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Riggs and Gholar argue that The most successful teachers are able to adapt their teaching style to the unique and diverse skills and abilities of their students. To me Riggs and Gholar imply that each child or learner is unique and an idiosyncratic human being who requires a conducive teaching/learning atmosphere that is well secured, that has elements of caring and a motivating environment in which he/she will grow and develop spiritually, socially, emotionally, morally, and intellectually. I believe that my aim as a teacher is to coach, direct and guide the learners meet each one's maximum potential in the studies they undertake through the provision of an atmosphere that calls for idea sharing, an atmosphere that is safe, an atmosphere that encourages risk-taking, and an atmosphere that allows the learners explore the world in negotiating meaning. All human beings possess the ability and skill of learning, hence my duty is to aid the individual learners realise and know how best each one can learn. It is also my duty to help in the provision of the skills and resources to promote the development of their learning abilities.
To teach means to have the courage to develop spiritual will - to foster students' inner strength and desire to learn. To teach means to have the courage to foster cultural will - to celebrate the uniqueness of every human who has lived in the past, is living in the present, and will live in the future. To teach means to have the courage to view life as opportunity- to support and transform the human condition. To teach means to have the courage to know ourselves - to invite our unknown, creative, and spiritual components to lead us into responsible action. (Riggs and Gholar 2009)
As a teacher, my principal roles are to direct, guide, and provide the students with the leeway to the information/knowledge and not to act as a primary source of information. The learners have to search for information/knowledge/meaning; their search for information/knowledge/meaning is met as they learn to figure out the answers to the questions before them.
Brooks and Brooks (1993) in their book In Search of Understanding: The Case for Constructivist Classrooms, they argue that "â€¦ the best way to learn is by having students construct their own knowledge instead of having someone construct it for them. This theory states that learning is an active process of creating meaning from different experiences. â€¦students will learn best by trying to make sense of something on their own with the teacher as a guide to help them along the way." In order for the learners to construct knowledge, they must be accorded a motivating opportunity in which they will generate knowledge on their own and they will try practicing the self-learned skills in concrete real-life circumstances. Again self-discovery alone is not enough; it is equally cardinal for me the teacher to create an environment in which the learners will experience interactions that are relevant and meaningful to each individual learner's life. In my learning/teaching sessions, I would incorporate the technologies that the individual learners use in their day-to-day activities. Again what the learners should learn that is the curriculum must be generated from the interests and desires of the learners which promotes intrinsic motivation and arouses the passion of learning.
Other than promoting learning of the subject matter/content, my aim is to promote the development of emotional growth of the learners. The learners should be helped develop a deeper love and self-respect, respect for others, respect for the environment, as well as respect for other cultures. My hope is to produce an environment where the desires and voice of each individual learner will be heard where the learners would express themselves freely. Apple and Beane (2007) argue that "â€¦ a democratic curriculum emphasizes access to a wide range of information and the right of those varied opinion to have their viewpoints heard."
Again I believe that children are not empty vessels the time they enter school, they rather have some education or traditional knowledge that they may have picked in the society they were born from. So it is important as a teacher to consider the prior knowledge that a learner has in order to figure out or negotiate a better way of reconciling it with the new knowledge the learner has to acquire.
Children are unique individuals and each one has his/her unique individual needs, thus as a teacher I need to attend to the idiosyncratic needs of each individual learner. It is important that each child is attended to uniquely, thus this calls for consideration of 'humanistic' approach to learning. Yount (1996) states that "â€¦educational humanism simply means that educators are very interested in the personal needs and concerns of each of their students." Thus this suggests that each child or learner internalises the content material according to his/her ability as well as according to one's own pace. I look at the attitudes of the learners, my main goal is to modify the attitude of my students. I prepare personal lesson plans and lessons to meet each individual learner's needs in relation to their attitude. Again Yount says that most humanistic teachers believe and have faith in religion, they attach Christian values that promote the development and growth of an individual in society. In this case there must be a concern for the individual person and his/her personal needs. As Christians we need to attach Christian values that promote personal, individual development and growth.
Maslow is another best known proponent of humanistic approach to education and in his developing of the hierarchy of needs he suggests that "Students learn best when they have substantial input in the learning process." As a teacher I provide multiple learning options and my individual learners have the freedom to choose what may work well for each one. I believe that for my learners to succeed in their learning, they need freedom in all aspects of the classroom interactions. At times I ask my learners what they would like to learn and how they would like to learn that.
Furthermore behaviouristic elements of learning such as reinforcement, praising or acknowledging the learner's effort is a very encouraging aspect of teaching to the learner. By acknowledging and praising or giving a reward to a learner who has done well, the learner would be encouraged to do more and develop the interest in learning.
In the above discussion, I suggest that it is helpful to consider positive elements of each learning theory in one's lesson session(s). I normally pick the elements that are positive, helpful from either constructivist, behaviouristic, humanistic, and or cognitive teaching/learning theories. I try to combine the teaching/learning styles depending on what sense or logic may require me to do.
Teaching gives me a chance to continuously learn, develop, and experience a gradual growth of my understanding of the world. My greatest challenge as a teacher is to gradually but firmly establish the love of acquiring more knowledge in my learners, as I share my intense enthusiasm for learning with them. There is need for committed individuals, compassionate individuals, dedicated individuals, and passionate individuals who are interested in collaborating with the young people in their search of knowledge. In this contemporary world of competition, it is worthwhile for learners to acquire a standard, solid, and firm education. Therefore, there is great need for the learners to work with individual teachers who are aware and are up-to-date with the learners' individual needs.
This is my learning/teaching philosophy, I strongly believe in it and I believe it can bring about effective teaching/learning experiences. Others may agree with this, yet others may not agree with this.