Going into this class, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you what my personal teaching philosophy was, and I didn’t have the first idea how to write a proper lesson plan. I was still somewhat unsure on becoming a teacher, and I had very little experience in the classroom. Now that I have completed this course, I can say with confidence that all of those things have changed. EDU 2104 in addition to the other two courses that are a part of the Foundations quarter (EDU 2200/EDU 2300) were my first official education courses at SPU. I’ve realized how lucky I am to attend a school that has an education program as good as this one, because I feel that even after one quarter, I have already grown so much. Now that the quarter is coming to a close, I have a chance to compile all that I’ve learned and reflect on my experience.
Our first area of focus in this course was to discuss and compare different teaching philosophies. The goal of doing so was to not only become more knowledgeable on the topic, but to discover which philosophy we identify with most. To help us do this, we were assigned a reading that touched on Perennialism, Essentialism, Progressivism, Existentialism, and Social Reconstructivism as five unique philosophies. After reading, my choice was not as easy as I thought it would be. I discovered that each philosophy has their own strengths as well as weaknesses, and I came to the conclusion that I will most likely incorporate themes from multiple philosophies into my classroom instead of only one. However, if had to chose just one, I would chose Progressivism. This philosophy stood out to me because it brings up the idea that we must not only be teaching our students what to learn, but how to learn. Progressivism is centered on the student, not the content, as the reading states, “the philosophy of progressivism espouses the idea that the focus of education should be students rather than content and that whatever is taught should be meaningful” (Martin & Lewis, 2007, p. 50). I like the student-centered approach because I believe that every individual learns differently. It is important to identify the ways in which every student learns best in order to be a more effective teacher.
Another important aspect of teaching that we covered in this course is lesson planning. I have been learning how to make a good lesson plan, and as our final I will be tested on my abilities by presenting my own lesson to the School of Education. As a future teacher, this is a very important skill to learn early on, because a big part of teaching is planning. I’m very glad we covered this in class, because not only is it necessary, but I discovered that I enjoy writing lessons very much. One of the first steps that helped me understand lesson plans was distinguishing between the standard, central focus, and learning target. Creating the main objective(s) in this beginning section is the part that guides the rest of the lesson. It’s stated that, “every effective lesson plan should build toward the achievement of the objective and connect to long-term instructional goals” (Lesson Planning, p. 77). I’ve learned to remember this as I write my own lessons, and thanks to the practice I’ve had in this course, I now feel confident that I can write a good lesson on my own.
Out of everything that was required of us in this course, the one activity that I found the most helpful was completing twenty hours of volunteer service. This requirement was to be completed in an educational setting, and I chose to complete mine at a local elementary school working as an aid in a first grade classroom. Even though I am more interested in teaching fourth or fifth grade (language arts concentration) I loved my time working with these students, and was able to come out of it feeling more prepared for my future. I was able to apply my experiences there to the topics we discussed in class, and I made connections with the students that I will never forget. Now that I have completed the hours that were needed for this course, I hope to extend my learning and volunteer in more classrooms if possible.
Now that I have completed this course, I have learned many useful skills that will help me in my future as an educator. From philosophies of education, to lesson planning, to classroom experience, this course has benefitted me and prepared me in many ways. I have enjoyed my experience in this class and look forward to the next step in my journey into the world of education.
Lesson Planning, Part 1: Standard Lesson Structure. (n.d.). In (p. 77).
Martin, D., & Loomis, K. (2007). Chapter Two: Your Philosophy of Education. In Building Teachers: A Constructivist Approach to Introducing Education (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth.