There is a saying, “With great power, comes great responsibility”. As an educator, I am conscious of the great responsibilities that come with my profession. Consequently, it is my philosophy as a special educator to help my students reach and maintain their fullest potential holistically; by providing an environment that practices impartiality and respect.
I consider each child to be a unique individual who desires a caring, stimulating and secure environment; in which to develop and blossom sympathetically, intellectually, physically, and socially. There are many elements that I believe can contribute to creating such an environment. However three of these are: the educator being a guide, the implementation of discovery learning and the promoting of equality and equity in the classroom. Therefore, I will assist children in discovering who they are, so they can express their own opinions and nurture their own ideas.
I believe that each classroom possess a distinctive neighbourhood of learners that varies not only in abilities, but also in learning styles.
Hence, I am of the philosophy that teachers are to present real life problems to the children and then guide the students to solve the problem by providing them with a hands-on activity to learn the solution. I have come to believe that one of the roles of the teacher is to be a learning guide, an instructive facilitator, and an agent of educational empowerment. Therefore, I will give my children the tools with which to nurture their intellectual capabilities. To accomplish this goal, I will teach my students according to their needs so that all learners can feel motivated, capable and successful. I will develop the curriculum around my students’ interests and foster intrinsic motivation that will stimulate their enthusiasm to learn.
I will incorporate themes, integrated units, projects, group and individual work, and experimental learning in order to make children more active learners. I will also, mix learning with real life experiences to better help children become caring and active members of society.C urriculum matters mainly because of its potential impacts on students. The fundamental purpose of curriculum development is to ensure that students receive integrated, coherent learning experiences that contribute towards their personal, academic and professional learning and development.
Students must have initiative; they should not be mere imitators. They must learn to think and act for themselves and be free. I also strongly believe in the discovery learning in the teaching and learning process. This inductive strategy gives students the opportunity to study things that are meaningful and relevant to their lives and interests. As an educator this is one technique I used on teaching practice. I remember my first reading lesson; I just didn’t know how to get my students interested in reading.
So I picked up the biggest and funniest book I could find from the reading corner. Entitled, “Harriet Hen has six chickens”, I started by turning the pages and the students began to read pictures and predict what the text was about. It was an amazing experience. They end up writing their own version of stories for that lesson, with my guide. My students were engaged and thinking on a level I never knew they could; this made me extremely happy. I would recommend it even though it is not for all students. It has encouraged most of my students’ to exchange of ideas about the lessons and units of study.
Given the opportunity for input, students generate ideas and set goals that made far much richer activities than I could have created or imagined myself. I used utilized the curriculum because it matters mainly because of its potential impacts on students. The fundamental purpose of curriculum development is to ensure that students receive integrated, coherent learning experiences that contribute towards their personal, academic and professional learning and development. When students have ownership in the curriculum, they are motivated to work hard and master the skills necessary to reach their goals.
Hence, all students should have the resources necessary for a high-quality education.
But the truth remains that some students need more to get there. It requires a sufficient distribution of resources for different groups of people. This can be made possible by demonstrating equality and equity in education. The words equality and equity have different meanings. Equity speaks to public actions and policies in the cause of fairness and social justice. Educational equity refers to equal access, opportunities, and expectations in education for all persons, irrespective of their backgrounds or status. Equality of educational outcomes and on achievement gaps, among different socioeconomic, ethnic, gender, and disability groups.
Yes, making sure all students have equal access to resources is an important goal. Here’s where equity comes in. The students who are furthest behind, most often low-income students and students of color, require more of those resources to catch up, succeed, and eventually, close the achievement gap.
Giving students who come to school lagging academically (because of factors outside of a school’s control) the exact same resources as students in higher income schools alone will not close the achievement gap. But making sure that low-income students and students of color have access to exceptional teachers and that their schools have the funding to provide them with the kind of high-quality education they need to succeed will continue us on the path toward narrowing that gap, Mann, (2014). It is very easy to take education for granted and overlook how significant it is in life and the impact it has on people the world and the future.
Consequently, many individuals go to school on a daily basis, wasting time and money and not realizing that this place really serves a purpose in their life and future. This makes me ask the question. Is education all that important? Yes! In deed and Martin Luther king who is one of our great philosophers of all times has confirm that. According to Martin Luther king Jr. (1968). The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to this critically.
“Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education’’. I believe that first and foremost the purpose of education is to give everyone an opportunity as a means to succeed in life by providing the perfect place for critical thinking and for personal opinions to develop.
As Emerson puts it “every young man is born with some determination in his nature and is a potential genius”. I stand to say, education is a way of enlightening the thought of an individual a way of fostering that inner genius in everybody. It is to create a spark and create the sense of realization about the purpose of life, world and the universe. By having the skill of critical thinking, people will be able to do things with logic and reason. This can be lead through education
Looking at the philosophical perspectives of Michael Manley and John Dewey, they both discuss the various ways they believe the greater good can be achieved through education. In this paper I will compare and assess Manley and Dewey’s educational perspectives to that of mine.
To begin, John Dewey was a strong proponent for progressive educational reform. Dewey referred to his philosophy as instrumentalism, rather than pragmatism, though the two are related. Instrumentalism sees the value of an idea or tool being its use as an instrument for getting results. Bearing this in mind, learning should be relevant and rewarding – rather than only theoretical. He believed that education should be based on the principle of learning through doing. He believed that teachers should be ready to embrace and motivate the craving for knowledge, and serve as guides in the investigations and experimental learning.
John Dewey also believed that there should be communication between the student and the teacher. John Dewey also believed in discovery learning; especially with the blending in with real life experiences in the teaching and learning process. He wrote in, ‘My Pedagogic Creed’,(1897). That he believed that Students were much more likely to embrace mathematics, for example, if they could see how it applied to their daily lives. He even stated that: “I believe that the school must represent present life – life as real and vital to the child as that which he carries on in the home, in the neighborhood, or on the playground.”
As for Michael Manley he believed that education would create vital opportunities in several sectors facilitating economic development. Being as educated individuals are better equipped to participate in fulfilling their roles in the society; as the skills obtained in school facilitate efficient and effective execution of tasks. He strongly believed that equal opportunities exercised through equity in the educational system would end the struggle by psychologically transforming the nation.
Thus, Manley envisioning an empowered society, believed that it is fair and just for every individual to receive equal educational opportunities regardless of his/her race, status or ethnicity. In his book, ‘The Politics of Change’ (1974), Manley discusses imperialism, human rights, and how education can yield productivity. As a great philosopher Manley deeply believed in free public education as a primary mechanism for providing equal educational access and opportunities to all persons, for preparing its people for individual participation in society.
These philosophers and their views as somewhat correlated with my philosophy of education. Dewey believed it was vital for schools to encourage students to think for themselves. They would then be more likely to become active citizens who could help to shape a better society. Manley believed that through education people would be self transformed causing them to be better equipped to take a full and active part in shaping their future in society. These philosophers’ beliefs and mine have implacable inimitable similarities.
The effect of sexism can have on my philosophy of education
From the beginning of the educational system there has been evidence of hidden sexism in the classroom, yet it was not until this assignment that I have began to take a closer look at sexism in the classroom. This is not a problem that has just occurred overnight in schools. I believe that it has a history.
Take a look at one of the world’s greatest philosophers Jean Jacques Rousseau. He spoke ‘sexism’ openly without any apology in his book Émile, published in 1762. Rousseau believed females were to be educated to be governed by their husbands. They were to be weak and passive, brought up in ignorance and meant to do housework. Males were to be educated to be self-governed, and the philosophies in essentially only pertained to males in society. The natural purpose of a woman is to please a man. She is expected to have and care for children, and to please, advise and console her husband whenever necessary. Her education does not extend beyond this purpose, Rousseau, (1762).
I must admit that everyone has been discriminated against or harassed at some point in their lives. Sexism is real, even though my educational philosophy is against Rousseau’s, due to the fact that mine is gender neutral. However, could be tainted if not carefully guided by my teaching beliefs. Reason being, while on teaching practice, I realized how easily my philosophy of education could be defiled by unintentionally practicing sexism. It all began when it drew near to assessment days. I found myself gravitating to group one students which is consisting of only boys.
I would ask questions and prompt them towards the desired answers. I took more time in preparing their teaching aids as opposed to that of group three that were girls. I spent more time with doing on-and-one with them. I even rewarded them more than the girls. It was not until writing this paper that I realized I was practicing sexism because the boys were more receptive to my lessons. Take for example, my final assessment which is the external. I actually hoped that the girls would stay silent during my delivery, being that their level of disability surpasses those of the boys.
This would make it more difficult for me to manage my class and my delivery as well as I would, especially under the watchful eyes of the externals. Besides, I was too nervous to take a gamble with my female students. They mostly repeat what is being said due to the challenges that their disabilities have imposed on them. This means that what may appear to be just a little more attention given to one gender has become a distasteful act of sexism.
As a special educator, teaching practice experience has made me better aware of sexism and that it can take many forms. Including calling on students of one gender more often, or more often for “hard” questions that it is believed the other gender wouldn’t understand.
I will ensure that going forward I am careful in even the simple things such as: the making of remarks about one gender’s abilities in a certain field. For example, spelling or mathematics, and “guiding” students into subject and career choices based on their gender rather than interests, abilities or disabilities. Also the assigning of classroom chores or tasks based on gender. Shamefully, I say that I discourage the girls in my class to sweep because it’s never done properly; however when the boys do it it’s done properly.
Moving forward I intend to change by creating an open school environment with books, toys, sports equipment and musical instruments that cater to everybody. Allowing children to pick and choose what they would like to be is essential for growth, confidence and self-esteem. I will try to avoid putting girls or boys into groups in relation to what they can work with. I will also try to be aware of current gender bias. For example, in general, girls are praised for the neatness of their work or their appearance, while boys are more likely to receive attributes based on effort and ability.
I will avoid grouping children by their gender, and teach my students to be open-minded and accepting of people from every background and gender. As an educator it is within my power to mobilize the next generation on how to respond to gender bias every day. Being aware of this bias can consciously help children to cope and deal with this conflict and respond to intolerance in the real world. Until then I will continue to say no to sexism and initiate a change by making the school a place of equality and equity.