Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Teaching and Learning - a draft philosophy

I question my abilities in the classroom on a daily basis. Today is the start of Education Week. There were school groups that travelled to the mall. They sang, danced and performed beautifully. It made me think of last week when I returned some test booklets to a school I have done some casual work at. Walking into that school, seeing the students that I had taught: some for only one day, others for longer periods of time - but it made me happy. I smiled to just be walking in the grounds. I have seen so many places that make stories out of bad or incompetent teachers... It seems to drown out the good stories sometimes.

Take "Bad Teacher". Haven't seen it yet. Not too sure if I want to.
Has anyone seen this and enjoyed it?

So, I have finally figured out that I definitely want to teach. Despite the hours, the challenges, the hard work... I want to teach. I love teaching. 

My Developing / Draft Philosophy of Teaching and Learning
E minaka ana taku ngäkau ki te ako mö töku oranga katoa
My heart desires to teach / learn for my whole life.
To the right is a representation = Learning is relationships.
The outer koru indicates the world and its impacts on the classroom environment. The triangle has as its base the subject matter, what is being learnt, the sides represent the teacher and student, each bringing their own background, experiences, needs and desires to the classroom.
I believe that it is through inquiry, social interactions, the dialogue in the classroom (whether between student and teacher, or student and student) that learning happens. Posing an authentic and relevant question is the means through which engagement and motivation occurs. Facilitation and mediation by the teacher enables the students to engage with content that they find interesting and appealing.
I believe that learning is a life-long journey and that my job is to instill in students a passion for learning, for reading, for inquiring, for engaging in dialogue. If there is one thing that I manage to achieve in the classroom, I would hope that I can validate the belief that it is important to follow your heart and to provide students with the cognitive strategies through which they can reach for their goals.
I believe that the classroom should be a safe environment, where everyone feels okay about making mistakes – mistakes are how we learn. It is okay to find a problem or to raise a question.
We need to query to discover our place in the world: our relationships to others and to our environment. We need to be able to question the government, the workplace, and our communities and not just passively accept the situations we find ourselves in.
To be human is to inquire (Aulls & Shore, 2008:vii).