I believe that learning is a life-long adventure that is led by natural curiosity and individual desires, and that schools provide a learning environment that encourages and provides support in learning. My philosophy shapes my ideas about who learners are, what school should be, and my duty as a teacher.
Once basic needs are fulfilled, learners have a natural curiosity and excitement to learn. Furthermore, students become deeply engaged in learning material through exploring their own passion in addition to the teacher’s passion about the material. Students are able to understand and critically examine new ideas by connecting and contrasting them to what they already know. Therefore it is important for learners to connect and work in new ideas, lessons, learning material, etc. into their personal passions. Everyone is different and learns differently. Helping students discover their element/talent and encouraging them to bring it into their work is vital in shaping students that are able to succeed as life-long learners. Having students discover who they are and what drives them will help them understand where they want to go. Additionally, our learning environments can further that excitement, in turn encouraging great learning.
Schools should be safe and comfortable spaces that encourage learning. My students know they can talk to me and I always make time for student needs and check in with students if ever I feel there is something they are struggling with. Schools should truly be a community of learners where students are able to connect with peers and learn collaboratively, feel respected, be accepted as diverse thinkers/learners, and discover and explore their passions through all subject areas. Schools should provide support for the individual. Schools should be interconnected with the community as to break down the walls of the classroom and model collaboration. It is my job to shape the learners environment so that learners are able to access an education that supports them.
I believe teaching should engage with this natural excitement and individual passions, and also that I should project my own excitement/passion of the material. Teaching should start with the presentation of the new learning material and invite students to engage in and direct a discussion that helps them work out their ideas, such as what they know and what they are unsure about. It is also my job to create an open and student-friendly environment, so that students are comfortable in exploring their ideas, striving for personal growth and participating in group discussion. I ensure that the way I teach supports long-term learning and growth by making connections between the material they are learning and their own lives, passions and other knowledge they have. The teaching methods I use to instruct students are reflective of the group of learners, by ensuring I use materials and provide resources that support the many narratives that exist and avoid giving voice to only one narrative. The delivery of material also has to support different types of learners, so that a lesson plan does not cater to only one way of knowing and instead acknowledges the diversity of learners that exists and celebrates diversity. Additionally, my assessment of learning allows different types of learners to express their understanding ways that suite them. As learning is a life-long process, I strive for deep and meaningful understanding of the material over simple memorization of information.
My goal overall is to utilize the natural curiosity in learners and encourage the development of personal passions, as well as to encourage an excitement for, and engagement with, education in general. My opinion of education stems from personal experience and the things I have learned through those experiences and through my own process of life-long learning. And so I continue to believe that, “the teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.” –Khalil Gibran