Teaching is my passion, when I was a child I always played in the teacher role. Most of my role models are teachers and being a teacher is a dream come true to me. As an educator I believe in many things, the most important thing I believe in is that early childhood teachers have an effective role on the children and on the learning process and teachers make big differences in people’s lives. They are the ones who can set the right path to walk through academically and sometimes personally.
My philosophy of teaching is based on theorists, Burner, Vygotsky, Piaget, and the early childhood movement from Reggio Emilia, Italy. Moreover, I believe that assessment is an essential tool in the teaching and learning process. Moreover, I believe that a teacher needs to improve her teaching strategies by observing other successful strategies.
I believe in creativity, and my role as a teacher is to find a way to encourage students’ creativity and encourage them to be creative. I also need to respond to students’ interests and make the learning more interesting. Additionally, it’s about how creatively you respond to children’s interests and what you choose to do about a topic or interest—going beyond the obvious. For example, when I noticed that one of students is interested in art, I provide art and craft activities so that specific child gets more interesting in the learning and encourage his creativity. Encouragement is not enough to get students’ interests, most importantly, having fun, valuing and enjoying each other in a secure environment where students can be creative and imaginative “creativity isn’t just in the doing. It’s an attitude and approach that says, ‘We’ll learn from every experience’. You have to build a safe, secure place for educators and children, where it’s okay to take risks and to make mistakes”(Connor, 2001). Therefore, creativity needs a nurturing environment to help it grow and blossom.
Children are motivated to learn when they have opportunities to make choices in an environment that is enriching and stimulating. Children are curious especially in their early years and have a wish to learn from their environment and people around them. When children are encouraged to interact with their peers and adults in positive ways, they feel safe to explore their surroundings. As a teacher I pursue to guide young leaners from assistance with an assignment to accomplishing the assignment independently by providing experiences that are challenging and possible to achieve for every child. Thus, I always consider, my role, as a teacher is to be a facilitator and provide enriching activities so that children can be encouraged, happy and proud of their own accomplishment. This is supported by the Reggio Emilia approach where they believe that the role of a teacher is to facilitate the learning in an encouragement environment “ the role of a teacher is to facilitate learning through the in- depth study of a subject that is of interest to children. Children can be highly motivated, feel actively involved in their own learning and produce work of high quality when they have the time to engage in short and long term projects”(Wheeler, 2014). In order facilitate learning and allow children to work independently, children need to have strong scaffolding.
I believe in Bruner theory of scaffolding, young children need the support and the guidance that an adult can offer them. Bruner, like Vygotsky, highlighted the nature of learning where teacher should help the children develop skills through the process of scaffolding. The concept of scaffolding is very similar to Vygotsky's zone of proximal development, which involves helpful, structured interaction between a teacher and a child with the aim of helping the child achieve the learning outcome or goal. So, I believe that children need guidance and a strong learning platform. Through that scaffolding process teachable moments always appears especially while teaching young students. During my teaching experiences, I find myself in a teachable moment that has nothing to do with the lesson I am teaching and these moments provide students with a good foundation of many skills that can be used later in life, for example, during our morning routine, one student asked why we have three days off from school and celebrate UAE National Day. So, as the teacher, I turned this into a teachable moment to tell the students how the seven emirates were divided and we became one big country and how grateful we are for that. Additionally, it is important for me as a teacher to provide opportunities for children to continuously learn new things. Some might be very difficult and require support, therefore, I need to be aware of the developmental state of each of the children in my class, and provide scaffolding that is appropriate.
I believe that an early childhood teacher’s best quality is understanding children, their development, and the factors that can lead to positive or negative outcomes allow us to help them reach their potential and be successful, active and happy children. As an educator, I believe children need to explore the different domains of development, physically, emotionally, socially, cognitively in their early childhood education to succeed academically later in life. Many theorists believe that teachers need to be equipped the knowledge of children’s development so they can provide opportunities for their students to explore the different domains of learning. As Daniel & Shumow (2002) mentioned “Piaget believes that teachers need to understand child development and are especially important given the current drive for schools to foster higher order reasoning and create autonomous learners who are able to function successfully in the rapidly changing information age”. Similar to this, Davies (2004) states, “if educators understand ages and stages, they can better support children’s development”. So from understanding children’s development, I would implement a variety of different types of methods that would help children explore the different domains of learning. These methods include active learning, in which students solve problems, answer questions, ask questions of their own, discuss, explain, or brainstorm during class to help their cognitive and language development. I also use the cooperative learning method, in which students work in groups to work on their activities so they can develop their social and emotional development through positive interaction with peers and individual liability. Furthermore, understanding children’s development also helps me to differentiate and knows every child’s ability and therefore, I can provide fair and valid assessments.
I believe that assessment is very important for teachers and students as well. It helps the teacher to demonstrate whether or not the goals are being met. In addition, assessment encourages teachers to ask questions to know students’ weakness and strengths and to determine what the next step will be. Formative assessment provides the teacher with instant feedback that she can take in order to enhance her/his teaching. Assessment also provides students with good knowledge where the teacher can revisit topics addressed earlier in the curriculum. Moreover, summative assessment helps understanding children’s learning in contradiction of learning outcomes in order to plan for further learning and to report to parents and others about children’s learning, for example, last trimester, my mentor and I found out that most of the students didn’t achieve a specific learning outcome which we found about from a summative assessment results, so we informed the Head Of Faculty (HOF) and that learning outcomes was put in the new trimester learning outcomes to reteach again. Mentioning and assessment is only one part of the teaching process, reflection is another part and it’s as important as assessment.
I believe in constrictive reflection and critical thinking in teaching and learning. Reflection is a good method to learn one’s weakness and strength and improve them. Through reflection teachers can improve their performance and develop new strategies and teaching skills. Ones can reflect on her/him self or reflect on others such as peers. Peer assessment is very essential in the learning process especially for teachers. It helps us improve our teaching and make strong connections with each other. In addition, it helps us to see what we need to improve and how we can implement new strategies to her teaching. “ Teachers can help each other to make sense of the gaps in their learning and understanding and to get a more sophisticated grasp of the learning process” (Spiller, 2011). During my last training practice, I conducted a peer observation and I learned a lot from my peers. I learned from their strength and I helped them with their weakness and the same happened to she and me when my peer observed me, she pointed to my weakness and suggested strategies that I can use to improve
In conclusion, my philosophy will help me to set up a path to go through during my teaching and it will help me to became the teacher I always dream to be. In addition, my philosophy will provide my students with a wonderful and delightful journey of learning.