My philosophy of education changes and grows with Aha! moments in the classroom, conversations with other teachers, workshops, and quiet moments of reflection. I truly believe that learning is lifelong and teaching provides ample opportunity for myself to learn and grow not only professionally, but personally as well. In my experience as a teacher, learning is meaningful, lifelong, and fun. I love to learn! Thus, as I seek to educate, my goal is to instill a love of learning in my students.
I believe that children are capable and enthusiastic learners. They have an innate sense of wonder, a drive to explore and make sense of the world around them, and experience joy through the process of reaching mastery in whatever they are learning.
Children learn through exploration and discovery. As a mother, I notice my young daughter learn through all of her senses. She does not just take in the colour of her stuffed animal, or just feel it’s softness against her skin. The poor stuffed monkey is sniffed and chewed on and through this abuse my daughter is learning. I believe this type of learning should not be lost in the classroom. Exploration, however, does not happen when a child is copying notes off a whiteboard, or reading a passage in a text. As a teacher, I want to provide a wide variety of learning experiences so that a child not only knows that worms help in decomposing, but they’ve seen it, smelt it,…and perhaps even felt it.
Education should not be segregated. We learn through making connections. For example a child can learn that an orange is the same shape and colour as a basketball, but after a quick experiment we can learn that sadly the orange does not bounce. In that one example a child learns about science, math, visual art, vocabulary, and physical education is even thrown in to the mix. I love integrating subject matter! In my internship I took on math as the subject I carried from beginning to end. When learning patterns my students have acted them out, worn them, sung them, played them, drawn them, built them, found them around the school, and on the day we used cereal to explore attributes of objects, a few probably even put their taste buds into play. I knew the connection had been made when a pair of my students discovered they could arrange the bowls in their dishwasher into an AB colour pattern.
Lastly, successful learning can only happen when a child feels safe, secure, and accepted. I believe seeking to meet this need is probably the most important role of a teacher. A teacher should seek to create an environment where students are treated fairly, with respect, and where empathy is fostered. Learning happens when a child knows that they can go to a friend and not be laughed at, take a risk and not be chastised, be challenged, but not overwhelmed, share with the teacher and be listened to.