an electronic perspective
As time goes on we change. Our ideas, perceptions, behaviours, and beliefs about the world are constantly developing, whether dramatically or subtly. As a result, my teaching philosophy is constantly changing as well. Because of this, I will be recording my current philosophy, and in years to come, explain how the experience I have gained from practicum placements, professional education classes, and real-world teaching have constructed it into something different. Furthermore, rather than explaining my philosophy in a general manner, I plan to elaborate one or two concepts each year which have significantly affected my pedagogy. Doing so will help remind me of what I have learned, and what is most critical when the time comes to start teaching.
YEAR 1 - MUTUALITY
As I approach the end of my first year of University, I have already accumulated a plethora of new information on education. Prior to entering University, I had a lot of experience as a peer tutor, literacy tutor, private tutor, and most of all, a student. From these experiences, I think the most significant realization I had was in regard to mutual respect. As a teacher, it is important that your students feel as though you are on the same level as them. Not in a authoritative way - because authority in the classroom is important - but rather, a human way. My favourite (and not to mention, most effective) teachers in high school were those who treated their students as adults. They enjoyed facilitating intellectual and stimulating conversations with students, and valued the idea that they, although teachers, had much to learn from their students. When a mutual respect is established between student and teacher, students are far less likely to misbehave, and far more likely to show genuine interest in the subject. Although the idea seems contradictory, it, at this point in my career in education, is the most viable, imperative piece of information I have collected. I hope to to maintain it as an essential part of my practice for years to come, and I intend employ it in the classroom once I become an educator.
YEAR 2 - EQUITY AND INCLUSION
After another of year of University I have learned a lot about myself as an educator. This year, my main concern has been equity and inclusion within the classroom. Through my first year practicum placement, my experiences as a member of an undergraduate student council, and my participation within PROF211, I have come to realize the importance of equity, and how one’s handling of equitable practices can change the atmosphere of a classroom. As an educator, it is our responsibility to be conscientious of the socioeconomic, cultural, gender, physical, and sexual differences within our student body. Specifically, we as educators are responsible for the language and the types of behaviours we exhibit within the classroom, and therefore should be sensitive in our own self-expression. I have read a multitude of articles that pertain to this issue, and I have thereby strived to become more contentious of my own actions. For example, I have attempted to use more inclusive language at all times (he/she rather than one aspect of the gender binary) and I have tried my best to understand the different tenants of exceptionalities so as to always be aware of how I may accommodate these students. Similarly, I strongly believe that bias is something that all educators should strive to eliminate from their teaching practice. This year, I have made a genuine effort to remain an unbiased party throughout my evaluation of students in all levels of the education system. In particular, I have educated myself on how bias can affect one’s evaluation of others and I have included practices so as to eliminate this bias. For example (and I understand that this is not always a feasible endeavour), I have circulated my assessments amongst my peers so that, although I myself may not always be an unbiased party, others around me are able to make comparisons between my evaluations and make appropriate adjustments soas to extinguish these pre-dispositions. In terms of inclusion, I have again educated myself on the issues of exclusion and how we, as teachers, can work toward promoting more inclusive environments that foster the positive development of all students. If you’re interested, you can visit my assignment page and read through the research paper that I put together for PROF211. The assignment was really beneficial in informing my educational practice as it helped illuminate some of the causes of social exclusion in schools. More importantly, though, the assignment allowed me to identify what sorts of things we, as educators, can do to promote inclusive environments.