Updated: Aug 16, 2020
Our Director's teaching philosophy is interrelated with part of her life's philosophy, the important part that focuses on treating people as she would like to be treated. Like most educators, Mrs. Campbell-Paul never thought about constructing a teaching philosophy; however, on reflection, she realizes that a teaching philosophy matters because it serves as a guide and will ultimately help educators to evaluate their performances accordingly. Mrs. Campbell-Paul is now proud to state that she has created her own teaching philosophy based on her prior teaching experiences. Understanding the concept of teaching and learning, role of the teacher, goals for the learners, motivating learners, mutual respect and learning, and implementing and evaluating are the key ingredients of her teaching philosophy.
Teaching and learning are terms educators use quite loosely without taking the time to understand their meanings. In Mrs. Campbell-Paul's mind, teaching refers to imparting knowledge in a manner that the learner of that knowledge should be able to interpret it easily and accurately. This sounds easy, but to achieve this feat, the teacher must understand the demographics of the learners. Consequently, this calls for cognitive thinking; that is getting into our learners' minds to inter alia, determine what makes learners pay attention, to decipher their processing speed, their long term memory, their logic, reasoning, etc. On the other hand, her perception of learning is that it involves receiving information, processing that information, understanding that information, retaining that information and sharing that information. This amounts to deep learning, rather than surface learning. An example of surface learning she always refer to occurred sometime ago when a student sat in her class for eight weeks only to realize then that she had already done the course. Needless to say, she is still bemused by that occurrence.
Moreover, the role of the teacher is extremely important in Mrs. Campbell-Paul's teaching philosophy. It is not good enough to simply state that "I am a teacher and I am only doing what I am being paid to do". She might be chastised for saying this, but teachers with this mentality have no place in the classrooms because the learners feel this kind of thinking/energy and they will respond accordingly. This feeling can be equated with her beliefs that corrupt politicians should not govern our country and corrupt police officers should be discharged from the establishment. Rather, the role of the teacher, encompasses a number of characters. Those characters/roles include, but are not limited to educators, parents, psychologists, confidantes, friends, problem-solvers, etc. In her mind, these characters/roles are absolutely necessary to become an effective teacher.
Without goals for her learners, Mrs. Campbell-Paul will not have an effective teaching philosophy. In other words, what does she want her students to achieve from her teachings? For the most part, teachers are required to deliver a certain amount of content in a specific period of time. Is this all teachers should be required to do? No! Yes, the content will be delivered, but she also wants them to appreciate the content, understand the content, retain the content, share the content, and finally, achieve good grades.
In order for learners to achieve the goals the teachers want, teachers must know how to motivate their learners. This can be a rather difficult task when you take the economic, physical, social, intellectual and emotional factors into consideration. However, this aspect goes back to the role of the teacher, who plays many different characters. For example, if a student tells a teacher that he/she is unable to cope with the stresses of higher learning, the problem-solver character should immediately step in and encourage that student as best as that teacher can. Among other things, the learner should be assured that having certification in higher learning is advantageous in many societies. Notwithstanding, for the learner to be motivated, the teacher ought to be very persuasive and very skilled. This can be developed over time and with continuous training.
The introduction indicated that Mrs. Campbell-Paul's teaching philosophy is interrelated with the part of her life's philosophy that deals with treating people as she would like to be treated. Respect and learning are two of her biggest life's philosophy. To this end, she has never disrespected anyone in her life and she believes she can learn from anyone - from the cleaner to the CEO. Therefore, the same holds for her learners. From personal experiences, Mrs. Campbell-Paul believes that some educators have the tendency to treat their learners with scant courtesy because they are higher up the academic ladder; therefore, they enter the classrooms in a haughty and condescending manner. Mrs. Campbell-Paul opines that learners immediately recognize this behaviour, and they will silently (sometimes outwardly) reject it. She respects all of her learners, and based on their interaction with her, she can safely say they respect her too. In fact, there have been times when she has apologized to students for various things. Respect involves listening, understanding, learning, sharing, meaningful communication and honesty. She can also say that she has learned from her students, particularly the young ones. They represent the new generation, and while they are sometimes scoffed at, they bring an entirely new energy to the classroom. This energy keeps Mrs. Campbell-Paul on her toes and also keeps her updating her methods; all with the aim of learning how to interact with them to achieve the goals she wants them to achieve. Moreover, it goes without saying that her learners have learned and will continue to learn from her.
The final aspect of Mrs. Campbell-Paul's teaching philosophy involves implementation of the previous parts and evaluating. There is a popular saying that action speaks louder than words. Talking about your teaching philosophy is one thing, but the real test will come when you attempt to implement it. Implementation of her teaching philosophy involves varying strategies all aimed at executing each part of that philosophy. Such strategies will include but will not be limited to practicing what she preaches, providing the necessary tools for the learners, performing her role to the best of her ability, inspiring them to achieve the goals she wants them to achieve and continuously holding her learners in high esteem. Like implementation, evaluation is equally important in every aspect of our lives. As an event planner, Mrs. Campbell-Paul knows how important evaluation is. In her own life, she constantly evaluates where she is currently at to determine if she wants to be where she is now. Consequently, teachers must evaluate the contents of their teaching philosophy to keep them on track.