TYRONE R. SHAW PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION
My AP Government and Politics teacher in high school was one of those teachers who really stressed the importance of his subject to students. On the first day of class, he asked us about the everyday activities of our families and our lives. He listed them on the blackboard and made a chart to show us how the government plays a key role in daily life. He linked activities such as going to the gym with how the government has passed certain laws to make sure that people stay healthy due to the rising costs of health care. Walking the dog was linked to how there are laws that say we have to pick up after our dogs because of community standards and health reasons. He even went as far as addressing the simple activity such of brushing our teeth to how the government has agencies that regulate what sort of toothpaste is available to the public. He laid a clear foundation from the very start that made us as learners know the sort of roles that the government took in our everyday activities and how understanding how the government works could help us have greater control over our lives.
After our AP exams, Mr. Riddle took the class on a trip to Washington D.C. to see first- hand how the government works. In addition, we got the chance to see certain aspects of the government that we had learned about, such as the Senate, in action. This was one of my best high school experiences. Mr. Riddle placed so much meaning behind everything that he taught, that the class was always keeping up on the political events because we were all beginning to really understand what it all meant. As a future teacher, I want my students to get the content of my lessons in terms of remembering what I taught them, so they can do well on exams. I also want them to know this information for future references, and not just to take one of my tests. After my students have moved on from my history class, I want them to be able to use what they have learned to make good decisions that will reflect their knowledge of history.
As an educator, I have many responsibilities for students’ learning in other subject areas. I need to create a classroom environment where every other subject area is represented in some form. Being an effective teacher requires me to not only encourage students to excel in my content areas, but in other content areas as well. As a history teacher, I am responsible for my students’ learning in mathematics, science and whatever other subject they are learning. Building bridges between classrooms is an idea that I would love to encourage with my fellow colleagues. It is important that teachers in different content areas work together to better the education and learning experience of their students. It would be so much more beneficial for students if all the different content areas that they were learning about were somehow harmonious with one another. What I speak of is the idea that a history teacher can teach about the history of geometry and how it has been used throughout history by different civilizations. Then the students from that history class can be taught geometry around the same time so they can build relationships that will foster a greater understand and appreciation of both subjects. This sort of bridge building helped me as a student to get through some of the classes that I did not really care for. Since I loved history, I always approached my other classes from a historical point of view to make things more interesting.
I believe all students can learn, and it is important to cultivate an atmosphere where they are allowed to do so in a manner that best fits their learning needs. After being in the classroom, TYRONE R. SHAW PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION PAGE 2
I have realized how much impact the individual can have on the learning environment. The focus of the classroom seems to have shifted away from the needs of the student, to the needs of the teacher. I have realized the need to refocus my classroom to meet the needs of each of my students, therefore meeting the needs of all my students. As a teacher, it is important for me to assess the needs of my students and foster an environment where those needs can be met. I have realized it is important my students are challenged not only to meet the standards, but to also exceed them. I see it necessary to encourage dialogue not only between my students and myself, but encourage dialogue between parents/caregivers and myself. The most important thing for students to learn in my content area and in any other content areas is the purpose behind why they are learning the material. This is what I like to call the “here and now” impact that I feel is necessary for students to realize. I always try to help my students see how the material they are learning in my classroom is applicable to their current daily and future lives. This is a process I have termed “bringing it home,” which is my way to bring the classroom content home for students. This way I can assess their learning by how they respond to these bringing it home segments.
My purposes and approaches to various audiences guide my practice of organizing lessons in a manner that will accommodate the different audiences in my classroom. I must continue to make sure I am not only appealing to the students who already have an interest in social studies. My lessons will be planed so that students who are not very interested in social studies can still follow and not feel left out. It is my responsibility to organize group activities that allows passionate student to share their knowledge with less enthusiastic students, in an effort to get them more involved in the subject matter. The idea here is, students learn best when they learn together. When I reflect on my teaching I think of how I could use various proven theories to better reach all my students. Theories surrounding universal design have had a large impact on my teaching. I have implemented universal design theory in my lesson planning and it has seen its benefits in my classroom. When I did my lesson plans this past semester, I tried to utilize universal design principles in my lessons. This way all my students benefitted from an activity or modification even though it might have been created to help students with particular learning needs. This also aligned with Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences, where it acknowledge that not all students learn the same way, so it is key for me to have a presumption of competence with all my students.
Through my all my lesson plans, I made sure my philosophy of real life application of the material was always practiced. I always found ways to bring whatever I was teaching to what I call the “here and now” for my students. My philosophy of making all my lessons applicable to my students lives, revolves around my belief that if they see how it affects them, they will want to know more about it. During student teaching, one of my most impacting lessons asked my students to reflect on the individual who has influenced their lives the most. The point of this activity was to have students see the impact individuals can have on ones lives. As we were going to be looking at the impact of individuals on the Revolutionary Movements of Latin America, I thought that by having students analyze in the impact of individuals on their own lives, they would get a better understanding of how individuals and institutions impact every day peoples’ lives.
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