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Brittany Kinney

Philosophy of Education

I believe that individuals construct their own understanding of the world by taking in
experiences or information and reflecting upon how this compares to what they already know. This may
be a deliberate action such as reflecting on ones test scores or undeliberate such as realizing not to
touch something when we are burned from a hot surface. Our level of reflection will change as we age
and our capacity to understand the world increases. It will also change based on the social interactions
we have with others. As an educator my job is to foster an environment where deep reflection and
reasoning can take place.
An educated person is someone who can think critically about decisions they make and the
implications those decisions have on themselves or the world around them. I want my students to gain
an understanding of the process of thinking critically about a subject and synthesizing their own beliefs
based on reliable resources. There are no five step method or check points to follow for the acquisition
of knowledge. Students need to have the opportunity to feel cognitive dissonance in their thinking. If I
simply state everything my students need to know and expect them to memorize it I am not giving them
the opportunity to assimilate or accommodate that knowledge into their existing schema. I should be a
facilitator for my students rather than an all knowing being that pours out my knowledge upon them.
Students also need to be taught how to take ownership of their learning. Their role is to use the support
of more knowledgeable others or scaffolds and try to make connections between what they know and
what they are trying to learn.
The Iowa Core outlines five characteristics of effective instruction. These include: creating a
student centered classroom, teaching for understanding, assessing for learning, providing rigorous and
relevant curriculum, and teaching for learner differences. In my classroom this will mean giving students
opportunities to be involved in the discovery of their own learning through challenging and holistic
experiential learning. Leading students to engage in a variety of thought provoking activities so they can
gain understanding. Using a variety of assessment both formative and summative to guide my teaching
as well as guide the students metacognition of their learning. Giving my students intellectually
challenging curriculum that connects to real world and open ended scenarios. While understanding that
all of my students are different and may be at various levels of understanding or process information in
a variety of ways.
These characteristics will guide how I set up my classroom, my content, and the opportunities I
give my students to process information, plus the type or frequency of my assessment. I have learned
that good teachers reflect often. I will be constantly learning right along with my students. I need to take
moments to look back on my pedagogical decisions and how much my students are understanding in
order to assess my own teaching. This is the only way I will grow as an educator and engage my students
in real understanding.
Learning is a process that has many factors including age, developmental level, social
interactions and the ability to reflect upon ones experiences. As educators, we should try our best to
create and encourage an environment where students can construct their own understanding through
meaningful multifaceted instructional activities. We should also remember to continually reflect upon
our own teaching decisions so we can help every student learn to their full potential.