Philosophy of Education
My philosophy of education is to provide an inquiry-based, constructivist approach; helping students learn how to learn and instilling processes for lifelong learning through the use of project-based learning experiences developed using the Understanding by Design process. I feel strongly that when students are more active and involved in their education, and when those experiences mirror the real-world through authentic curriculum design, it becomes much more meaningful. I aim to make my classroom a comfortable place where students can feel at home.
I understand the importance of differentiation in the classroom – both for ability and learning styles. Each lesson should be diversified enough so that all students are able to learn in the environment that is the most comfortable for them. My goal is to make learning enjoyable for all students through creativity and humor, and by providing an open and caring classroom where all concerns can be addressed comfortably, and both students and parents feel welcome.
I ensure that classroom discussions and displays reflect a diverse and multicultural perspective. After studying in my classroom, I hope that my students are on their way to becoming well-rounded, open-minded and respectful individuals.
I believe my role as a teacher is not only to teach my students new information, but also to teach students how to learn, and instill processes for lifelong learning. I enjoy using technology as a tool for learning, and am always open new teaching possibilities.
Throughout my career as a teacher, I consistently participate in, and offer, Professional Development to continually revise and assess my own teaching practices. I will work together with staff, students, parents and administrators to continually improve. I never want my teaching to be stale, rote or old. As I learn more, I will strive to incorporate this new knowledge into my existing teaching techniques. Teaching will be a way for me to express my creativity and enjoy each day of my life.
Philosophy of Management and Discipline
As a specialist teacher, I see a great need for developing a clear and thorough classroom management plan. I believe students enjoy a structured environment where they are able to concentrate on their own learning. My management and discipline plan focuses on making the classroom an organized and structured community where the emphasis is on learning and enjoyable educational experiences.
I believe effectively run classrooms are those that utilize student input and independence in the classroom. It is important to have rules and guidelines so that students are aware of both expectations and consequences, but it is essential that students are involved in the creation of these structures. Student input makes rules and guidelines relevant to them and helps them understand the need for rules within the classroom. Class meetings are an ideal time to encourage student involvement in all aspects of the classroom community.
The organization of the classroom and materials is essential to a well-functioning management plan. Students should feel independent and in control during the school day. Classroom set-up should allow students to move freely around the classroom to obtain materials and supplies. Materials should be kept in a place close to where they are used and at a level that all students will be able reach. Much of the learning time in the classroom will be spent in group-work; therefore students need to be comfortable with the classroom procedures in order to function effectively.
In order to facilitate movement around the classroom and an effective learning environment, routines are established and practiced early in the year. We develop classroom procedures for every aspect of the school day, from lining up to sharpening pencils to changing classes. The students should be able to effectively run the classroom even when the teacher is not present because of the well-established routines we have developed.
In order to encourage student involvement in these procedures we establish student responsibilities in the classroom. Once students feel comfortable with the routines and procedures, and feel that they have a real responsibility in the effective management of the classroom, they will be interested in ensuring that the classroom runs smoothly.
I believe a teacher with a clear and thorough classroom management plan should not need to rely heavily on disciplinary structures to engage all students in the learning environment. At the beginning of the year, teachers should focus on empowering children to manage their own behavior. Structuring discipline policies to rely on intrinsic motivation rather than extrinsic rewards will help build a more constructive class community. When disciplinary problems arise, I deal privately and independently with the students involved in order to understand what prompted their misbehavior. I believe students should be partly responsible for their own consequences and should be held accountable for their behavior and attitude in the classroom.
I am consistent in my expectations as well as consequences to ensure that students clearly understand the cause and effect routine of the classroom. I express my interest and affection for my students on a daily basis. I believe students are individuals and each brings something special to the classroom. Good teachers are able to build upon the student’s past experience and diverse background to create a caring and open classroom. I respect each student’s multicultural history and incorporate his or her beliefs into the structure of our classroom.
I believe the key to good management and discipline policies in the classroom lies in respect – the teacher respecting the students and vice versa, as well as the students respecting each other. In a classroom where all beliefs are recognized and respected students will feel a personal investment in the community, and therefore naturally behave better. I will continually evaluate my classroom management philosophy to adapt and improve my teaching practices.