I believe that every person has the right to have a quality education in a positive learning environment. The teacher provides the student with all of the necessary resources to thrive in an atmosphere that is controlled and secure. In this setting students are motivated and encouraged to attain their full potential. Only in this positive learning environment can the teacher empower the student to matriculate and become a productive citizen in today's society.
My teaching philosophy is a mixture between the ideas of Progressivism and Essentialism. I believe that student learn best through problem solving and using critical thinking skills; however, students must have basic background knowledge in order to think critically about a subject. I agree with the Essentialism belief to give students the background knowledge that they will need in order to productive citizens of today's society. If a person has all of the necessary information to be productive and he or she does not know how to apply it, then the information is not worthwhile. The Progressivism view states that the value to knowledge resides in its ability to solve problems. Therefore, students must know how to think and how to work through problems. Teaching mathematics allowed me to see how important the thinking process was in finding solutions to questions. Students who just knew the answer, but could not explain how they arrived at the answer usually did poorer upon evaluation than those who knew the process.
I believe that with the right problem-solving skills, a person will be able to find solutions to any problem that he or she is faced with. I believe that the teacher is best served in the classroom as a facilitator of learning and not as the sole vessel of learning. My best teaching experiences occurred when I gave students the basic background knowledge of an unit and allowed them to work together to develop solutions to questions pertaining to that unit.
The Cognitivism learning theory suggests, "[Students] are rational beings that require active participation in order to learn, and whose actions are a consequence of thinking." I believe that students must actively use material in order to process it and apply it. The Cognitivism learning theory also includes "mental processes such as thinking, memory, knowing, and problem-solving need to be explored." This learning theory encompasses all mental processes which include taking background information, processing that information, and applying it to solve problems.
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