My Thoughts on Education
As I come to the final few weeks of my Bachelor of Education, I have been reflecting a lot on what I have learned over the last two years. In my classes, from my professors, during my practicums, within books/documents, and (of course) on Twitter, I have been exposed to a number of important educational practices and theories. As I enter into the period of my life wherein I am able to actualize my vocational journey and enter into the classroom as a full-fledged teacher, I knew I had to write down a few of my thoughts about my own practice.
Every child is a unique individual that requires a safe, supportive, and stimulating environment in which to grow and mature emotionally, intellectually, physically, and socially. As an educator, I embrace the opportunity to create a learning environment in which students are able to flourish as learners and as people, developing into positive and active members of society. I think of myself as a ‘facilitator of learning,’ where I provide authentic learning opportunities for my students to inquire and discover as I continue to learn alongside them. Teacher facilitated, student-driven learning allows students to learn by doing, writing, designing, creating, making and solving, not just by listening.
I strongly believe that creating a positive, safe and supportive classroom environment is one of the most important aspects of teaching and learning. If students do not feel safe in my classroom, whether it is emotionally, physically, or socially, their defense mechanisms will go up and learning will be difficult. Students want to feel comfortable to express themselves freely, without the fear of rejection. This not only benefits their self-image, but allows them to take academic risks, which enhances overall learning. It is important to me that my students, as well as their parents, other teachers, administrators, and people in the community, see me as someone they can approach in any situation.
As I reflect on my beliefs regarding teaching and learning, I find that my mission as a teacher is threefold:
- to promote positive learning;
- to spark enthusiasm for learning;
- and to provide a strong foundation for lifelong learning.
The classroom and school environment should be a place of positivity, where students are celebrated for their accomplishments. In order to achieve positive learning, I welcome and embrace themes of inclusion, cultural diversity, and student voice. Students must be interested in what they are learning and see the relevance of that learning to their own life. Student-driven and inquiry-based opportunities not only allow students to take ownership of their learning, but it also incorporates differentiation instruction to meet the needs of all learners. This, in turn, ensures that students feel confident in their ability to succeed. Through these types of positive learning opportunities, I am able to provide authentic feedback to each student and prepare them for further learning extensions.
In my teaching, I try to make learning as fun and interactive as possible for my students. I find that this helps to spark enthusiasm for learning, which leads to an increase in attention, retention, and performance. I implement a variety of engaging teaching methods and approach topics in a number of ways. Tactile, hands-on learning catches the students’ attention and helps to solidify the concepts being explored. Movement throughout the classroom during learning, through gallery walks, group discussions, graffiti activities and other Embodied Learning instructional strategies, helps to stimulate the brain and concretize learning. As a Google Certified Educator, I am also a strong advocate for integrating technology during student learning. I believe that technology helps to spark students’ enthusiasm for learning and maximize the learning taking place.
I believe that in order to promote positive learning, students must first want to learn and feel comfortable doing so. I am a firm believer that in every mistake, there is a potential for growth. I try on a daily basis to instill a growth mindset in each and every student, as I believe that this mindset is the root of all academic achievement and excellence. By teaching my students to be resilient in every difficult situation, they will see that perseverance will lead them to great things. I recognize that my students are people first and I focus on developing positive self-images and enriching my students’ self-esteem through character building and positive interactions. More than anything, I hope that my students learn to be comfortable in their own skin, feel a sense of pride for all of their accomplishments, and develop a passion and love for learning.
It is my belief that a good education is the most important thing that we can provide the younger generation. It is a very rewarding experience empowering children to grasp the foundational knowledge and skills that they will use for the rest of their lives. As a lifelong learner myself, I hope to instill a love of learning in my students that will prepare them for successful and happy lives. I believe that teaching is my vocation and I am appreciative every day that I am able to fulfill my life’s purpose.