My Philosophy of Education
In developing a philosophy of education a person must first examine his own experience, character, beliefs and values. Then these must be verified or modified by the research and science of learning theories, brain studies and best practices. In addition one must consider the demands of the educational institution in which one is operating to foster learning. A philosophy without action has no value, but a philosophy put into active practice is like a river flowing within established banks, always being modified by the people and circumstances to which it is applied.
For example, while I sincerely believe that every student can learn and that it is the teacher’s responsibility to diversify educational activities to meet each student’s needs, the institution often mandates specific goals and objectives to be taught in a prescribed sequence. This requires the teacher to be both creative and flexible, as well as willing and able to morph ‘what has always worked before’ into more appropriate methods to meet established targets – a constant balancing act.
Another case of my beliefs being put into practice could be summarized by the golden rule, the ethic of reciprocity. One should treat others as one would like to be treated himself. Since I want to see a target before I shoot an arrow, I am a proponent of transparency, making goals, procedures and processes clear with no surprises for the students. I love learning, so I attempt to foster curiosity across a wide range of subjects and offer students techniques of becoming lifelong learners. Since I enjoy times when my own gifts are recognized, I arrange activities in which students may display and share theirs. Because I believe that all humans are brothers, I attempt to establish an atmosphere of brotherhood in the classroom. I love fun and laughter, so I try to make my class enjoyable and light-hearted while not denigrating the seriousness of our work together. I abhor favoritism, and so I strive to show no partiality, dealing with each student with kindness and respect.
You have undoubtedly heard the old saying, “Two heads are better than one.” That describes the ideal collegial environment for me. As in nature, diversity is fundamental to the health of the eco-system, so in an educational community, diversity of ideas and opinions is also key to success. One of the greatest advantages of working in a university setting is the ongoing opportunity to further learning for both instructors and students through cooperation and collaboration.
CELCIS is characteristic of WMU by having an excellent balance of curricular restraints and instructor freedom. CELCIS staff members are exemplars of collegial behavior, seeking improvement through research and professional development, sharing effective practices, and encouraging supportive conduct. This atmosphere is a perfect match for my teaching style, character and passion. In the future I hope to continue growing professionally in educational environments such as this. There is nothing more fulfilling for me than to work with others to help students learn.
My philosophy is not carved into stone tablets but is a living, growing thing, so periodically and as needed, I will continue to revise and add to this little work in process.