As a Mercy College student and aspiring teacher, it is very important for me to gain the knowledge that will help me be the best teacher I can. It can be difficult to be a student in so many ways. The amount of work we have to complete, the essays we must write and the homework assignments can cause tension and stress that can lead to headaches. The one thing that I took away from college is something that will stay with me throughout my life. Although the work load can be difficult to manage, once it’s over and I have gained knowledge, I will feel blessed and happy with how much I accomplished. This is honestly the most valuable thing I learned in college. It is an honor to do all the work, gain knowledge, and use that in my daily life. It’s not possible for everyone to attend school or college, learn from professors or receive knowledge from them. It’s important that students build relationships with their professors. This will show them that every student wants to learn from them, and is as motivated to succeed as possible. Professors are, in my opinion, some of the most talented people on the planet. If we think about it, it’s professors who make it possible for college students all over the globe to graduate and go on to the careers they love. Professors are responsible for the success and knowledge of people around the globe. It hurts me to admit that they don’t get the recognition, respect, or love they deserve. Professors must feel a connection with students and treat them like the sons and daughters they wish to see succeed. Professors must ensure that their students receive the education they need. However, while they should be teaching students, they should also make learning fun for them so that students come to class each day with a desire to learn. Professors and students can form a strong bond if they are able to understand one another and develop trust. Every professor and student can make a difference in the world, I believe.
My philosophy on education is that every child should be able to learn and receive a high quality education. Through my education, I have had the opportunity to learn from many different teachers. There have been classes that have had a profound impact on my life, and there have been others that have only left a small mark of influence. I’ve learned to discern between good teachers and bad ones. A powerful teacher is someone who can impart lessons in a variety of settings, can build a relationship with students and can be remembered by former students throughout their lives. My own teaching style, personal strengths and the traits of my former teachers have helped me to identify what makes an outstanding educator. It’s not easy to be a teacher. We have to put in the effort to achieve our goals.
Teaching students is a big responsibility for teachers. Teachers are responsible for instilling a positive attitude towards learning among their students. This is not just for today but for the future. From the time I was in school to now, when I am currently in college, I have had many teachers that have helped me in positive and challenging ways. In my reflection paper I mentioned that I struggled in school in Jordan when I was there. This was due to the physical punishments. Everything changed when I arrived in the United States. Because the American school system is so different to Jordan’s, my dislike of school turned into a liking. I feel more motivated and I continue to push myself to learn more. This realization makes me realize that not all teachers are worthy of the title “teacher”, which is reserved for exceptional ones. Every person learns differently and should be considered. I want to be a teacher that makes students enjoy school and helps them learn better.
John Dewey was an influential advocate for progressive education reform. My view of learning has been influenced greatly by many scholars. Talebi (2015) says that he believed education should be based upon the principle of learning by doing. Dewey and Harriet founded their first experimental school at the University of Chicago in 1894. Jean Piaget (a Swiss psychologist who is well-known for his work in child development) was another philosopher of education. I am currently enrolled on a course in Child Psychology. The two philosophers of education I am studying are Jean Piaget, and John Dewey. These philosophers stand out to me because I have a similar style of teaching and have experienced their teaching methods as a great learning experience for me. My child psychology book has lots of great information. Berk (2012) explains that Piaget’s epistemological view and his theory of cognitive development are combined to form “genetic epistemology.” Piaget was a great believer in the education of children. Piaget’s cognitive developmental theory of the individual has had the greatest influence on the field of child development today. Both philosophers believed that education is a way students can learn. Dewey, for example, reaffirms the belief that education and learning are social reforms that should be implemented. Dewey believes students can thrive when they have the chance to interact with the curriculum. All students should be able to participate in their own learning. He argued strongly for education’s importance as not only a place where one can gain knowledge but also as a place where one can learn how to live. He also stated that education should not be about acquiring a predetermined set skills but rather about realizing one’s full potential, and using those skills to benefit others. He also stated that “to prepare a student to his future life means giving him command of himself; it is to train him to have the full use of all of his capabilities” (Talebi 2015, p. 3-4). Motivating students is a key task in bringing out their best. A teacher’s job involves helping students reach their potential. It is important for teachers to do a deep analysis of the issues that could lead to unmotivated students. This includes social factors such as complicated family matters and complex family relationships. Sometimes, students may not be able to do their best work due to physical limitations. Dewey believed that educators of education should not be focused on producing people who can teach a son once they have finished the program. Instead, teachers should focus on producing professionals who are able to ask questions about the subjects they teach.
My philosophy of education encourages students to participate in curriculum development and learning by doing. Students must be able to participate in meaningful and authentic learning projects in order to learn in a group. A learning environment that encourages collaboration and interaction is ideal. Teachers should establish a foundation for their classrooms. There are many steps to academic success. Teachers should establish boundaries that are acceptable to all students, not just teachers.
Jean Piaget’s theory states that each child experiences the four stages of learning in the exact same order. The child’s developmental process is determined by biological maturity. These four stages are the sensorimotor stage, ages 0-2, pre-operational and concrete operational stages, ages 2-7, 7-11, and finally, formal operational, ages 11 and up. Berk (2012) identifies four major teaching implications from Piaget’s theory. They are:
- It is important to focus on the process and not just the products of children’s thinking. Teachers should not just check for the correct answer but also emphasize the process and understanding of the students in order to find the right answer.
- Recognizing the importance of children’s active participation in learning activities and their self-initiated involvement is crucial. Piagetian classrooms encourage children to explore their environment and not just present pre-made knowledge.
- There is a de-emphasis placed on practices that aim to make children think like adults. This refers back to the “American question” that Piaget called, which is “How can we accelerate development?” He believes that trying to accelerate and speed up the development of children through each stage could prove more damaging than not teaching at all.
- Last but not least, acceptance of individual differences in developmental progression. Piaget’s theory states that all children experience the same developmental stages, but at different rates. Teachers must therefore make an effort to organize classroom activities for individual children and groups of kids, rather than the entire class.
Piaget’s educational implications are that instruction should be tailored to the learners’ developmental level. The content of instruction must be compatible with the learner’s developmental level. Facilitating learning through various experiences is the primary role of the teacher. “Discovery Learning” allows students to experiment and explore, while encouraging new understandings. Learning opportunities that allow learners from different cognitive levels to collaborate often encourage students with less advanced skills to gain a deeper understanding of the material. The future of instruction is dependent on students learning through hands-on experiences.
- Berk, L.E. (2012). Infants and children; Prenatal through middle childhood. Pearson; New York City, New York.
- Talebi, K. (2015). John Dewey-Philosopher, and Educational Reformer. Online Submission, 1(1), 1-13