Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Teaching from the Heart: My Philosophy of Education

This is a puzzle I created to represent my philosophy of education.  I thought I would attach a written explanation of why this puzzle is representative of my beliefs and values so that it makes a little more sense than a bunch of words and pictures!  Also, I picked up the blank puzzle from Scholar's Choice - amazing teacher resource centre!  A teacher's heaven to be more specific... next to Dollarama of course.

My philosophy of education is that of a puzzle which require many pieces to arrive at the whole picture. When I began my studies at Brock University’s Teacher Education program, I was learning about so many ‘pieces’ that I had trouble making them fit together. However, over the last six months, those various pieces have now come together to create my understanding of the education system. My understanding of the education system along with my own personal beliefs and values has created my philosophy of education, which revolves around the heart. Hence, I have drawn a heart and placed it at the centre of my puzzle to represent how important I believe it is to have a heart and be compassionate when working in a classroom, a school, and the field of education.

In order to have a heart in the field of education, I feel strongly that a sense of community must be present and be of utmost importance to those who have the opportunity to build it in their classrooms and schools. I have drawn the Tribes Learning Community logo in order to represent my understanding of how to build community within a classroom. I was fortunate to be trained in Tribes this past year, and the strategies I have learned are invaluable and I truly believe that they will help me build an inclusive, fair, and safe environment where my students feel comfortable to learn and take risks. Tribes encourages a fun approach to learning, one that can engage all students and make them see how wonderful learning can be.

In conjunction with the building of community, I believe that equity is something that all teachers must strive for in providing for their students, who are so diverse in their learning styles, personalities, backgrounds in terms of both culture and family composition, and simply where they are coming from when they arrive at school each day. In order to provide for these diverse students, I uphold the belief that differentiated instruction is paramount in having a preventive, equitable approach to education, believing that all students can be reached and all students can learn if we give them the opportunity. Thus, I have drawn symbols to represent Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences and a globe to represent diversity.

I have added a few words and pictures to represent myself as the teacher in my classroom and school. I believe that regardless of the diversity, number and ability of the students, a teacher must believe that he or she can provide for those students and have the desire and ambition to do so. Students must be the focus of a teacher’s energy because they are the ones we want to change the world for and inspire them to continue to change the world and make it a better place. To do this, I believe teachers must be reflective and realize the power of collaboration. I will always work to involve as many people and resources as possible in my classroom because there is so much for students to experience outside of what one teacher can provide. I am naturally a very reflective person and so I will always work hard to reflect on what I am providing my students and find ways to improve, especially through collaboration and encouraging my students to do the same and build a sense of metacognition.

Finally, all of the aforementioned characteristics and qualities that I believe are important and contribute to my philosophy of education come back to the centre of my puzzle – the heart. Teachers need to care about and have compassion for their students. They need to have a sense of humour to show how fun learning can be if we all do it together and learn from our previous experiences. They need to have a heart and inspire their students to use theirs.