“Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education. The complete education gives one not only power of concentration but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate.” – Martin Luther King Jr, ‘The purpose of education’. In recent years, character building has been emphasised in education from primary school all the way up to further education and beyond. Producing students with good morals, ‘soft skills’ and ‘skills for life’ is magnified as an important aim of teaching. In practice, facilitating both character building exercises as well as the national curriculum is a difficult juggling act. One element often falls by the wayside and there is not a clear way of countering the imbalance. More often than not, character education is the forgotten element.
Character building frameworks, like the ‘Six Pillars of Character’ developed by the Josephson Institute of Ethics, help to guide our understanding of where to begin when considering character building in students. The Six Pillars are trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship which cover off some of the main character criteria which theoretically make students “well-rounded”. One thing is certain, character education in school and preparing students for challenges, that they will face beyond exam papers, is a must.
Educational success, attendance, and positivity correlate with ‘strength of character’. Thus, it is a big plus if schools successfully educate their pupils in ‘character’ as well as helping them achieve good grades. In practice, it is evident that the former directly affects the latter.
We need to think ’emotional intelligence’ as well as ‘academic intelligence’, and ‘mental well-being’ alongside ‘brain power’. It seems that the character and moral education have, until very recently, been the underdog. This is possibly due to very minimal measurement of character improvement and our assumption that it must be improving if academic grades are improving – this is not always the case. There is also a lot less focus on the development of character education lesson plans and resources. Action must be taken to redistribute resources so that both elements of education are being fostered and measured independently.
For example, take confidence and resilience, two valuable character traits for career progression. Students who have developed confidence will deal well with interviews and the prospect of more responsibility within a role. If students have developed resilience, they will deal well with rejection and unforeseen obstacles rather than wasting time worrying about minor failures. The challenges we encounter in life after school are not easy and can often feel like having a net pulled out from under you. Confidence and resilience are two character traits that are essential for success in the workplace. We do not gain comfort from grades achieved in the past in these practical situations, we gain comfort from character traits like confidence and resilience. The knowledge that we are able and grounded. These traits are what help us to recognise that minor failure does not mark the end.
Teachers should feel confident in their knowledge about character building so that they can integrate character building experiences into lesson plans with ease. We must keep moving forward with the effort to prioritise character building activities and development games and to ensure that students succeed in achieving ‘the goal of true education’; ‘intelligence plus character’.
I believe that every student is different but special in their own way. Every student should be instilled with good values so that they can grow up to be good valuable men and women. They deserve to be educated in a positive environment where they feel safe, comfortable, motivated and engaged in their learning. As an educator, I will work hard to guide and help prepare life-long learners so that they can choose their future decisions wisely. I feel education is very important in every aspect and the focus should be on more than just the subjects being taught. I think teaching involves one to go above and beyond the basics. Since each student is unique, one may require more than the other so putting focus on the student’s needs are just as important. It is my belief that all students have the ability to learn with assistance. I am a true believer of open communication because students need to feel they can come and talk to their teacher whenever they need to.
The main purpose of education is to help students gain the knowledge and skills so that they will be able to function in society. Students need to be provided with the necessary skills so that they can learn to become productive citizens. There are many advantages that are associated with receiving an education. Students will be able to contribute to their community and help make it a better place to live. Education basically helps shape society because it helps students learn to become more sociable and helps them develop relationships with their peers. Students will be more qualified for different job positions if they have a good solid education. Education is vital to each student’s life, therefore, by working hard to provide the best instruction possible will help train students to become future leaders and will lead to a better life.
Worldview and Philosophy of Life
I think each of us perceive the world differently because we all are different and experience different things in life. Life is basically what you make of it and you’re in control of your own actions. I think if you always view the world as being negative then you will not be happy in life. We all know there are good and bad things happening all over the world so I think it is important for us to work together to try and make the world a better place. We learn from our surroundings and life requires every person to make choices and consequences follow those choices. This is why it is so important for each person to choose their decisions wisely and do what is right. The actions a person displays help others determine what type of person they are so we should always display good attitudes and behavior. The world is full of challenges but if you work hard you can overcome them. Sometimes I feel when we go through certain things we are being tested. No matter what I am going through or how bad the situation seems I know that God is in control and he will handle it because my faith lies in him. Truly believing in this is what helps me get through life on a daily basis.
Having a loving, supportive family and living a happy life is something that is necessary for me and I am very appreciative of it. Showing others you care for them and that your there for them is what makes life worth living. Striving to pursue your goals and dreams is something else that makes a huge difference in a person’s life. It gives people a reason to strive harder and when that dream or goal is achieved it’s the best feeling ever. I want to succeed in life so failure is not an option. I have to keep striving to make my dreams come true because I am responsible for making that happen. In regards to me, life is about being happy, loving God, people, and helping to make a difference in the lives of others.
Philosophy of Schools & Learning
Education is essential to every student’s life as well as their future. Students can have a prosperous life by receiving a good quality education. My thoughts are that students need to learn from the books along with other various materials just as I did while growing up. The classroom curriculum should be decided by their teacher and the teacher should set clear goals as to what is expected from the students. Students should work hard to achieve their goals because it will certainly be worth it in the end. According to essentialism, ‘Schools should not radically try to reshape society but schools should transmit traditional moral values and intellectual knowledge that students need to become model citizens’ (knight, 2006). The school should stress the importance of values because some children are not taught these at home. Teaching children good values helps build their character and helps them become respectable people. In regards to education, I think society is important because this is a place where we all live so we should work to make it a better place.
Classroom management is something else that helps the classroom run smoothly. Students need to be taught discipline and respect because it is important for them to respect themselves so they can learn to respect others. The teacher needs to be firm and enforce the rules to all the students because displaying immoral behavior disrupts learning for everyone. According to B.F. Skinner, ‘rewards motivate students to learn material even if they do not fully understand why it will have value in their futures’ (Sadker, 2005). Students do deserve some type of recognition and praise when they have acted and done what they were supposed to. Furthermore, even though curriculum is a major part of the learning process, educating students goes beyond subject matter because sometimes students have issues that interfere with their learning. This is why the teacher has to find out what the student is lacking and try to help the student successfully achieve what they need to learn.
Learning involves a person acquiring the knowledge or skills that is being taught to them. This can occur through methods such as observation, listening or through hands on learning. Some things that cause students to learn is staying focused because it helps them to understand and learn the content being introduced to them. Experiencing or going through certain things can also lead to learning. When student’s minds are stimulated this causes them to think critically and leads to learning whatever their teacher may be teaching. As a teacher I will encourage participation because this is another way for students to learn. One of the most important things I think a teacher should do is build rapport with their students because this will help them learn what qualities their student’s possess.
As far as the classroom, I will do my best to make sure it is organized so that everything flows smoothly. Some strategies that I will implement in my class is the use of visuals and many other hands on activities. Since students learn differently they need to be provided with a variety of ways to learn. I will do my best to make my lessons interesting because this helps motivate students and engage them more in the learning process. Different types of technology will be used to help aid in the learning process. ‘Research literature throughout the past decade has shown that technology can enhance literacy development, impact language acquisition, provide greater access to information, support learning, motivate students, and enhance their self-esteem’ (O’Hara & Pritchard, 2014). I will provide challenging assignments and will let my students work in groups so they can build social skills and also learn things from each other. Open discussions will be used because each student needs to feel comfortable sharing their ideas and among others in the class. In my class I will allow students to be involved in decision making regarding different assignments. I will use assessments to monitor my students learning and will provide prompt feedback on assignments. I will do this because I need to know if they are understanding and if not I can work on alternative ways to help them understand.
What I hope to accomplish by using these strategies is that each student will be able to successfully learn to the best of their ability. It is my hope that all of their basic subject skills improve and they can leave the class with more knowledge than they came in with. I want my students to grow into the habit of loving to read along with learning. I want them to build critical thinking skills and encourage them that they can do anything if they believe, strive hard enough and put their minds to it. I want them to think of me as a positive role model and someone who they can always come talk to. My goal is to help guide them down the right path so that they can grow up and be responsible individuals and life long learners.
Students have many responsibilities inside and outside of school. The most important role is for them to come to class ready to learn. They need to attend class daily because they will get behind and it is hard to catch up if they are constantly absent. Arriving on time is important because missing parts of the instruction can lead to not understanding the assignments. Students need to stay focused and on task so that test, classroom and homework assignments can be completed accurately and on time. Students need to come to class prepared and bring all the necessary supplies to class to do classroom assignments and projects. They are to participate in classroom discussions and activities.
Teachers have many different roles in the classroom they lead, train and guide students. They are responsible for supplying students with the necessary information to help them learn the subject matter. They prepare lesson plans that is used as a guide to teach the students. They assess the student’s weaknesses and their strengths along with preparing them for test. They job is to set clear goals and expectations for their students so that there will be no misunderstanding. One of their main task is to focus on how their student is achieving. Classroom management is the teacher’s responsibility because if the classroom is not managed learning is disrupted. They supervise students and enforce rules for the classroom to make sure the students behave and treat each other with respect. They grade papers and meet with parents for teacher conferences to provide progress on their children. They make sure the class is a safe, nurturing environment for the students to learn. I think teachers must be role models for their students to follow and show them how they should act so this will follow them throughout their life inside and outside of school. Teacher’s work does not stop when they leave school they still have things to do outside of the class that relates to them preparing activities and lessons for their students. Furthermore, they mentor and challenge students to become better learners and leaders for the future.
When you have diverse students in your class and there always will be, it is really just a way of thinking that all students are different but in their own way. This could be due to their abilities, race, culture, background, belief or just by their personal differences. ‘It should be clear, then, that ‘diversity’ indicates a wide range of backgrounds and experiences that contribute to our students’ uniqueness. ‘Diversity’ does not simply refer to race. Thus, it is accurate to assert that all classrooms are a combination of diverse learners. If every student is unique, then every classroom is diverse. The next step is to identify how to best help all students live up to their potential as unique individuals’ (Okun, 2012). Even though students are different, teachers still are responsible for developing ways to meet each of their needs. Differentiated instruction can be used for diverse learners. Their content needs to be delivered in various ways such as through lectures, handouts, hands on activities, or even videos. Teachers also have to use strategies to make sure the students understand what they’re working to teach them. Technology is also a good tool to use to help students learn. This enhances their learning because they can use it to build new skills and for practice. The important thing to remember is that they all learn differently because some are hands on learners while others may be auditory or visual. Teachers have to work hard to try and meet the needs of all their students. All students deserve the opportunity to learn and to be treated fairly no matter the differences. Teachers must have high expectations for all of their students and strive to help them reach their goals.
One advantage of being diverse is when students are in the same class with other students they can learn from each other’s differences. Some students can adjust to a different environment quickly but it may be hard for some others to. Teachers face many challenges when providing instruction in a diverse classroom. This is why it is important for the teacher to remember when planning activities for the students to consider all their differences such as their background or culture.
There are many school factors that affect the success of culturally diverse students ‘ the school’s atmosphere and overall attitudes toward diversity, involvement of the community, and culturally responsive curriculum, to name a few. Of all of these factors, the personal and academic relationships between teachers and their students may be the most influential. (Teacher Vision, 2015)
This is where the teacher comes in and provide the upmost support to try and cater to the needs of the students. In a diverse classroom it is not only the teacher that faces challenges but the students as well. This is why building that relationship and working together can help both the teacher and student which can lead to academic success.
Issues of Importance
Growing up I always knew I wanted to work to help children in some way but I was not sure where I would end up in the process. My hopes are much more than helping them learn to grow up and be successful students but I want to help make them better people. I am sure many people would say my field of choice which is Special Education would be most difficult but I say it takes patience, caring and loving what you do to help these students learn because they truly deserve it just like any other student. It is important to make students feel welcome and open to share ideas along with including them in all activities.
There are several things that I feel are important to my philosophy of education. Since the classroom is a place where students will be daily I think classroom management is imperative for learning to take place. When I was a student I know I wanted to be in a positive environment where I could concentrate to learn. Distractions causes issues for everyone and prevents learning from occurring. Curriculum is important because it is the core of learning and this must be delivered in an understanding manner because this is what helps the students learn. I certainly want to make sure my students are understanding what I am teaching so using the appropriate methods to check for understanding is necessary. If students do not understand then the teacher may need to find a better way to deliver the information. If something else is the reason then the teacher must work on finding a solution.
Parents play a huge part in their child’s education. The first place children start learning at is in the home. Parent’s jobs are to help encourage and support their child’s learning. Most of the time children look at their parents as role models so it is important for parents to stress the importance of education. Parents need to be involved in their child’s education and that means making sure homework is completed, reading with their child and just basically working with them at home to help with improvement. The teacher and parents need to work together so that they are both in agreeance on things and in making sure the child is doing what they are supposed to.
One issue that I think is critical in education is standardized testing. There are advantages and disadvantages of this type of testing but I think they should be eliminated because it causes too much stress on the students and the teachers. I know they want to make sure the students are learning and the teachers are doing their jobs but I think something else should be done. I really do not understand how students are able to concentrate when taking this test because I am sure there are some who are so worried about not passing it or being promoted to the next grade. For example, ‘Many students, particularly those experiencing reading and/or learning problems, have experienced frustration while taking standardized tests. Their subsequent academic performance is not necessarily representative of actual abilities’ (Rakes & McWilliams, 1978).
In regards to this type of testing, I just think another alternative should be sought and one that is less stressful for everyone. Maybe it would be a good idea for schools to use the benchmark assessments, classroom work and homework to check for student performance. This is just how I feel about the situation in regards to what I have saw my own children go through when it was time to take the end of year test. I think there are many more challenges that schools face, for instance some children get bullied while others maybe struggling with learning. As teachers we just have to work hard to see that these issues get resolved and work to help them reach their academic goals.
In conclusion, getting a good education is imperative in today’s society. I truly feel the main purpose of education is to help educate students so that they will be able to function in society. I think if you are a good effective teacher who cares about your students then everything else will fall into place such as them growing up and taking charge of their own life. Students are with each teacher for one year before moving to the next grade but that one year can lead to many accomplishments and memories that the student will carry on throughout their life. Students need a good education for various reasons and one being to obtain a good paying job. Getting educated can help prepare you for this job because you will definitely need to have good reading and math skills in which you learn in school. We also need it so we will be able to think critically to solve problems we may have throughout our lives. As mothers and teachers we should want our children to grow up to be good citizens and future leaders. Mothers and teachers have a big impact on a student’s education because both are responsible for helping the student academically achieve. When I think of life and education I think ‘the sky is the limit’ meaning if you believe, work hard and put your mind to it you can do and achieve anything.
Rake, T. A., & McWilliams, L., (1978). Bridging the gap: Two Alternatives to Standardized Testing. The English Journal, Vol. 67, No. 7 (Oct., 1978), pp. 46-50
Teacher Vision, (2015). Strategies for Teaching Culturally Diverse Students. Retrieved June 25, 2015 from https://www.teachervision.com/teaching-methods/resource/6039.html
Knight G. R., (2015). Philosophy & Education: An Introduction in Christian Perspective (4th Edition). Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Press.
Sadker, M. P., & Sadker, D., M. (2005). Teachers, Schools and Society.7th Edition, Retrieved June 26, 2015 from http://highered.mheducation.com/sites/0072877723/student_view0/chapter9/index.html
Okun, M., (2012). How Does Student Diversity Affect Teachers’ Priorities in Differentiating Instruction? International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Vol. 2 No. 12 Special Issue
O’Hara, S. & Pritchard, R., (2014). What is the Impact of Technology on Learning? Retrieved July 3, 2014 from http://www.education.com/reference/article/what-impact-technology-learning/