As a teacher you are given the opportunity to largely impact your students lives. Throughout my education I have experienced a variety of teaching style. Some of my past teachers have left the impact on me that I will strive to leave on my students, and others merely left a dent. Experiencing this helped me to be able to see the characteristics that compile a good teacher, and those that do just the opposite. As a future educator my passion is to become a teacher that my students can look back on and say, She impacted my life and prepared me for what was to come. I believe that every student has the right to quality education and learning.
There are several educational philosophies that are tried and true when it comes to becoming a successful teacher, and having success in your classroom. The key is to figure out which philosophy best fits with the way you intend to connect with your classroom. In my opinion, the progressivism theory best connects and fits me. I feel that progressivism best fits me because it is my belief that education is centered around the whole child, rather than the content or teacher. I believe in learning by doing is a way to effectively help students learn problem-solving skills, and help prepare them for situations in and out of the classroom. It is easy to stand in front of a classroom and lecture all day, but what percentage of your students actually retained the content you are trying to teach them? How many students actively sat and listened without letting their minds and attention wander off onto something else? John Dewey was a philosopher and strong believer of the progressive theory of education, he believed that learning should be active instead of passive. His system helps students to learn and develop life skills that can be used in other aspects outside of a classroom.
The progressive theory embraces the idea that we as teachers should encourage a student on how to think rather than throwing them a test to see if they have obtained the information and are considered to be “”educated.”” Experiential learning is based upon developing student’s with skills like having good teamwork, being able to have creative thinking, and work independently. Having a student that is prepared to work with a team and tackle problems independently sets them ahead for real life situations that can occur for them. During some of my observations I learned quickly that students are quick to engage in learning through progressive teaching. One day, the teacher allowed students to walk up to the smart board and work the problem out in front of other students. As the student was working the problem out, other classmates helped walk the student through any confusing spots he came across until they figured it out as a whole before asking the teacher for help. It was great seeing the students so engaged and interested in helping one another to figure out the problem rather than the teacher walking around and helping them one on one as they worked alone. Being a more progressive teacher means to be a facilitator who encourages the classroom to think and question what is around them rather than leading the classroom from the front and hoping it sticks with them.
By supporting the progressive philosophy of teaching means to support a form of learning that makes going through school a more enjoyable time of their life, and not just a phase they have to go through during childhood and ends when they become an adult. Being able to help students learn and get the education they need is everything, but to be able to do that plus incorporate skills that they can use throughout their life means even more. Encouraging students to explore the goals of learning is more of a value for me than memorization. As a teacher making sure my students can actively engage in problem solving is a huge goal for myself. I want my students to learn, but also knowing how to address problems by creativity, problem-solving, and brainstorming. I believe that these are good qualities for them to have to be able to be successful in real life.
While getting observation hours in, I was able to distinguish teachers using several different teaching theories. Personally, the teachers who based the learning around their students, and engaged in more of a hands-on learning experience are the most effective. The progressivism approach relates to standard two and four in the Kentucky Teaching Standards. Standard two is that the teacher designs and plans instruction. In any approach that you choose to teach in your classroom it is important that you create lesson plans accordingly based on your way of teaching. With progressive teaching it is imperative that you would plan and design instruction for more of a learning by doing aspect. While creating a hands-on approach to the learning you must make sure your students are able to apply core concepts, become self-sufficient individuals, think and solve problems, become responsible team members, and integrate knowledge. Standard four says that teachers are to implement and manage instruction. Progressivism really encourages students to think creatively and brainstorm. Encouraging your students to think and question the world around them is a way to facilitate higher order thinking which is what standard four encourages. Progressivism in my opinion coincides with higher order thinking. It’s all about teaching the student to think outside of the normal to reach higher goals and achieve more success.
The University of the Cumberlands Standard 12 to demonstrate behaviors that support the Kentucky School Professional Code of Ethics says to provide students with professional education services in a nondiscriminatory manner and in consonance with accepted best practice known to the educator. What better way to support the idea of the best interest of the student rather than applying progressive teaching in your classroom. This engages students in active learning, learning by doing, and more of a hands on approach in learning. All of these help to better engage the student in daily activities and keep their attention so that they can apply what they learn to other situations throughout their life. Progressive education instills the students with the ability to be themselves, and create a new desire for learning that other teachers may not be able to create with other approaches of teaching content. When students are active learners they are able to tackle problems head on and do it confidently whether it be as a teammate or independently. Progressive teaching displays an approach for success of learning in the classroom, thus providing the best practice known to the educator as the standard 12 requests.
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