Portions of this section have been quoted/paraphrased from work previously submitted to the University of Phoenix; specifically, my "Educational Philosophy Paper" for MTE501, The Art & Science of Teaching (submitted 2/5/07); my "Beliefs about Assessment Paper" for MTE539, Curriculum Constraints & Assessment (9/8/08); and my "Classroom Management Plan", submitted 7/13/08 for MTE520, Maintaining an Effective Learning Climate.References
I feel that my teaching philosophy is largely "eclectic" in nature - that is, it is my "own unique blending of two or more philosophies" (Parkay & Stanford, 2002). Upon taking the Teaching Perspecives Inventory (TPI), a 45-item questionnaire created by Donald D. Pratt and John B. Collins (2001), I learned that I favored "transmission" and "nurturing" teaching tactics equally. Other personal traits, from most- to least-dominant, were "apprenticeship" (a score of 36); "developmental" (38); and "social reform" (33). I earned a score of 39 for both "transmission" and "nurturing". (Click here for a detailed analysis of my results.)
As Pratt & Collins (2001) explain, teachers who favor transmission - that is, those who seek mastery of a particular subject matter or content - tend to be "memorable presenters" who are "enthusiastic about their content and convey that enthusiasm to their students". Similarly, a nurturing teacher "provide[s] encouragement and support, along with clear expectations and reasonable goals for all learners but do not sacrifice self-efficacy or self-esteem for achievement" (Pratt & Collins, 2001). Using these results, I will briefly expound on my personal philosophy in the areas of teaching and learning; students; knowledge; assessment; and classroom management.
Beliefs about teaching and learning:
I feel that the teacher plays a dual role in the classroom: First, as a subject matter expert; also, a skilled and efficient educator, who manages clearly and succinctly to impart wisdom in varying ways so that all students have an equal opportunity to learn.
Beliefs about students:
I believe that education should be "child-centered rather than focused on the teacher or the content area", a theory termed "progressivism" by Parkay & Stanford (2002). I agree with John Dewey, in that curriculum should, at least part of the time, be based on students' interests, in relation to their "cognitive, affective, and psychomotor areas" (Parkay & Stanford, 2002). Learning should be more active than passive; students should be encouraged to take a hands-on role in the classroom, in which they will be "constructing" an understanding of the material rather than merely "receiving" it from the teacher (Parkay & Stanford, 2002).
I agree strongly with the work of educational psychologist, Benjamin Bloom, who "identified six levels within the cognitive domain" in an attempt to classify "intellectual behavior important in learning" (Soto). These levels, arranged in a pyramid from base to tip, include Knowledge, Understanding, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation. In the course of his research, Bloom "found that over 95% of the test questions students encounter require them to think only at the lowest possible level ... the recall of information" (Soto). This infers that the most important learning levels are those near the top - specifically, I feel that Synthesis, a person's ability to re-arrange newly-learned information in a way that is noticeably understandable to them, is the most important aspect of the pyramid. In updating Bloom's methods from 1956, Richard Overbaugh and Lynn Schultz propose that Synthesis and Evaluation should switch places, putting Synthesis at the top of the pyramid. Overbaugh and Schultz also insist that Synthesis be re-termed "Creating", i.e.: "Can the student create [a] new product or point of view?"
I believe that ALL students have the ability to learn, and should be given the opportunity to do so.
Beliefs about knowledge:
I believe that many students have at least one subject in which they excel at over any others, and/or feel particularly passionate about. For those whom English/Language Arts is not exciting, I hope my adherence to "transmission" will nonetheless instill even a small amount of enthusiasm for the subject.
I agree with Pratt & Collins' concept of "social reformation", wherein the teacher relates one subject to a wider expanse of knowledge (2001). I hope to use this concept to reach out to those students who may be reticent to learn about a particular topic, through asking them questions and observing how they approach the subject at hand. An example is the reluctant reader, who scoffs at all books on principle; a social reformation tactic may be to ask the student questions such as, "What sort of movie plot lines do you most enjoy?" and "What are your hobbies?" in order to find a book that satisfies.
Knowledge is a constant and fluid process that takes place both in and beyond the classroom environment.
I believe that students must learn how to properly evaluate the multitudes of knowledge that they receive, a branch of philosophy that Parkay & Stanford (2002) term "epistemology".
I feel that all knowledge falls into one of two categories: That which others have determined is important for students to know - for instance, a basic understanding of mathematics, spelling, grammar, and critical thinking skills that can be evaluated by means of a standardized test such as the SAT - and knowledge that students seek out beyond the classroom.
Beliefs about assessment:
I agree with the European Association for Language Testing and Assessment (EALTA), in that assessment tends to occur for one of three reasons: "For" learning, in order to "establish what needs to be learnt"; "as" learning, wherein a student carries out the assessment as part of his/her learning experience; and "of" learning, or post-assessment learning (2008, pg. 3).
Beliefs about classroom management:
I believe that post-assessment learning is the most frequently used (i.e.: SAT testing, and assessment for No Child Left Behind legislation), but that more emphasis on "for" and "as" learning assessment could help students become more comfortable with high-stakes examinations, as well as check for understanding on smaller assignments.
I believe that secondary-aged students can understand the value of rule-making and structure in the classroom, and that it is relevant for them to have a hand in the formation of classroom rules and procedures, which can then be compiled into a master list for students to sign-off on and view whenever necessary. I believe this list needs to be established right away, and that as an educator, I need to stay firm in enforcing it.
I believe that discipline should be preventive when at all possible. As an educator, I plan to enforce this by keeping learning active rather than passive, and by reminding students whenever necessary of their agreement to a particular set of classroom procedures.
I believe in a "three strikes" rule, unless/until students require a more stringent approach to classroom management. I believe that the teacher should be seen as the main authority figure for the student, but that parents and administration should be kept up to date on all managerial proceedings. I believe that it is imperative to record all incidents, and to follow district procedure in terms of corrective actions taken or proposed.
I will strive to be a fair and just educator, and to correct students' behaviors, rather than punish students for them.
European Association of Language Testing & Assessment (2008). Literacy in classroom
assessment. Accessed September 8, 2008, from Web site:
Overbaugh, R.C. & Schultz, L. Bloom's taxonomy. Accessed July 8, 2009, from the Old Dominion University Web site: http://www.odu.edu/educ/roverbau/Bloom/blooms_taxonomy.htm.
Parkay, F.W. & Stanford, B.H. (2002). The Art & Science of Teaching. Boston: Prentice-Hall, Inc. Retrieved January 16, 2007, from the University of Phoenix eBook collection.
Pratt, D.D & Collins, J.B. (2001). The Teaching Perspectives Inventory. Retrieved January 31, 2007, from Web site: http://teachingperspectives.com/html/tpi_frames.htm.
Soto, M. Bloom's taxonomy. Accessed July 8, 2009, from the Office Port Web site: http://www.officeport.com/edu/blooms.htm.