Education Philosophy

The goal of education is to teach children life skills.  It is for them to learn, and to learn how to teach themselves.  School and education provides children with the opportunity to learn how to socialize and to learn about their own interests.  I believe the classroom needs to be a careful blend of direct instruction, group work, and self-directed learning.  Inquiry projects are an important part of students’ learning.  Education is important for preparing students for the rest of their lives.  This includes learning intellectual skills like Math and Science, but also how to appreciate the art in those subjects and others.  Education should include learning financial skills, and how to take care of yourself, both physically and mentally, and preparing students for the challenges they will face with the constantly changing technology of our society.

I believe that the role of the teacher is to inspire and help each child develop to their fullest potential.   This means that teachers need to have a strong understanding of Multiple Intelligences so they can cater their lessons to every individual, as well as taking on the roles of a parent and counselor. If a child is not emotionally or physically healthy, they will not be able to learn.   It is important for schools to help prepare children for learning by making sure they are fed and happy.  Most schools have counselors on staff, and a few provide breakfast and lunch for everyone.  You can read more about school breakfast programs here (Breakfast for Learning)  and here.

My goal as a teacher is to make learning fun and help students feel safe.  This means that I need to think of many ways to present the content, and I need to know my students well enough to know how to get their interests. I am a strong believer in group work as an essential part of learning.  Only a handful of people can effectively learn by listening to a teacher talk for an hour.  If I have to do direct instruction, I will provide handouts and keep the students part of the discussion as much as I am able.  I also think that it is necessary to include up-to-date technologies in lessons, to keep information relevant and appeal to students’ lifestyles.  This is a neat video from Sir Ken Robinson that touches on many of the same beliefs that I have.

I think it is important for teachers to not only know their students, but also to have an understanding of their family.  In order to really benefit the student, teachers and parents need to be able to work together. If a teacher has a good rapport with a parent, it is easier to discuss any issues the student is having and work towards a solution.  It is easier to have good rapport when teachers become involved in extra-curricular activities, such as sports or arts clubs.

I think it is vital to include Arts Education in curriculum.  It is as important as any Math or Science knowledge.   Here is a great article about it.  As humans, we strive for a separation of the mind and the body.  When we have a headache or a stomachache, we perceive it as a weakness.  If our muscles are sore, we don’t see that as something that can affect our learning.  I firmly believe in teachers connecting the mind and the body.  Stretching in class, starting the day off with yoga or mindfulness – these things can all aid in learning.  So too with Arts.  If students only learn to analyze in school, where will they learn to feel?  Where will they learn to express?

  Oftentimes, when teaching Math, it is hard to make the lesson appeal to all students.  Many concepts in Math (formulas, sequences, etc) can be taken and reworked as a dance.  This would help students who learn by doing put the idea into their bodies and enhance their understanding.  Math concepts can also be reworked into musical compositions.  Having a strong knowledge of Music Theory also helps with understanding logic in Math.  Singing is a great way to develop ears that can listen for detail.  Many students graduate from high school knowing many complex Math formulas,  but don’t know the difference between harmony and melody, or how to properly align their spine when standing and sitting. Those are life concepts that are completely passed over in favour of formulas that most students will never use again.  Here is a great article about the importance of Arts Education.