My Teaching Philosophy
My Philosophy of Teaching: Putting it All Together!
Teaching allows me the opportunity to have a positive affect on a youth’s life. Inspiring and motivating teens especially who are facing numerous personal and social issues is what I enjoy most about teaching. I start off the school year using the acronym SWIM to explain my expectations (S: Show Respect, W: Work Hard, I: Illustrate Responsibility, M: Maintain a Positive Attitude). I further used the concept of SWIM and the image of a salmon to create a metaphor for success. As a salmon swims upstream against the current, so too we must swim against the current of our lives which may include difficulties, circumstances out of our control, negative people, and our own false beliefs about our abilities, in order to succeed. I expect my students to participate, to try their hardest despite their self-perceived talents and abilities, and to not be afraid to take risks. These actions are necessary not only to succeed in school but also to succeed in life.
I have talents and abilities that qualify me to be an art educator. I am a creative individual, well studied in art theories and practices. I have a bachelor’s in fine arts and a master’s in interactive design. I have worked in graphic design and visual effects, therefor I am experienced in both traditional visual arts techniques and in newer digital methods and technology. As such, I embrace the use of technology in the classroom and use videos and the internet as instructional tools to engage my students who are “21st Century learners” (Bluestein, 2012). That being said, the most important traits I bring to the classroom are kindness, compassion, and caring. I find it easy to build positive teacher-student relationships. Building positive teacher-student relationships is the essential key to classroom management (Marzano, 2003a, 2003b). “Teachers’ challenge is to work alongside our students, to know their interests and goals, and to develop trusting relationships that help students connect their learning to their goals in a way that motivates from within” (Ferlazzo, 2012, p1). I enjoy getting to know my students and genuinely care about them. Students seem open to come and talk to me about issues they are facing. I listen, advise, and assist them as best I can
I teach 2D Studio Art to high school students. My approach to teaching this class is to balance the teaching of skills and art media with the teaching of art vocabulary, concepts, theories, history, and criticism. Students are learning at all levels of learning as identified in Anderson’s revised Bloom’s Taxonomy: remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating (Forehand, 2005). Unit lessons are framed by an essential question that promotes higher order thinking and a summarizing activity. Within the lessons students are given new terminology to remember, key concepts to understand through identifying, classifying, comparing/contrasting, explaining, summarizing, creating projects, writing, analyzing other’s and their own art, and evaluating their own and their peer’s work. Throughout the year I incorporate a number of essential instructional strategies such as identifying similarities and differences, note-taking and summarizing, continued practice through homework, non-linguistic representations, the use of cues, questions and advanced organizers to promote critical thinking, and cooperative learning (Varlas, 2002).
I believe that teachers need to be mindful of the many differences among their students. I will make a concentrated effort to differentiate instruction based on learning styles as described in the theory of multiple intelligence (Gardner, 2011), interests, readiness level, and learning profile (Tomlinson, 2008). I also feel that an integrated curriculum is valuable in the teaching of art. As much as possible I try to link art with other disciplines such as history, psychology, science, and math and provide them opportunities to improve their reading and writing skills. By making these connections I can promote critical thinking skills needed across all disciplines and enhance student engagement, particularly for those students who are not artistically inclined.
Classroom management is perhaps the most important aspect of teaching, as “effective teaching and learning cannot take place in a poorly managed classroom” (Marzano, 2003a, p.1). The first few days of school are essential to making a good impression, establishing the classroom management plan, and setting the tone for the rest of the year (Marzano, 2003a; Wong, 2009). A teacher must then be consistent with reinforcing rules and procedures and following through with rewards and consequences. Furthermore I believe that it is the ethical responsibility of the teacher to create a classroom atmosphere that is physically and emotionally safe (Perry, 2000), is democratic (“Code”, 2015; Gude, 2009), and free of discrimination and harassment. The teacher must model honesty, integrity, and respect. These sentiments are reflected in the Code of Ethics & Principles of Professional Conduct for the Education Profession in Florida. Key to all the codes and principles outlined therein is “the freedom to learn and to teach and the guarantee of equal opportunity for all” (“Code”, 2015). Moreover, in such a way that the teacher has these obligations to the students, the teacher should expect the same of the students
Although my foundation of goals and ideals may at it’s core remain the same I imagine they will evolve as I gain wisdom through teaching experience. Certainly the techniques and strategies I use will change as I am introduced to more research and new techniques. Also I have to keep in mind my particular diverse group of students and may have to adapt these strategies to fit their needs, based on demonstrated effectiveness. Just like teaching approaches have had to evolve from that of preparing students for industrial-age jobs of the past to current information-age jobs that involve technology and collaborative thinking (Bluestein, 2012), so too they must evolve to fit the needs and interests of future generations of students. Therefor, a teacher must be ever flexible and open to professional development and growth.
Bluestein, J. (2012). Industrial age vs. information age. Retrieved from http://janebluestein.com/2012/industrial-age-vs-information-age/
Code of ethics & principles of professional conduct for the education profession in Florida (2015). Florida Department of Education. Retrieved from http://www.fldoe.org/teaching/professional-practices/code-of-ethics-principles-of-professio.stml
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Marzano, R.J. & Marzano J.S. (2003b). The key to classroom management. Building Classroom Relationships, 61(1), 6-13.
Perry, B. D. (2000). Creating an emotionally safe classroom. Early Childhood Today, 15(1), 35-36.
Tomlinson, C. A., Brimijoin, K., & Narvaez, L. (2008). Differentiated school: making revolutionary changes in teaching and learning. Alexandria, VA, USA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (ASCD). Retrieved from http://www.ebrary.com
Varlas, L (2002). Getting acquainted with the essential nine. ASCD Curriculum Update, Winter.
Wong, H. & Wong, R. (2009). The first days of school: How to be an effective teacher. Mountain View, CA: Harry K. Wong Publications, Inc.