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Teaching Philosophy Statement Essay

1051 words - 5 pages

Teaching Philosophy Statement

My philosophy of education draws on a number of theoretical frameworks. However, the key component is the individual, more specifically, the child. Each of us - each child - is different and unique, even though we reflect a socially constructed view of the world. The tension between difference and shared construction can be conceived of as a result of each individual’s experiences. Such experiences are a result of living in a social world and are different from those experienced by others. In addition, the way in which each individual incorporates these experiences into his or her overall understandings, through making relationships or making meaningful ...view middle of the document...

All too often in schooling, we teach children what some "thing" is without seeing how that "thing" is related to other things. The patterns of how "things" are connected needs to be the primary focus. For instance, in science we may teach children that a sparrow is a bird and that birds have certain characteristics. However, this view is essentially devoid of context and meaning. Alternatively, we can look at how birds are related to other organisms in their structure, actions, and so forth (i.e., homology, analogy, evolution, etc.). We can help children connect their ideas about and personal experiences with birds to math, poetry, art, music, and other disciplines. The potential richness of meaning needs to be the focus. Such richness of meaning, however, does not follow disciplinary frameworks. The meaning we create as human beings is not limited to one particular discipline, but is connected to the full spectrum of our experiences. We automatically create integrated understandings. As I have discussed in my letter, my work with "contexts of meaning" looks at how children create and utilize such connections in their thinking about science topics and problems.

The foundation of my philosophy of education is based in constructivism, social constructivism, inquiry, classrooms as learning communities, and my own developing extension of these frameworks, which I have been calling "contexts of meaning." The implications of this view extend to some key concepts of authenticity, relevance, and possibility. If we truly are to take children and their ideas seriously, we must consider the meaning of authenticity. Children are frequently not treated with the degree of respect they deserve in the classroom. We tend not to respect what children say, what they do, or what their intentions are. As teachers, we need to see children's actions and thinking as authentic, as reflective of their experiences and intelligence. At the same time, we need to be authentic with children, in terms of the way we relate to them in class. We need to take children seriously, understand who they are and how they have come to be who they are, so that we can see them as intentional co-participants in learning about and making sense of the world. We also need to be sure that what we present to them in classrooms is...

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