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Philosophy of Education

Learning is not only an individual process. Rather we learn from others and about others in relation to the world surrounding us, whether in immediate proximity or a much broader context. That is why I am a large proponent of Vygotskys Social Development Theory. . I view social interaction as a key aspect of learning and one I would stress in the classroom to help my students develop and challenge themselves. I feel that the larger goal for students in school is to prepare them to enter as contributing citizens to society. Vygotskys theory of social development stresses the point that children learn significantly from the instruction of an individual possessing greater knowledge in whatever field is being studied. This is significant, because as a teacher I am the individual possessing greater knowledge which I can model and instruct the students towards. However, it is also important to remember that students will be at different levels of learning and some may possess more or less knowledge than others. As social interaction is a beneficial way of learning, I feel that it is important to allow students a significant amount of opportunities to work with each other and interact in a context where the material being studied is still the object in which the interaction is based. In this manner, students of greater knowledge in various areas can serve to work with students of lesser knowledge in that the students themselves would then be serving as the more knowledgeable other, as it is termed by Vygotsky. Of course, the teacher should initially take on this role, but over time some of the responsibility can be passed on to students themselves. It is also true that students learn effectively in different ways, so it is important implement differentiated instruction strategies so a wide variety of methods and activities designed for student learning and comprehension can be incorporated into lesson and unit plans. Of course, students learning is best achieved when students are engaged and interested in the subject, so I feel that students should be encouraged to spend a greater amount of time or effort on a subject, project or activity that particularly interests them. . Of course, certain material will need to be covered, but I feel that students will take a greater interest and personal ownership for their learning if performance based assessment is the primary assessment tool used. I believe students should be given the opportunity to demonstrate knowledge of content material in various ways. They may choose how they want to do that, with some guidelines. This will be more work for me as a teacher, as it requires a lot of thought and organization in grading such subjective work. However, I feel that the benefit students obtain in hopefully gaining an interest for the subject by pursuing it in their own fashion, and taking ownership of

their learning, is far worth it. I also plan to use traditional assessment, but much less frequently, so that performance based assessment is not the only assessment being used. In accordance with Vygotskys Social Development Theory, I believe that scaffolding is an important aspect towards student learning. A teacher must be able to gauge student knowledge, possibly through pre-tests or casual conversation or surveys, etc. etc. Based upon that, teachers should not introduce material that students are not ready for. A good teacher builds upon pre-existing student knowledge. It is important to build content on top of content being learned in an organized fashion to help students learn more effectively. This is a much more holistic approach and can help students greatly in the longrun. If material is randomly thrown at students with little context or pre-existing knowledge to base instruction upon, it is likely that many students will become confused and or frustrated and disengage from instruction and activities and gain less interest for the subject. Finally, the classroom community is an essential aspect of student learning. I will promote the formation of a classroom environment where positive interaction is encouraged. I want to get to know my students on a personal level and offer them the opportunity to do the same with each other. I will stress the point of respecting each individual and recognizing that every student has value and their opinion matters. I will really work hard at creating an environment of openness and respect in my classroom because I feel that goes a very long way in allowing students to recognize their own potential and ultimately increase learning.