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Education aims to instill in its recipients the belief that they are masters of their destiny, wielding considerable control over events that unfold around them. Moreover, education empowers individuals to become esteemed and respected members of society. This paper delves into how education can be harnessed to achieve empowerment among the masses, thus alleviating and eradicating societal inequities, including poverty, substance abuse, criminality, illiteracy, and marginalization. As an educator, I recognize the uniqueness of each child's information assimilation process and, therefore, strive to cater to their diverse needs and learning styles within my classroom. Both direct instruction and constructivism will find application in my teaching, as they synergistically enable knowledge impartation while encouraging students to form their own understandings based on their experiences.
Education as a Tool for Empowering Society
My personal educational philosophy revolves around the belief that, when effectively implemented, education empowers individuals to be the best versions of themselves, thereby fulfilling their true potential. This empowerment not only positively impacts their lives but also uplifts and betters the entire community. Witnessing my own teachers' dedication during my formative years left an indelible impression on me, inspiring me to be nothing less than exceptional in imparting knowledge to my future students.
Philosophy of Schools & Learning
Education should be embraced as a formidable weapon in the collective battle against societal inequities. An educated individual possesses the enlightenment to discern between right and wrong, becoming instrumental in challenging injustice and perpetuating righteousness. Societies with a higher proportion of educated citizens tend to flourish across multiple domains, such as technology, industry, and politics. For instance, colonialism only ceased when a critical mass of educated citizens in colonized states began questioning its legitimacy. Developed nations typically boast low illiteracy rates, unlike burgeoning economies still striving to ensure equitable access to quality education for all citizens. According to Kinloch (2017), "American public education has the potential to remedy inequality of opportunity, improve social conditions, and reduce high rates of poverty for all people, especially those of low socioeconomic status and diverse racial, ethnic, and linguistic backgrounds" (p. 1).
Mann (1848) eloquently stated, "Education, then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, — the balance-wheel of the social machinery" (p. 669). My aspiration is for my students to utilize their knowledge to bridge societal gaps or elevate themselves to a higher understanding within their communities, emerging from my classroom as a formidable force in the world.
To foster a thriving learning environment, I aim to transform the classroom into a cohesive community of eager minds, rather than a mere teacher-student dynamic. By exploring and discovering new content alongside my students, I seek to heighten their interest in the subjects, resulting in greater engagement. To achieve this, I intend to embrace the constructivism approach, which leverages students' experiences to facilitate their unique understanding of complex issues. When combined with direct instruction, this methodology guides learners toward drawing accurate conclusions from their experiences, leading to profound comprehension. Gersten & Keating (n.d) argue that direct instruction accelerates students' maturity, as they grasp the expectations of the teaching and learning process with greater clarity. The integration of constructivism and direct instruction averts the "banking problem," where teachers merely deposit knowledge without granting learners the opportunity to question it.
People learn by attempting to understand their environment. For instance, a kindergartener may wonder, "Why does the sun seem to move, and why does this phenomenon occur daily?" Or, "Why does the moon assume different shapes at various times of the month, unlike the sun?" Darling-Hammond, Austin, Suzanne & Rosso (2001) propose that "Greater perceptual development and learning occur in environments that are rich with stimuli and provide useful feedback in response to a learner’s efforts to act upon the environment" (p. 11). Thus, I aim to enrich my classroom with learning aids, such as diagrams, to encourage curiosity and enable my students to develop their understandings through guided consultations.
Students who regularly question their environment and experiences are more likely to become proactive members of society. These individuals will not wait for others to solve their problems; instead, they will take initiative in seeking viable solutions and demanding accountability from authorities who neglect their responsibilities.
Maintaining positive and fruitful relationships with my students lies at the core of my educational philosophy. I firmly believe that a productive bond with students motivates them to attend school enthusiastically, fostering an environment where they can learn new ideas and interact with their peers. Rather than shunning failure, I perceive it as an opportunity for learners to grow, enabling them to cultivate the confidence necessary for academic excellence. Research supports this notion, suggesting that a harmonious classroom fosters creativity and reduces anxiety levels among students (Hattie, 2011, p. 23).
In the classroom, diversity often mirrors the heterogeneity of our broader community. Students from various backgrounds unite with the shared goal of learning and self-empowerment. As an educator, I accept the moral responsibility of treating all students equitably, recognizing and appreciating their diverse learning styles and needs. My objective is to be a fair and compassionate teacher, regardless of my students' race, gender, socioeconomic status, or other aspects of diversity.
In conclusion, I firmly believe that my educational philosophy and teaching techniques will empower my students with the necessary skills and knowledge to become influential members of society. They will embrace the responsibility of treating others with kindness and improving the well-being of their communities and the world at large. Educating our children serves as a crucial pillar in ensuring a safe and prosperous society, securing a sustainable environment for future generations.
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