I believe that education has the power to change the world, and it is started from within the classroom. I have experienced teaching in and out of the classroom; through practicum and tutoring, and because of all these experiences, I have developed a personal philosophy on teaching.
Before teaching the curriculum, it is important to establish a community within the classroom. In order to motivate students, they must feel secure and safe in their classroom amongst their peers and their teacher. The beginning of the school year should be dedicated to creating the community, and this can be done through several ways. Firstly I feel that it is important to establish a level of trust through active listening, acknowledgement and communication. Not only is this important amongst the teacher and the students, but through student relationships as well. Secondly, there should be a list of class rules created by the students, for the students. In any case where one of these rules are not being followed, it can be referred back to. Students will feel a sense of ownership over the rules as they have worked into creating it themselves.
Secondly, I feel that students should feel in control and in charge of their own learning. Student-led learning will lead them to feel motivated and encouraged to be in school, and actively learn the material. In addition to student-led learning, collaboration must be practiced amongst students. I believe that we need to move away from competitiveness, and embrace a collaborative culture. Think-pair-share is an effective way of incorporating a collaborative culture; students must not only critically think about a topic, but shares these ideas with a classmate and gain new perspectives and knowledge. It also creates an atmosphere where working together is positive, and should be done to further knowledge and learning.
I strongly feel that the brain deserves to be exercised. This can be done by challenging our students to think, and in various ways. Students need to be given the opportunity to think critically, creatively, reflectively, and in a higher order. Students should be able to explore in their learning, and understand not only why they are learning about certain subjects, but also how it connects to real life. Making these connections will allow our students to think in these various ways.
Lastly, and more abstractly, I feel that as teachers, we must strive towards creating a sense of belief within our students. Many a time, students will receive a certain grade, and subsequently lose motivation. They will believe that the grade represents them as a person, which is not the case. There are several ways to instill a sense of belief in our students, and I heavily rely on two of them. Firstly, feedback is extremely important from the academic standpoint. Students cannot be given a set of instructions, and be expected to create their ‘best work’ final version on one try. Instead, providing feedback throughout the lesson will allow the student to see what they are doing well, and what they need to continue to work on. Feedback will provide the student the chance to submit their ‘best work’. Secondly, it is important to dedicated time to discuss topics outside of the curriculum, especially in regards to stress and anxiety, and feelings towards school and grades. By opening up discussion, the teacher will know where their students stand on these issues, and begin to slowly instill a growth mindset. Students need teachers to believe in them, and show them ways to believe in themselves.