Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Educational Philosophy Essay

My approach to education is student-centered. I always try to ensure that students are given the best opportunities to build upon their existing knowledge and capacities. I believe that education is not only about knowledge-transfer but it is about transforming people and building their capabilities to make sense of their experiences and to be able to use higher order thinking skills so they can be better individuals and better citizens of society. Based on my experience as an educator, the principles that underlie my teaching are influenced by constructivist paradigms, which posit â€Å"that meaning or knowledge is actively constructed in the human mind. † (Richardson, 2003, p. 1625) Hence, education is not stagnant but a continuous process, and the role of the educator is to enable students to be able to establish a connection between theory and experience, to make sense of their realities and lived experiences based on what they learn from other settings, whether it is school, work, or even in their relationships with other people. I believe that a good teacher is one who makes effort to know his or her students, including their socio-economic backgrounds, and pays attention to the way that the students interact or create their own knowledge. In this sense, a good teacher is one who considers the learning needs of his/her students, who is able to adapt strategies that would build on students’ capacities and learning styles, and who ensures that students have equal access to learning opportunities by making teaching content relevant to the students’ unique backgound and context (UNESCO, 2004, p. 5). In the same manner, a good learner is one who attempts to discover his or her own learning style, strength, and weaknesses and tries his/her best to make his/her learning relevant and useful in his/her daily life. In learning settings, students and teachers have different responsibilities, both of which are defined by individual and social expectations. A teacher is expected to attempt to provide his/her students with learning opportunities based on their specific and oftentimes diverse needs. (UNESCO, 2004, p. 6) Meanwhile, a student is expected to be responsible for directing his or her own learning, and to develop his/her awareness of his/her learning needs in order to maximize the opportunities for learning that he/she encounters. I believe that people are actively involved in their learning. Learning results from individuals’ interaction with the environment and their attempt to make sense of these experiences. (Fry, Ketteridge, & Marshall, 2003, p. 9) Hence, people learn by building on what they already know and they are usually interested in learning when it has relevance for them. Among the most important environmental factors that influence an individual’s ability to learn are the quality of feedback, the availability of tools and mechanisms to support and facilitate learning, and the student’s quality of life or living conditions. Thus, the presence of appropriate feedback based on the students’ accomplishments, the ability of the teacher or the school to provide students with learning tools and opportunities, and the relevance of the education to the students’ cultural and socio-economic background would enable the students to maximize their own learning potentials. There are also personal and interpersonal factors that either promote or impede learning. One is an individual’s inherent capacity that is determined by his or her biological constitution or by genetics. Likewise, an individual’s personality, which affects his or her disposition toward the environment impacts on his or her ability to learn. Decisions on the goals of instruction are made based on the needs and expectations of the learners, the teaching setting, the needs of the organization, and the wider needs and expectations from the community. I try as much as possible to put the needs of the learners above other considerations. However, the goals of instruction also have to incorporate the teaching setting and the needs of other stakeholders such as the organization sponsoring the class and the needs of the community wherein the instruction takes place. The factors that influence my choice of teaching and evaluation strategies are the concrete needs of the students based on the evaluation of their performance and also their interests. I choose teaching strategies based on the interests and capacities of my students and on the goals of the instruction. Evaluation strategies are chosen based on their effectiveness, appropriateness, and ability to concretely measure student performance based on the goals of the instruction. Evaluating my own strengths as an educator, what makes me most proud in my practice is my ability to establish an easy rapport with my students and to easily identify their interests by taking time to know them personally. I would like to believe that I was able to influence most of them to look at life as a continuing journey towards knowing more about themselves and about their environment, and to value education not only in its formal sense but in its relevance in establishing meaning from experiences and realities. My educational philosophy and principles are demonstrated in my track record as an educator in the non-formal education system. As a teacher of adult classes in church, I was able to develop my own style of teaching that is grounded on the experience and realities of my students, and which considers the significance of what they learn from these classes on their daily lives. My stint as an instructor in the U. S. Army and my current employment as the Manager Instructor for FedEx, where I teach safe driving habits to adult drivers, also enable me to constantly hone my teaching skills based on the diversity of teaching settings and the kind of students I encounter. Works Cited: Fry, H. , Ketteridge, S. , & S. Marshall (2003). A handbook for teaching and learning in higher education. VA, USA: Kogan Page. Richardson, V. (2003). Constructivist pedagogy. Teachers College Record, 105(9):1623-1640. UNESCO (2004). Changing teaching practices: using curriculum differentiation to respond to students’ diversity. Paris, France: UNESCO.

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