My philosophy of education reflects my values about teaching life skills to my students and being a supportive adult in their lives. I will teach my students to be self-reliant, independent, critical thinkers so that when they graduate they will be positive citizens with a healthy sense of self. I believe it is important to create a warm environment in my classroom where students will feel comfortable sharing their ideas and partaking openly in a discussion. I will immerse my students in an empathetic environment where I hold my students to high expectations. This can be done by always encouraging good behaviour, reinforcing proper conduct, but understanding the challenges that each individual student faces in their lives. I believe that my role as a teacher is to respond to my students’ needs, and this is best done in a classroom where they feel safe and welcomed. Every student has different needs, interests, and levels of readiness.
As a teacher, I must individualize my instruction by differentiating my activities and instructional strategies to reach all my students. Differentiated instruction is one of the most important aspects that I will utilize to teach my students. It involves responding to the needs of the students, rather than holding them all to a common mould or standard. It’s important to use high yield strategies to address the individual needs of my students by differentiating the products I use to assess my students, differentiating the learning environment, and differentiating the process of instruction. I will do this by implementing many student-centered activities and giving students opportunities to learn cooperatively in authentic situations.
When it comes to assessing students, it is my philosophy that students should have many opportunities to demonstrate their learning and receive ongoing feedback on their progress. This will allow students to become more engaged in their own learning. As such, I will concentrate on using assessment ‘for’ and ‘as’ learning. This means giving students opportunities for peer evaluation, self-evaluation, and smaller assessments in general. I will then be able to see where my students’ weaknesses and strengths are and address them accordingly.
As a teacher, I believe my role is that of a facilitator. Students are not blank slates; each comes to school with their own culture, opinions, and biases. Everyone deserves an equitable opportunity for success. Research has shown that a positive school environment can ultimately help direct a student, be they high-risk or low risk, on to a positive path to leading a successful and healthy life. I will take the diversity of my students into consideration when planning my lessons so that I will be able to create engaging and relatable lessons. This will allow me to invest in a relationship with my students and thus minimize classroom management issues. I believe that having this rapport is a key factor to understanding a student’s disposition, struggles, and interests. With this background knowledge, I, as a professional, will be able to share my knowledge and passion for learning with my students.
What is Pygmalion Theory?
Pygmalion Theory is a theory that stems from the core belief that the expectations expressed by an individual towards another person have the power to dictate whether or not that person will meet those expectations. In the context
of education, this means that students have a tendency to live up to the expectations of their parents and teachers, no matter how low or high those expectations may be.
How can the Pygmalion Theory be applied in the classroom?
Within the context of my classroom, I make use of the Pygmalion Theory by holding all of my students to high expectations while taking into account their own readiness, their learning preferences, and their needs as students. Humans are social creatures by nature. As such, It is very easy for a student to pick out cues about what is expected of them. Teachers expectations can influence or motivate students‘ performance. By communicating high-performance expectations, students will feel compelled to meet those expectations. I believe in the vast potential of every student. It is my job as an educator to address the needs of my students and thereby aid them in reaching their highest potentials. This can be done by providing lots of positive feedback, praising the work done (rather than an inherent character trait), and making sure that my students have the resources they need to succeed.
Classroom Management Plan
In the organization and operation of my classroom, I need to have consistent routines. I need to have structured organization so students know when they will be expected to listen when to engage in discussion, and when they are free to work independently or in groups. Structure is important since it allows students to have a good idea of what will happen next in the class. However, my classroom structure also needs to be flexible and adaptable. What will work for one group of students may not necessarily work with my next group. It is important to build a rapport with my students as part of my management plan so I can address their needs. I need to have a clear set of rules at the beginning of a term/school year: students must treat each other with respect, they must treat the teacher with respect, they must be working during work periods. Students must be listening when a classmate or a teacher is speaking.
I build a supportive, safe, and inclusive classroom environment. The focus of the classroom is learning. An organized class where controlled collaboration is the norm will help facilitate this learning. Students will feel comfortable participating when I have established a communal sense of safety in the classroom. I will do this with my words and my actions by:
- having a no-tolerance policy and immediately addressing any racist, homophobic, or hurtful remarks
- encouraging all answers, correct or incorrect
- facilitating community building activities that will allow students to get to know one another
Collaboration: The classroom is our space
I like to have students engaged in my class routines and organization. It is an effective strategy for establishing the tone of the class at the beginning of the period, e.g. by asking students to immediately start on Bellwork that is prepared for them. I will have them participate in the housekeeping tasks for the class: bringing down attendance, setting up materials for an activity, passing out handouts. This establishes a sense of responsibility and will give students a sense of control over the classroom. Overall, I prefer a collaborative power base in my classroom management.
Adaptability: There’s no such thing as a “one size fits all”
Although I do believe that effective classroom management should be consistent and predictable, I don’t think that misbehaviour should be dealt with in the exact same way for all individuals. Discipline should depend on the circumstances and the task at hand. The purpose of having rules is to prevent an undesirable outcome by upholding standards of behaviour. It should be adjusted according to the situation at hand.
Within the elementary divisions, My ideal classroom will be arranged in a U-shape. I like this arrangement because it makes it easy to implement changes in proximity, voice, and body language to proactively prevent behaviour problems before they happen. From this arrangement, I would stand near the projector (if there was one), or near the board (the red rectangle) as I instruct students.
When it comes time for group work or discussions, it would be easy to ask students to arrange their desks into groups of 4-5 with the people around them. By minimizing transition time, I would also mini-
mize the time during which disruption would take place. The horseshoe arrangement is great for keeping an eye on all students at all times, while not particularly singling out any single student when they are acting out during a lesson. I can use proximity as a warning by walking closely with the students who are being disruptive.
Classroom rules and routines:
I like co-creating rules with my class because it is a strategy that forces students to feel accountable for their own actions. I would do this with a classroom contract containing the co-created rules. The contract would be referred to when addressing problems. During my teaching, I have enforced a “Three Strikes” policy.
For the first behavioural infraction, the student receives a warning. I make sure to emphasize why the behaviour was inappropriate. After the second infraction, the student loses a privilege. During my Grade 7/8 teaching experience, this meant that the student loss recess time. After a third infraction, a call home to the parents is made.
Setting up clear classroom routines that make the learning experience predictable prevents classroom disruptions because when students know what they have to do next, they will be more likely to stay on task. Learning time will be less interrupted and students will spend more time on the tasks that they need to do.
My instructional approach involves engaging lessons and activities that will be relatable to students. When the instruction is interesting, students will feel more in-
vested in their learning and won’t act out as much. As a teacher, I will be proactive with my classroom management by getting to know my students’ needs, interests, and readiness levels. I will then differentiate my instructional strategies to incorporate the learning preferences of all my students. Material that is too hard or too easy will fuel disengagement and frustration. To avoid this, I will offer my students lots of choice within assignments and will give ample class time to complete school work. Knowing my students is an integral component of my classroom management plan. My assessment will reflect my differentiation by including explicit success criteria and having many opportunities for students to receive consistent feedback on their progress through formative assessment.
It’s also important to build a system of efficient and effective communication with parents to inform them about classroom expectations and routines. I would do this using newsletters and periodic phone calls. I would make sure to start the year with a sunshine call, a positive and friendly call to ask for their preferred form of contact, to establish a positive relationship with parents.