The definition of education is a broad one. Malcolm Forbes once said that the purpose of education is “to replace an empty mind with an open one” (Forbes, 2015). This idea resonates with me as a not only a purpose for education, but also a way of thinking that fosters creativity and discovery. These two concepts are exactly what purpose education should serve for children, as a means for learning as well as the discovery of personal love of learning. Education should open minds, open doors, and give the tools for success to students.
Providing students with the tools for success goes far beyond the simple idea of teaching subjects and hoping students learn. The definition of teacher is often considered as simply “to teach,” which is actually a vague description. The old joke “I taught them, but they didn’t learn” is one that should never be a literal mindset, as intention to teach differs from dedication and success in teaching (McTighe, Wiggins, 2007). This idea correlates with the various curriculums from which the students learn, from the main curriculum to the hidden. The importance of the hidden curriculum is comparable to any mainstream subject that is taught, including the social direction, emotional connections, and guidance a teacher gives in his or her classroom. Hence, the intention to teach, such as teaching a lesson in a specific way with little to no consideration of the students’ methods and means of retention, is simply not enough. Success in teaching begins with the passion of the teacher to teach beyond the subject.
The passion of the teacher resounds within the way he or she teaches. Following the mandated methods of teaching is important, but equally as crucial is the way in which a teacher instills his or her own enthusiasm into each lesson. When planning a curriculum, a teacher may list subjects, lessons, and so on within their plans precisely within the guidelines of the Common Core. However, one significant aspect that should be a part of any and every curriculum is almost always left out: fun. Presented in a publication by the American Academy of Pediatrics, it has been proven through study and survey that the concept of play “allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. Play is important to healthy brain development” (Ginsburg, 2007). As true as this concept is for young children in the peak of their brain development, it also resonates with school aged children throughout their school careers. Instilling fun into a lesson is a task that is not always easy, yet can be accomplished via activities, hands on experiments, or simply getting a student out of their desk and moving. Finding ways for a student to enjoy a lesson in order to aid in their study retention is especially beneficial in fostering the aforementioned love for learning.
Another important facet to infuse into curriculum is technology. In just the past few decades, technology has altered and shaped society and culture. There are very few, if any, career paths that do not incorporate technology in some way. Thus, students should grow right alongside technology, gaining the ability to use it for both learning and creative opportunities. Technology in any form should be utilized in the classroom as an asset and aid to the curriculum, such as: computers and tablets for research, applications, and programs that students may employ during assignments; applications and devices that streamline and consolidate a teacher’s workload; and digital materials that are easily obtained and freely accessible in- and outside of the classroom.
A student’s probability of developing that ever-sought-after thirst for knowledge flourishes within the learning environment that the teacher is responsible for creating. The learning environment is one that is meant to be safe and comfortable, as well as a means of facilitating a productive and trusting connection between student, teacher, parent, and peer. The very “open mind” philosophy coordinates with an “open door” policy, where a student who is open to problem solving is always able to come to their teacher or classroom for any need they may have. Furthermore, students should enter the classroom encouraged and challenged with the environment’s intent of promoting inspiration and curiosity within the student. These ideas are exactly what a student needs to find within themselves an enthusiasm for learning that stems from an educator’s comparable enthusiasm to teach.
My desire to teach is shaped by my educational philosophy. My views on how to create an environment that inspires children to use their imagination and discover knowledge is how I plan to succeed as an educator and create a lasting impression upon my students. If I am successful with these endeavors, I believe my students will undoubtedly be just as successful in their school careers.
Armstrong, D., & Henson, K. (2015). Teaching today: An introduction to education (Ninth ed.).
Forbes, M. (2015). Business of Education. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/global/2011/1010/thoughts-opinions-proverbs-business-education-forbes-staff.html
Ginsburg, K. (2007). The importance of play in promoting healthy child development and maintaining strong parent-child bonds. Retrieved from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/119/1/182
McTighe, J., & Wiggins, G. (2015). Membership. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/107018/chapters/What-Is-the-Teacher’s-Job-When-Teaching¢.aspx