My Beliefs as a Teacher
My learning philosophy is based largely on my experiences as a student and as a teacher. Perhaps, the most important aspect of my philosophy is that students learn best in an environment where they feel cared for, respected, safe to take risks and make mistakes. If, as a teacher, I do not create a community of respect and trust, then I do not feel students can openly learn and experiment nor will they feel they can work through their thinking/learning with me. My relationship with each student is the most important tool I have in the classroom.
I believe in equitable learning opportunities. Students start at different places. In order to provide an equitable education, I must meet them where they are. Students learn best when provided with high quality, authentic, learning experiences that allow them to make connections. This allows me to have flexibility in filling in gaps in learning and stretching those who already have some knowledge. In order to achieve this, it is important for me to act as a facilitator and a creator of context rather than the expert. In doing this, I hope for my students to explore the content and what they are passionate about, as well as create connections to their own experiences. I feel that this is another of my top focuses as a teacher because I know that I learn best when I am allowed to try to make sense of things in my own way. Everyone learns and takes in information differently; therefore, I must provide the opportunities for students to make sense of things in their own way.
Overall, I identify myself as a cognitive constructivist, particularly connecting to Bruner and Carl Rogers when it comes to providing learning opportunities for my students. Carl Rogers’ belief that learners need to be involved and personal interest is imperative when it comes to the science classroom. Bruner has led me to have a strong belief that learning is something that must be active rather than passive and context must be created to connect past and present experiences. In combining Bruner and Rogers, I try to create learning environments where the student can explore their interests with my guidance with communication being a key component. This allows me to help students construct connections and personalize the learning for each student. Learners can develop a much deeper understanding of science through this approach.