Philopshy of Teaching Essay

Submitted By meg7920
Words: 1422
Pages: 6

Over the last ten years teaching in a Special Education classroom my teaching philosophy has evolved into what it is today. From year to year the “academics” for my students can vary greatly. When I first began teaching, I had a classroom full of life skills students. In that class we focused primarily on the students ability to perform basic tasks such as navigating effectively through the school. As my role has changed so have the skills that I teach. Specifically, helping learning disabled students to improve their reading by a grade level or more. Also, helping autistic students to manage their anger in order to remain in the classroom and participate with their peers. The common denominator in all of these instances, and every aspect in teaching, is to help the student make progress academically as well as grow into a person who can contribute to society. I agree with John Dewey that the sole goal of education is growth (Gutek, 2004, p. 76). When the students grow it allows them to more easily solve their own problems and help them to maintain social relationships. The skills I teach can be as basic as enabling one student be able to count money or understand why rules of society are in place and how to function within them. But, learning these skills will allow the student to do things, such as hold a job, communicate with others and live as independently as possible. There is not one philosophy of education that I find myself agreeing with on all points. There are ideas from several different theories that I gravitate towards; namely, post-modernism, existentialism and pragmatism. To me, a student’s background should not determine his destiny. Special needs students are marginalized in our schools by being excluded from regular education classrooms. I believe that including them through the use of co-teaching is much better for the students. Students are more engaged when the subject is one that they are interested in. Treating the students as if they are lesser by excluding them does not help them to achieve educational goals. I believe a core aspect of growth is the ability to deconstruct one’s views and beliefs. Deconstruction involves not only examining the meaning of a statement, but also examining why a statement was made (Gutek, 2004, p. 126). It is important for students to question long held beliefs to gain a deeper knowledge. Students should be encouraged to fully understand a text’s motive, not just comprehend what it says. It is important to understand who these beliefs benefit. By questioning authority, it allows people to recognize injustices and prejudices and ultimately help change society for the better. It should be instilled at an early age that questioning in a respectful way is beneficial to society. One should use deconstruction in social studies, science and language arts. Students need to understand and appreciate the difference between deconstructing a belief, where they search for more knowledge on a subject to better understand, and rebellion for the sake of rebellion.
I have always believed that as teachers our job is not to feed students information for them to regurgitate, but rather, to teach them the skills to find information or solutions. Too often in education we focus on the knowledge level of Bloom’s Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain (Huitt 2011). Students become adept at memorizing names, dates and places without understanding the importance that they carry. Many students memorize the amendments to the constitution; the students should also analyze the text. They should be encouraged to evaluate what aspects are relevant today. They could also work to come up with a classroom constitution. It is important to learn to recall and decode in math and language art classes, but students need to learn how analyze, compare and evaluate a math problem. With the use of technology the basic computations are easy to figure out, you need to know why and