Elementary School Teacher Essay

2198 words - 9 pages

As a future elementary school teacher, I would like to teach my students how to respect and understand people who come from different backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities, and people with special needs. Children need to be made aware of differences in people that way they can become more tolerant and understanding. Over the past semester we have learned about a lot of different philosophers that all have different ideas relating to teaching children and people in general. Matthew Lipman is the founder of Philosophy for Children, a program many teachers have implemented into their classrooms that teaches children critical thinking and reasoning skills.
Critical thinking and reasoning skills are important tools that children must learn. “It involves using knowledge to bring about reasonable change” (Lipman, p427). Children need to learn how to understand the information that they are learning on a deeper level than just memorizing facts to pass an exam. They must know how to apply the knowledge that they have been taught. This can be difficult when teachers are being told to teach to the test with the new Common Core standards. Teaching to the test only allows students to understand the information being taught on a basic level, enough to pass a test. When using Matthew Lipman’s idea, students will be able to understand the material on a much deeper level. Critical thinking can be used to teach children of all different educational levels. Children of all levels can learn to point out errors in their own thinking as well as their peer’s thinking.
Matthew Lipman’s ideas can be seen in the video, “Philosophy for Children”. The video shows Lipman’s ideas on philosophy in action in classrooms that have children of all ages. One of the classrooms is a group of six year olds who all have learning difficulties and are described as “slow thinkers.” The children in this class are behind for their age group, but with the help of the philosophy program they are now ahead for their age. They are able to read one of Matthew Lipman’s books called Elfie and use the critical thinking skills that they have learned to explore the ideas in the book. “Philosophy begins when children start to question the meaning of words” (youtube video). Fully understanding what they are reading and learning is the key to success. The teacher asks a child if she thinks Elfie is a girl and another child uses context clues in what he read in the book previously and his own reasoning to answer the question. They are able to use logic and reasoning to understand what they are reading. The children are able to discuss in detail about what they have read and they are able to learn from the other children’s ideas and approaches when reading the material. They are able to talk about the material that they find interesting and not what the teacher thinks is interesting. In the video, Matthew Lipman says that the children “…find themselves being listened to by their peers...” and as a...

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