that Arabic as a language can be quite difficult to learn and one has to spend years learning rules of the Arabic grammar first.
I consider Arabic to be a challenging subject to teach, which makes it especially attractive for me. I try to use every possibility to expose students to the exciting world of Arabic, often implicitly, so they may not even notice it at first. I think that students' participation is crucial for learning Arabic.
Teaching Styles and Methods
My Arabic classroom features multiple of methods of instruction that depends on:
The subject matter of the lesson, that is, the topic to be taught and
My experience with how individual students and in different classes best learn Arabic.
On some occasions, the student-centred approach or whole-class discussions are undertaken while on other occasions, small-group investigations are carried out and still others see individuals working one-on-one with another student or with me. This classroom interaction helps build relationships between my students and I and simultaneously, among the students themselves. These various classroom practices help address the varied learning styles found in the Arabic classroom.
Furthermore, I prepare my classes meticulously, but I like to improvise whenever possible. I dislike being interrupted during my explanation but I love it when the students ask questions afterwards; and I congratulate them for any good questions and comments. I open each session with a brief reminder of the previous session's material and an outline of the day's topic, and I typically conclude with a summary of key points. There is a special session for review before every major test. I usually speak clearly, loudly, and slowly, but enthusiastically. Students are encouraged to learn from each other as their grades are not curved, thus, students are not competing with their classmates. To reduce students' anxiety about tests, I normally give my students revision exercises before any major test and I encourage them to work extra problems on their own and come to see me for any problems. I do not consider memorization to be the most important in Arabic classes; this is why I make and encourage my students a lot to practice maximum number of problems. If the curriculum would have allowed it, I would make all my tests open-book/notes. Assignments and projects are naturally integrated into my courses. I spend time explaining the assignments and solving similar problems in class for further discussion.
Adapting my Instructions to help Students' Learning
There are several ways that teachers can adapt or modify instruction to accommodate students with disabilities or other learners who need assistance "learning how to learn." Often, these techniques are extensions of or variations on good instructional practice teachers routinely employ. Other techniques may require more planning and deliberate actions on the part of the teacher, but the result is more structured and accessible curricula for all students.
A general approach for teaching a learning strategy to students includes the following steps:
Pre-test students on the strategy and gain their interest in learning the strategy;
Describe the strategy;
Model the strategy;
Practice the strategy;
Provide feedback; and
Promote generalization (i.e., find many and various opportunities for students to use the strategy, across different classes and environments.
(Sturomski, N., 1997. NICHCY News Digest, July, 1997, pp. 7-10)
The following are general instructional methods that can be used together or in isolation. Remember it's helpful to combine these approaches with some of the learning strategies you are teaching students to use in the classroom or on their own. (emstac.org)
Use of Technology
Personally, I am a great fan of the newest educational software that may be used in the teaching and learning process. At present, to use software at college would appear unrealistic but I hope to find a change soon in the curricula which will make it real. However, students first need to understand that technology is a tool, and that technology must be used only as a tool. Central to my use of technology in the classroom is the idea that students must understand what they are doing even when they use technology as an aid.
It has been a frequent complaint of non-native students of Arabic that they cannot retain the vocabulary they study, and even when they recognize the words they learnt in their books, they do not understand the overall meaning of the text. I believe that consolidation of student's vocabulary through various media will lead to better acquisition of vocabulary and evolving the learners' language proficiency.
With the advent of tablet PCs, I am hopeful, Insha Allah that it is only a matter of time before the use of Arabic software and online examination at secondary level will be implemented. But, at the same time, I strongly oppose the abuse of technology.
My Teaching Philosophy
I am an educator in a private secondary school and I teach Arabic language and the Islamic sciences. My subject requires cognitive, affective as well as psychomotor skills. Education has also a large cognitive perspective. In my view, cognitive skill must be developed in students to allow higher order thinking and lead them to move higher up and compete in this world which is very competitive where cognitive skill is highly valued.
I believe also in a society of tolerance, in a society where people can live together peacefully. My role as a teacher is not only to act as a mentor, imparting knowledge and skills only for academic success, but also to build self-esteem and social skills in my students through collaborative work in class. Group works are often organized to allow social interaction among students of different background and culture. Group presentations help the students to interact and develop their interpersonal skills.
Among the values I cherish is to spark learners' enthusiasm for learning by arousing their interests in the subjects I teach. I try to relate the subject to their everyday experience and setting challenges.
In Islamic sciences the students have to develop logical reasoning and the challenge is to develop higher order thinking and critical thinking to solve problems in the matters of Fiqh, Aqeedah and so on.
Promoting positive thinking is also among the beliefs that guide my practice as a teacher. I believe firmly that teachers should inculcate positive thinking in our young children as from their early age and cherish these values as far as possible to produce good citizens and academics at the same time. Citizenship skills are very important and must be imparted to new generations to create and promote a society where it is good to live in.
I am also for promoting lifelong learning in students as we are living in a society which values lifelong learning. In class, I encourage student to do further research and reading. I give them topics which would trigger curiosity in them so that they read further beyond the limits of the syllabus. This is very important nowadays as on the job market, we need people who are capable of lifelong learning to improve their skills and knowledge and to move up the professional ladder.
A teacher must also be confident about the ability of his students. I believe that all students can learn. I as a teacher must be able to promote learning and create an atmosphere in which learning can take place. In the class there are certainly students of different ability and social background, yet all of them have the potential to learn. I, as a teacher cannot ignore some students because they are of low ability (slow-learners). Means and ways must be devised to get them all on board and to effect learning. No students can be left behind. Strategies must be devised for effective learning and teaching. A good teacher is one who can create changes into his students no matter the students' abilities.
Feedback is very important in teaching as it helps to improve teaching strategies and thus improve and promote a better learning atmosphere. Both teachers and learners benefit from feedback. Feedback helps to evaluate my teaching and indicates where improvements and changes can be made to adapt the teaching strategies to the students' needs.
To conclude, I can say that I am happy with my teaching philosophy; but improvements can still be made to my teaching strategies, whenever needed. I am for the idea of empowering both students and teachers in pursuing learning. I try to the best of my ability to be fair to my students showing sympathy and empathy in view of creating an environment where students feel comfortable to voice out their opinions and discuss topics which otherwise they might be hesitant to address. I treat my students with respect and value each and every student as an individual with their distinct characteristics and differences.