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Educational Philosophy

Educational Philosophy

Kylie Mirjanian

Intro to Elementary Education

Professor Dr. Isbell

November 2017
Educational Philosophy

Profession

I am choosing this profession for many reasons. I was a lifeguard and a water safety

instructor for four years, where I was able to teach young children how to swim. I loved every

second of working with kids and teaching them new skills. Their excitement for discovering new

things was catching and I could not help but enjoy it to the fullest extent. I have also always

wanted a career that works towards helping others. I began with firefighting as my career path,

which led me to emergency medical services. These both turned out to be the wrong fit for me

but they led me to solidify the idea that I wanted to benefit the world in some significant way. I

knew I could never again work towards a meaningless future career with no influence on the

world around me. Teaching was a mixture of both influences: I could work with children and I

could change the world.

I was inspired to become a teacher by many of the teachers that I have known. One of

which was my second grade teacher, Ms. Hawkins, who inspired a love of reading that I still

carry to this day. I was also inspired by my swim team instructors, who would work to encourage

me to overcome difficulties in order to get what I wanted. Another really influential teacher is

my dad (my stepdad), a strong and inspiring role model who worked, raised five kids (four of

which he inherited in the middle of his educational expedition), went to college to further his

education, and did not stop working day and night until he was a tenured teacher at CSN with a

PhD in Political Science. He taught me the meaning of the word diligence and showed me how

his passion to inspire students pushed him to achieve his version of perfection. With my past

experiences and my inspirational past instructors, I have the ability and understanding of the

patience and passion that it requires to be a teacher. Each student is different and my experiences

of watching my teachers and teaching students of my own have allowed me to comprehend the

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Educational Philosophy

massive task of teaching a group of children and has allowed me to prepare mentally and

physically to face that task.

The personal knowledge and skill set that will serve me as a teacher includes my time

spent teaching children how to swim. I worked with all age levels, from tiny infants to adults.

This gave me the opportunity to see how different children are at different ages and how quickly

or slowly they learned. I even worked with some students with disabilities and molding my

lessons to fit that child was a challenge but a great experience. Another aspect that adds to my

skill set is my ability to be patient with children and my willingness to work through a concept

until the student understands. I also have been taking education classes and will continue to take

education classes and do my best to learn what I can about how I can best teach my future

students.

With my field observation hours, I was able to directly observe, for a significant amount

of time, my cooperating teacher teaching students at the level that I hope to have: second grade.

It was an unforgettable experience, one I hope to repeat in the future. It gave me innumerable

tools that allowed me to see the teaching techniques, understand their outcomes, watch the

development of the students as the teacher directly influenced their education, and experience the

classroom as a whole. I saw the discipline, the classroom behavior, the understanding of school

subjects by the students, the varying groups of children in terms of knowledge, comprehension,

and attentiveness, and I saw the teacher’s enthusiasm and dedication. The experience was

inspiring and set me towards a greater understanding of what teaching requires. It was just the

first step into a classroom and into a teaching environment but it is an encounter that directed me

closer to the idea of what kind of teacher I want to be.

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Educational Philosophy

Teaching

The psychological orientations that I feel most closely fit my beliefs about education

include both constructivism and humanistic psychology. Constructivism looks at the

development of curriculum around specific student-learning processes. Humanistic psychology

emphasizes learning through achievement and motivation and focuses on self-actualization. I

believe these two orientations work together to create a plan that is student-based and allows the

students to grow based on their individual abilities.

The educational philosophy that best fits my educational beliefs is existentialism. “In

general, existentialism emphasizes creative choice, the subjectivity of human experiences, and

concrete acts of human existence over any rational scheme for human nature or reality.” It

reflects my psychological orientation as it looks to the student once again for a basis on how my

teaching will be implemented. The goal of education, I believe, is to allow students to find

themselves, find how they can learn, grow, and achieve, and it looks to me, as the teacher, to be

the helping hand that allows them to find and achieve their true and future self.

The historical events that set the stage for how I think about children and schools

includes everything that we have to look back on relating to education. The acts and laws

implemented towards equality concerning race, disability, ethnicity, gender, and any other

difference that specifies an individual student are pointed towards a more influential educational

philosophy. We must look at the mistakes (ex. Segregated schools), the successes (ex.

Movements towards academic freedom), the developing rules (ex. IDEA and its continual

development), and so much more in order to fully understand how to move forward in the best

way for our students.

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Educational Philosophy

Instruction

As I learned from my observation hours in the general education second grade classroom,

there were a great many tactics that teachers can use to influence a specific response and to

encourage good behavior and strong learning patterns. Among these include the reward system,

giving students clear goals and the steps that they need to take in order to achieve those goals.

My cooperating teacher used a Mr. Potato Head toy as a goal. She told the kids that if they had

every piece of Mr. Potato Head put together at the end of the day, they would get to do

something really fun as a class, whether that be a little party or a fun activity. All they had to do

was use the proper tone of voice when she asked them to: a whispering voice, a group voice, or

no talking at all. Another strategy that I would use is the pre-planning that I saw her implement

multiple times. She would constantly ensure that lessons were ready for students to be able to

motivate themselves. She would place math worksheets on their desks before the beginning of

the day, so that they just walked in, sat down, and got started. She would ensure quick transitions

from lesson to lesson to keep the lesson moving forward. Watching these tactics at work helped

me understand how I could possibly run my own classroom.

My approach towards student learning would be based off of my chosen philosophy and

psychological orientation. It will be student-based, creating curriculum based on my individual

students and their abilities or even disabilities. Every student needs to be challenged and needs to

be able to work towards something attainable. The practical application of their education also

needs to exist. I need to be the one encouraging their passions, working through their difficulties,

praising their hard work, and inspiring continued dedication for school, education, and self-

understanding.

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My approach towards student diversity is simple. America is a diverse nation, full of

people from all walks of life. Different ethnicities, languages, races, genders, cultures, family

life, economic status, or any other difference imaginable runs through our students and our

schools. They are a diverse set of individuals and deserve be aware and proud of that idea.

Students should be given a full-fledged education on their own and other cultures and inspired to

hear out one’s differences, understand them, and embrace them. At such a young age, students

are very influential. They need to be given the tools of acceptance and, through my example,

taught how to use them.

My approach towards student variability is an open mind and a constant eye to the

individual child’s needs. Every student has their own learning style, learning ability/disability,

interests, and necessities. I must remain open to those differences and creative in my response. A

standardized approach will not work for every child. They are individuals and must be treated as

individuals in order to be given the education that they require. While most kids will be unable to

tell you what they need or how they learn, I can discover those differences myself through

constant observation, dedication to understanding their differences, and application of my

knowledge concerning the mental growth of children and the problems that may occur.

My approach towards assessment remains constant with my educational philosophy. I

must test my students but only when it is to their benefit. They must continue to grow throughout

the school year and that growth should be assessed in order to maintain progress. If there is

lacking in a certain subject or if they have consistent trouble, I must utilize my tools to assist

them how I can and as soon as I can, so that they are not held back. For example, give them extra

time working on a specific subject if they are struggling. If they understand but do not do well on

tests, change the way the test is presented or find another solution to help them. Assessment is

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necessary and it will benefit the student but it must be utilized properly and the correct steps

must be taken to ensure that a student does not consistently fail. It is a tool to assess success and

assist in failure.

Future

Patience, dependency, dedication, intelligence, and enthusiasm are characteristics that I

believe are crucial to possess when working to become a teacher. I must be a strong individual

with a drive to continuously move forward. Education is ever-changing and I must be willing to

take the changes, manipulate them to better my classroom, and remain reliable for the

administration, co-teachers, parents, and, most importantly, the students. There is no one right

answer when it comes to teaching a set of students. But, I must do the best that I can so that my

students can go on to do the same.

To further myself in my dedication to becoming a teacher, I will continue with my

education at CSN until I have my Associate’s degree in Elementary Education. Upon which time

I will enroll at UNLV and continue for a Bachelor’s in education while I get another degree

simultaneously at CSN, this one for deaf studies. Starting in the year of 2018, I plan on becoming

a substitute teacher for CCSD so that I may begin a separate educational journey that is hands-

on, immersed in the field, and, hopefully, beneficial towards further developing my personal

educational philosophy and learning how to work with students. I have taken a great many

lessons with me from my observation hours at the elementary school and I hope that being in a

teaching position will teach me more. I also believe in helping the community and being

involved in the world around me in any way that I can. Assisting at hospitals, volunteering at

non-profit organizations (Three Square, Ronald McDonald House, etc.), lending a hand at senior

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living facilities, and just doing whatever I can for the community in order to ensure a better,

more positive world for more than just my future classroom.

Overall, I am still developing a strong educational philosophy. It will be a long time

before I am in a position where I know how to run a classroom, handle my students, develop my

own lesson plans, and implement the discipline tools and the inspiring learning techniques that I

discussed in this paper. But, I have learned the basics; and I believe I am beginning a long

journey towards a solid foundation of educational influence that will allow me to be the strong,

independent, and motivational teacher that I long to be.