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Katie M Smith Foundations of Education Rebecca Werner Spring

Katie M Smith Foundations of Education Rebecca Werner Spring

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07/01/2009

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Katie M SmithFoundations of EducationRebecca Werner Spring 2009On Teaching PhilosophyAt this point in time, it is the Progressive philosophy on teaching that interests memost of all. According to Henniger & Duckworth (2008), “The progressive teacher feelsthat the curriculum should be experience centered. Students learn best when they areengaged in conversations with peers or as they manipulate real-world materials that arerelevant to their lives (p. 324).”I feel that hands-on experience is some of the most valuable experience studentswill have. Experiments and group discussions will be memorable for students more sothan dry study of facts. LeoNora M Cohen (1999) mentions that “[s]hared decisionmaking, planning of teachers with students, student-selected topics are all aspects (of  progressivism). Books are tools, rather than authority.” I could not agree more. Books arevaluable and wonderful tools, however, there is a reason they are re-edited every year,and why there are so many choices of textbooks on any given subject. They are to get usthinking and to keep our facts for us. To me, it is more important that a student learn howto use a book than to memorize all of the information in one.
My Personal Philosophy on Teaching
I believe that an education is only as good as its relevance to the learner. I believethat it is my job as a teacher to instill in my students a sense of ownership over their owneducation, and to foster a love of learning that will continue throughout their lives. I believe that it is my job to investigate the skills and interests of my students, and help
 
them to translate that into something meaningful to them, that will help them become ahappy and productive member of society.There are many ways to go about doing this. In my opinion, group work isessential because it lays the foundation for the type of cooperation and initiative they willface later in life, no matter what their profession. I feel that students gain more from their work when it is
their 
work. Students should be led to see their education as their ownresponsibility, while at the same time trusting that they will have guidance and help whenthey need it. My students will be encouraged to ask questions, and they will count on meto help them find the answers. In order to encourage them to take on that ownership, theymust believe that they can take that education in any direction they wish to go.Human beings are social creatures. Almost everything we do in our adult livesinvolves collaboration with others. I believe that group work in the classroom fosters animportant ability to find one’s place in the group, and to learn to make a positive andmeaningful contribution to that group. I believe that making a positive contribution tosociety is a main goal for humans, and that the ability to do so is the foundation for ameaningful life, which is why it is so important to foster that ability from a young age.Lastly, I recognize the plethora of choices that a person will have to makethroughout his or her lifetime. I believe that the ability to make choices is yet another critical skill that we, as teachers, have a wonderful opportunity to foster in our students.Teaching is not just about passing on to students the facts and concepts of the classicalsubjects. Teaching is about giving students the confidence to formulate and test their ownideas. Teaching is about guiding students to a place where they know, not only how tofind information, but how to make sense of that information within the context of their 

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