I’ve had great teachers throughout my course of study that definitely ignited my hunger for knowledge and may have possibly imparted some desire to teach, but it is my belief that being a parent has shaped and cultivated my teaching philosophy. A child’s first teacher is his parent(s). Even during the stages in the womb, an embryo begins to learn sounds and language from the mother. My teaching philosophy mirrors my basic responsibility as a parent; which is to nurture. Nurturing my students includes protecting and valuing them as individuals and providing them with the support needed to be successful in my class. With the state of our world, vast cultural diversity and the evolution of each generation, I cannot simply walk into a classroom and just disseminate information. The diversity and dynamic of today’s students require care and compassion before the learning process can begin for a great number of them. As a teacher I believe nurturing a student’s belief in themselves will invoke trust and respect to insure a supportive environment necessary for learning and teaching to take place. My belief is strongly influenced by my commitment to helping my students develop self-efficacy, as detailed in Albert Bandura’s social cognitive theory.
Throughout our lives, we all face challenges. Students today experience a great deal of those challenges while trying to maneuver personal situations, school and gain an education. A key element of my teaching style has to include encouragement. My belief is strongly influenced by my commitment to helping my students develop self-efficacy, as detailed in Albert Bandura’s social cognitive theory. It is very important to me that I help each student develop a belief in themselves and their abilities. At every level of academic classification, each student has to believe in themselves in order to want to learn and achieve success. According to Bandura, self-efficacy can be acquired through four sources: mastery experiences, vicarious experiences, social persuasion, and physiological and emotional arousal. The key to mastery is approaching life with dedicated efforts and experimenting with realistic but challenging goals (Buchanan, 2016). I will facilitate mastery experiences for my students through instructional strategies focused on providing them with opportunities for performance success. In order to do so, I will help my students set goals and devise plans to reach those goals, encourage challenging goals that are attainable, provide honest and timely feedback, and teach them how to use metacognitive study strategies. As students experience success related to their efforts, they will experience a sense of mastery that will boost their self-efficacy.
Although mastery experiences have been shown to produce the most powerful influence on efficacy beliefs, individuals can also learn by vicariously observing the successes and failures of respected, competent models who share similarities. Students are likely to emulate competent models who demonstrate competence within their area of expertise and engage in behaviors that successfully deal with their environment (Gonzalez-DeHass & Willems, 2012). To express competence, I will be prepared for class and knowledgeable in the content. It will be my task to be an effective role model for my students. I will do so by modeling enthusiasm for learning, respect for others, a concerted work ethic, effective communication, and honesty. It is also imperative for my students to see their peers succeed, which will facilitate belief in their own ability to succeed. Teaching science is the optimal environment for modeling. My lessons will be geared toward showing my students how to read, write and think as scientists. Cooperative learning groups of mixed abilities will be used to employ peer scaffolding as a means of peer modeling. I will also utilize adults of the biological field to serve as models periodically throughout the school year.
In terms of social persuasion and physiological and emotional arousal, I will use reinforcement, verbal encouragement and honest feedback to promote self-regulation and positivity within my classroom. Ultimately, I consider myself successful as a teacher when my students are confidently able to exhibit critical thinking and problem-solving skills like a scientist. In science, students need to know more than facts. They will need to learn to apply those facts, to hypothesize, analyze and test theories, interpret data, and formulate conclusions. Direct, explicit and varied instruction will be used to engage every student with various learning styles. This will include lectures, organized notes, visual aids, computer activities, projects, current and relevant event sources, and hands on lab experiences. I will also use multiple methods of assessment to help me gauge my students’ performance and gather information to help guide my instruction.
I take an interest in every student as if they are my own and I treat them as I want my children to be treated by their teachers. I aspire to invoke and encourage my students to take an active role and interest in their education, through self-efficacy. It’s my desire that each student perceives my support for them and build their faith in their educational abilities. As they go along on their educational journey, I always want my students to know that I am invested in their success as students and in life.
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