Teaching philosophy

As a member of society, I am interested in creating happiness, success and health for all. As a teacher I believe that with our inheritance of accumulated knowledge, creative intelligence and wisdom, we, as educators, have the power to create a society where people have a self-sustaining power to create this happiness. As a teacher I feel successful when my students have become independent, creative and happy people, who are able to support themselves and their families. This means that my main learning goals for my students are the following: becoming better problem solvers, becoming independent workers and socially responsible citizens, and contribute to this collective happiness.

Traditional knowledge is disappearing at an alarming rate, as the creations of craftspeople are replaced by factory-made products, which are not designed with a concern for the improvement of human life, but merely for profit. Traditional education, where all students basically are instructed according to the same curriculum, does not fit their and our future needs. I believe that in order to design education that is concerned with the improvement of our society, we need to use this traditional knowledge creatively and have our students learn from first-hand (challenge-based) experiences as well as learn from one another.

When students learn from other cultures, be it about practical solutions or more about human relations, their respect for them increases along with the strong sense of interdependency.

I believe that we can build a society in which all people can be successful. I do not define success in terms of competition (one wins so the other must fail) but in terms of universal growth, health, and maturity.

For many people in our society, life is dull and lacking any sense of adventure. I like to develop in my students the sense of wonder, excitement, meaning and eagerness to learn. The Outward Bound movement demonstrates positive approaches to develop this in their students. Their mottos: ”Learning by Doing” and “To seek, to serve, and not to yield” could be mine. Students need to feel useful and needed, and the development of manual, hands-on skills is just as important for their full emotional and intellectual growth as the development of abstract thinking, reading and writing.

When it comes to teaching styles, I feel that I must have at my disposal several different ways of teaching, for my students will have different ways of learning.  For example, some students will be strong listeners, but others will be more visually oriented.  There will also be those who learn by means of discussion, and still others learn best by doing.  As a teacher, my objective is to be as effective as I can possibly be.  Therefore, I devise a diagnostics exercise to determine their learning styles, and on the basis of that data I plan my lessons and the assessments thereof.

With regard to classroom management, I believe that there are two components: expectations and work.  Expectations involve knowing exactly what to expect in my class.  In order to do this, I establish a set of rules that, for the most part, have to do with mutual respect, hard work, safety and caring.  After I have explained the rules, I then explain what the consequences of breaking the rules will be.  First, there is a warning.  If the problem persists, there will be a second warning.  If there is no change in the student’s behavior, I will hold a conference with the student.  If that proves ineffective, I will bring it to the attention of the student’s parents.  The most important part of this is being consistent.  Once the kids realize that I will actually follow this process, most behavioral infractions will not proceed beyond the first warning.   The other component to good classroom management is keeping the students engaged in work that is meaningful, challenging, and enjoyable.  For if the lessons make sense , are challenging but doable, and enjoyable, the students will have neither the time nor the occasion to misbehave.

Thus, the planning of instruction is vital.  In order for lessons and their assessments to be meaningful, challenging, and fun, lessons must be planned very well.  I also feel that students need to have a sense that the teacher really knows what he/she is doing, which is also crucial for classroom management.  Indeed, so much care should be put into the planning to anticipate any eventuality.  For example, it could happen that the students complete their assigned tasks earlier than was anticipated.  If that were the case, then the teacher could start the next lesson a bit sooner.  It could also happen that they need more time to complete a project.  The point that I am trying to make here is that good planning must anticipate the unexpected.

As a teacher I believe my role as a model is maybe the most influential to my students’ growth. Therefore, I show them my own process of designing, making and evaluating my projects by working alongside them. I show them the need for community involvement by volunteering myself in several community events, I show them the value of nonviolence, integrity and fairness. I show them respect and value their opinions and ideas. I show them that as a teacher I am not an authority of specialized knowledge, an expert who has all the answers, but that I am merely a designer of the learning process and that I foster a mutually shared responsibility in producing knowledge and learning. I show my students that being an active participant in civic life is the ultimate goal of the ethos of education.