Essay on My teaching Philosophy

Submitted By antoinebell2124
Words: 1144
Pages: 5

Concordia University

My Teaching Philosophy Initially I believed that my philosophy of teaching would be the result of how I learned in school. Reflecting on my middle school years the majority of the instruction I received was through lecture. This included mathematics as well as science. I can recall coming to class and the teacher standing at the board writing notes on an overhead and we would copy these notes for the entire class period. This was very boring and not engaging but my opinion is “this is just the way school was.” At this time I had not thought of another way to conduct a classroom because this is what I had become accustomed to. Looking back on these years, my teachers did not have much of an option on how to conduct their classrooms. By attending school in an urban setting where the majority of our classes were overpopulated it would have been nearly impossible to conduct class in any other manner. I still believe that I will spend a significant portion of my class time providing direct instruction or a didactic approach; however; after this summer I am beginning to learn there are more effective ways to teach students. From my work experience, in my opinion we have been encouraged to take a more constructivist approach in our classrooms. An example I found of constructivism states, “Students need to construct their own understanding of each mathematical concept, so that the primary role of teaching is not to lecture, explain, or otherwise attempt to 'transfer' mathematical knowledge, but to create situations for students that will foster their making the necessary mental constructions” (Petree, 2004). In the beginning, I viewed this concept as nearly impossible when thinking of how I could possibly implement this strategy into my classroom. However, I have gained some great strategies and activities over this summer on how I could make this work. In my opinion, regardless of how you conduct your classroom there will always be a need for some direct instruction. This concept has made me more comfortable with working with this idea. I do agree that this can be an effective way to teach your students, in allowing them to discover concepts with only some guidance from the instructor. This quote leads me to an article we read in class. Never Say Anything a Kid Can Say! Reinhart (2000) was a great article examining why he was struggling to reach the kids they way he had anticipated. He begins by stating how he had worked several examples of problems on the overheard explaining the details of so that he was sure every student could understand. At times he even received compliments from the principal who was observing. only to find his students very confused the very next day. “When I was in front of the class demonstrating and explaining, I was learning a great deal, but many of my students were not!” (Reinhart, 2000). This quote stood out to me because it represented many of the schools I had attended and also how I thought I would teach in my classroom. This is one of the examples which led Steven Reinhart a middle school math teacher at Chippewa Falls middle school in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin to move from a traditional style of teaching to a more student centered approach. An example of how Steven Reinhart changed his approach in the classroom is when students would often ask him the question “Is this right?” His response became “I’m not sure. Can you explain your thinking to me?” He states that the reason for this is that as soon as he states that it is correct the learning stops there. I agree with this approach he has developed because often times I have heard that if you really know the material than you can teach it to someone else. This is essentially what he is requiring his students to do. This is an approach which we also learned in Dr. Shildneck’s class. He explained that one of the reasons he has become