Throughout the Introduction to Education Course, we have focused on three main elements of education. In each of them I have learned new information and reflected on how I will apply this new information to my own perspective and practice in the classroom. I will share some of this reflection on the following aspects: philosophies of education, lesson planning, and assessment. Throughout I will make connections to my own experiences, the HOPE standards, and to future application in my specific concentration area and grade level.
Philosophy of Education is something I didn’t formally know a lot about before the course. However, in reading and processing information about the differing viewpoints, I realized even without the formal name, I too had already established ideas about curriculum, instruction, and student and teacher roles in the classroom. In reading Martin and Loomis’s (2006) article I began to realize the importance of these ideas and the impact they will have on my methods in the classroom. The article states it well: “Your beliefs and predispositions about teaching and education have a profound impact on how you teach and what you teach” (p. 38). This realization caused me to seriously consider and desire to learn all I can about the various beliefs in order to be well informed and authoritative in my own convictions. This will help me to be able to explain to others what I believe and show how those beliefs correlate with my methods in the classroom.
Though many HOPE standards relate to an educator’s philosophy of education, the one that stood out to me was E1- Exemplify professionally-informed, growth-centered practice. In relation to educational beliefs, to me this means that teachers remain current on new research and ideas that may inform their philosophy. Additionally they reflect on the effectiveness of their own beliefs, seek advice and feedback from others, and make changes accordingly. Ultimately, we need to consider the students and their learning. I know that these new realizations will be essential to my own teaching in my elementary classroom.
Our learning and discussion on lesson planning caused me to reflect on past experiences and also brought new insight for me. In high school I taught ASL twice a month with three other classmates. Though we had a mentor teacher to advise us, it took just being up in front of the students to truly drill in the importance of careful planning and understanding of objectives. In college, as I have started writing lesson plans of my own and presenting them in classes, the importance of outlining standards has become apparent for communicating the goals of a lesson. Within my own concentration, Social Sciences, I have realized the importance of using the EALR and GLE standards in writing lessons. I know that as I teach these lessons it will be crucial to look to these standards to outline appropriate and sequential objectives.
The article by the Center for Excellence in Teaching (1999) says “a great deal of your effectiveness as a teacher has to do with your ability to design and implement instruction that promotes learning” (p. 29). A lesson plan is an important process for a teacher to go through. “The process of planning each lesson forces you to reflect on what to accomplish in each class and how best to do so” (“Teaching Nuggets,” 1999, p. 29). It causes you to watch your time and use it productively. Good lesson plans can also be used again and can be revised and adapted. Effective lesson planning aligns with HOPE standard P1- practice intentional inquiry and planning for instruction. To me this means that educators purposely set goals for their lessons and make this clear to their students. Furthermore, they consider the diversity of students’ learning needs and with that understanding plan and adapt lessons.
In considering assessment, we focused on the specific type called formative assessment. Formative assessment as defined by Heritage (2007) is “a systematic process to continuously gather evidence about learning” (p. 141). The author goes on to further clarify that data is used to find a student’s level of learning and make lessons applicable and have appropriate goals for students. Student involvement in their own progress and goal establishment was also emphasized. I believe this will be a very appropriate aspect for me to use in my future classroom as I am aiming to teacher upper elementary aged students. At this age they are old enough to begin to take a larger role in their own learning progression. Through formative assessment, I can teach my students the importance of this self-monitoring. This learning will prepare them for high school and eventually college where it is expected of students to engage in their own learning.
In the article Heritage spends a lot of time ensuring that educators understand the huge benefits that come from formative assessment when used correctly. It is important to realize that formative assessment should be used as an “integral part of teaching and learning” (Heritage, 2007, p.140) instead of competing with teaching. Educators must use assessment as a “source of information that can be used during instruction.” In conclusion Heritage (2007) points out that it is mainly an issue of the attitude an educator has toward the role that assessment can play in teaching and learning. In order for formative assessment to be effective teachers must “view assessment as a worthwhile process that yields valuable and actionable information about students’ learning” (p. 145). As I continue to learn more about effective methods of formative assessment and ways to incorporate and allow assessment to inform my instruction, I want to exemplify an attitude that values assessment. I want my fourth and fifth graders to adopt this attitude as well. Instead of being fearful of assessment, I want them to see it as a valuable step in evaluating their own progression. They are old enough take an active role in this area.
Based on my new learning in this introduction course, I am motivated to delve deeper into these three essential areas of education. I know that with new experiences, learning, and interaction in the classroom my own philosophy of education will further develop. I want to be an educator that is looking out for what is best for students and their unique learning and thus constantly evaluating the practice of my beliefs. As I look to lots of lesson planning to come, specifically in Social Sciences area, I aim to be an educator that establishes appropriate and clear objectives for my students that follow the sequence laid out by state or federal standards. I have also learned the importance of returning to evaluate these lessons and being willing to adapt if needed. Lastly, as I consider assessment in my classroom, I want to create a community that has a positive attitude on assessment. Together with the students, I want to see assessment as a useful informant on individual learning progress. As I reflect on all the learning that has occurred throughout this course I am hopeful for the additional learning to come and look forward to looking back to see my own progression through this process.
Martin, D. J., & Loomis, K. S. (2006). Building teachers: A constructivist approach to introducing education. Independence, KY: Wadsworth Publishing.
Center for Excellence in Teaching. (1999). Teaching Nuggets. Los Angeles: University of Southern California.
Heritage, M. (2007). Formative Assessment: What Do Teachers Need to Know and Do?. Phi Delta Kappan, 89(2), 140-145.