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Educational Philosophy

By Lauren Irwin The central purpose of the school should be to help children develop their own capacity for success in life and to become effective citizens for democracy. This means that all students, despite any struggles, will be given the deserved and needed attention for their educational success. This success will be defined as the acquisition of basic content knowledge, social skills and attitudes that will allow them to flourish in society and bring about change in their community. An outstanding educator enables these achievements through building personal relationships, providing exemplary instruction and demonstrating the characteristics of a positive adult role model. Building personal relationships. Traditionally, leaders have been valued for their communication and decision making skills. Educators must reinforce these important skills by making a deep commitment to listening intently to others. This can be done through taking a personal interest in students beyond the academic realm. Active listening and sincere intent will enable the acquisition of knowledge about their family circumstances, extracurricular activities, dreams and interests. It is important, however, to seek to identify and clarify the will of students. Thus, an outstanding educator will seek to listen receptively to what is projected both verbally and physically from their students in order to draw conclusions about their needs and desires. Outstanding educators also need to be able to demonstrate an understanding and empathetic attitude. Students need to be accepted and recognized for their special and unique spirit. Even when forced to address their weakness, teachers must always strive to identify the strengths of their students as well. This act is imperative to the development of their identity. By continually emphasizing their strengths, outstanding teachers can help students recognize their value within the world and in the classroom. Providing exemplary instruction. Effective and influential educators will not only build personal relationships with their students, but also offer them continuous and exemplary academic instruction. Effective teaching is a theory of instruction that enables all students to learn. It addresses the learning styles of every single student rather than the typical few. In order to teach to all students, an outstanding educator must have an understanding of learner characteristics. Background, learning styles, prior knowledge, attitude and motivation are the five distinct factors that determine success in learning. It is the job of the teacher to identify student strengths and weaknesses within the context of learner characteristics and to then design instruction accordingly. Educators should pay specific attention to their students’ learning style preference. Students learn in many different ways. There are three distinct processes that students primarily learn through: visual, auditory, and somatosensory systems. The learning styles that stem from each of these processes are commonly referred to as visual learning (visual-verbal and visual-nonverbal), auditory learning, and kinesthetic learning. Each student has a preference toward a specific learning style, however all children make strides when

instruction focuses on all of their sensory processes. It is when all four of these sensory experiences are combined that students flourish. Thus effective instruction should include the culmination of visual, auditory and somatosensory processes. Demonstrating a positive role model. Outstanding teachers are responsible for providing exemplary instruction to their students. This not only includes an academic instruction but also social and moral. For many, it is the obligation of educators to provide for the care and development of students into successful citizens. It is due to this belief that teachers are subjected to a higher level of scrutiny within the moral and social realms of society. Teachers must realize that they are active role models within their community. While some may disregard this opportunity, outstanding educators embrace their influential role. They model positive and appropriate behaviors for their students based upon their foundation of basic moral principles. Although students come from a variety of background, there are a few values which can be categorized as universal principles. The Josephson Institute of Ethics established a set of ethical values that could be taught in the classroom without offending political, racial, religious, gender or socioeconomic sensibilities. Participants in the conference came to an agreement of six values that they believe transcend all boundaries and can be applied to each human being as moral truths. These values, later entitled the six pillars of character, are trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, caring, citizenship, and fairness. It will be through the daily modeling of these characteristics, that outstanding educators will instill in their students the importance of being civic individuals who are involved in society, giving back through their strengths with the utmost love and respect for others. It is through adopting the principles of an outstanding educator that teachers can truly impact their students and community. By building personal relationships, providing exemplary instruction and demonstrating a positive adult role model, an outstanding educator will enhance the well being and growth of their students. Enabling them to achieve educational success through the acquisition of basic content knowledge, social skills and attitudes that will allow students to flourish in society and bring about change in their community.