My Philosophy on Education
“Wake up! It’s time to get ready for school.” I loved those words as a child but grew to hate them as a teen. As a child, school consisted of hands-on activities, mingling with others, and enticing lessons. As a teen, school consisted of being forced to remain seated, reading a chapter, answering the questions at the end of the chapter, and completing a worksheet. I found school to be boring and excessively routine. Therefore, I never aspired to be a teacher. I cringed at the thought of that routine! After graduating from college with a degree in recreation and spending ten years in wonderful jobs that always led me back to children, like working at a child-care center for the abused, a children's museum, and a youth organization, I’ve finally stopped resisting what I’ve now considered to be the inevitable. I’ve embraced the idea of being a teacher. Unlike the cookie cutter approach, I want education to be a different experience for students than what my experience was. Education can be and should be so much more. Education should include acquiring knowledge, processing knowledge in order to become a critical thinker, having book sense as well as common sense and thinking skills, using a variety of techniques, curriculums, and/or structure, and measuring results through testing as well as application.
No matter what the stage in development, whether prenatal, toddler, early childhood, middle childhood, or adolescence, I believe that given the right tools, every child can learn. My husband is a special education teacher of students with many different handicaps, including the behavioral or learning disabled. Our conversations often include: “There is something that can touch each one of these children.” Although many students have a variety of handicaps, including learning patterns, life styles, or lack of parental concern, I believe that there is something that can touch each child, something than can inspire him, spark his interest. Along with the help of the learning community such as parents or other family contacts, other teachers, events and activities, we need to discover what sparks each child and help him in his development. This includes determining his learning style whether it’s auditory where he learns by hearing, visual where he learns by seeing, or kinesthetic where he learns by doing, or a mixture of the three. This also includes determining for each child what Howard Gardner calls Multiple Intelligence. While I wouldn’t necessarily label learning styles so specifically for the fear of omitting one or failing to recognize others, I do agree with Gardners’ concepts and agree that we can determine and offer learning through linguistic, mathematical, musical, kinesthetic, spatial, interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalist, or other abilities.
I so believe in re-enforcers. I hesitate to refer to it as “conditioning” as did mid-twentieth researchers Ivan Pavlov and BF Skinner because...