My Educational Philosophy
Teaching for Understanding
As a future professional educator for the social studies, I believe in the principle of teaching for understanding and preparing students to be global citizens. Having gained a foundation in educational psychology, through my schooling I have learned the important role it can play in the classroom. In applying various instructional psychology theories to the course, it will ultimately enrich the students educational experiences. Having an insight as to were the students are in their cognitive, personal, and social/morals development will allow me to utilize different methods such as, elaboration, visual imagery, organizational techniques, propose moral discussions/debates, and incorporate diversity into lessons to assist students in furthering their growth in these areas. In addition understanding where the students are in the developmental continuum, will also help an instructor like myself recognize what is motivating my students, which will be a valuable aid in creating lesson plans that will interest and help the learners meet their full potential. Having a grasp of different teaching and learning practices will help in the assessment/evaluation of the students progress throughout the year, aiding in helping the students developing their metacognition skills. These principles, ideas, and notions when used correctly can aid both the students in their learning progress and the educator in teaching for comprehension.
In educating students for understanding there is also an element of teaching awareness and appreciation for diversity. Diversity is an important issue in education as it can enrich a student's educational experience. Much can be learned from those who have experiences, beliefs, and points of view different from our own. These differences can help promote critical thinking, and allows learners to understand and communicate better with various persons of different cultural backgrounds. Diversity in the classroom will help to promote and prepare students to become better citizens and people of tomorrow by teaching them that members of society should be and are judged by the quality of their character and efforts, not by their gender, race, or personal beliefs. As an educator, it is important to consider diversity and incorporate it into the classroom whenever it is possible and appropriate. I would integrate the issues pertaining to this topic through the use of books, posters, and bulletin boards that are gender and ethnically balanced and offer an insight into different cultures. I would also merge activities when suitable to the subject material, which will develop and open a dialog for students to discuss and gain a better understanding of different races, religions, ethnicities, and cultures. In the field of Social Studies, it is important to provide students with a look at the minority groups history, to give a relational and holistic view of society. This can assist students in understanding where we have come from and where we are going into the future with globalization. It can also correct misinterpretations that popular culture has created over time. In addition to teaching a multicultural curriculum I also feel it is necessary for educators to lead by example. To fully promote tolerance and acceptance of others, one must be tolerant and accepting and create an environment where those notions and ideologies can be fostered. I am personally someone who is open-minded and has a general positive feeling towards diversity through my own experiences; I believe this attitude could be reflected onto my students, and will allow them to feel comfortable in sharing and creating their own positive perspectives, encounters and ideas about the issue.
To fully further the students' understanding and diversity in the classroom, I feel it is important to provide an equitable experience for all members of the class regardless of learning abilities, race and ethnic background. In order to achieve this as a teacher, it is necessary to understand the students, their background, identity, and learning levels. It is not only important to recognize these differences, but as an educator also be aware of how these dissimilar cultural and social circumstances may affect the students' learning, and be able to adapt, work with them, and include those perspectives into the lesson. Furthermore, to meet the learning needs and give an equitable education to all the students, including those with exceptionalities, different techniques and cognitive styles would be incorporated into the classroom. Various activities like the discussions and lecture would help those who acquire knowledge verbally, where as graphic aids and charts would assist in the development of visual learners and activities that require analysis and discourse made in the duration of the class would support the students who learn in a more analytical way. In addition to different teaching methods it is also imperative, that as an educator I am aware of my own personal beliefs and attitudes towards the members of my class and how it could interfere with communication and learning taking place in the classroom. Being aware of the thoughts and emotions I may have will better enable me to recognize how my actions may be perceived and correct anything that could negatively effect the students' learning.
The last element in teaching for understanding, to me as a teacher, is to be aware of the changes overtime in education both in the past and in the future. Our world is becoming more connected through technological advancements and has caused a shift in our society. As our culture and society changes the education system adapts to reflect the new ideologies. Today as our world becomes more understanding of various cultures, it is being reflected in the schools' curriculums. I feel it is my responsibility as a teacher to keep up to date with the advancements in the state standards and reforms in the education system. Being informed about the standards and by continuing to grow as an educator, I will be insuring that my students will be getting the information they need to be successful in their studies and lives, along with providing them with the best educational experience I can give them.