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This is closely associated with the subject matter being taught. It is my belief that many students are marginalized because teachers fail to make the effort not only to teach cultural content, but also to learn how to handle such content or to communicate in an intercultural way in class. Because part of my teaching philosophy is to honor each culture I encounter in my class, I will investigate ways to communicate effectively with them. Ladson-Billings (1995) emphasizes that classroom interaction should mimic students' cultural interactions in their homes and societies as closely as possible to help them internalize new material as effectively as possible. In my class, all students must, at all times, feel that they are free to be themselves.
Finally, a very important part of my teaching philosophy is to remain academically and socially active. This is vitally important to maintain an effective teaching paradigm, where my students can benefit from my knowledge on both the teaching process and my subject. A teacher must always remain a learner as well. This is the only way to remain active and effective in an educational environment that constantly changes is to constantly learn new information and techniques. This is much facilitated by the wide availability of the Internet and other forms of information.
In terms of being socially active, Fuller (2003) mentions that schools and policy makers are facing great challenges in terms of cultural pluralism. If schools are to become more integrated, it will be necessary to investigate ways and policies of making this more viable and effective. I will therefore use my scholarly investigations to help policymakers engage with society in such a way as to create greater and more effective integration in schools.
This will by no means be an easy or quick process, since social change never is. However, part of my philosophy as a teacher is to be as helpful as possible to make this process work. It is very important to provide all the help I can to help as many people from as many backgrounds as possible to gain a good education. Only by doing this can we as teachers create an America that is truly everybody's oyster of opportunity. By educating all children that cross my classroom threshold to the best of my ability, I believe I am contributing to the greatness of the country.
Fundamental to my philosophy is the fact that my work with students is a belief that my work is vital in terms of the improvement of society, life in general, and the workplace specifically. We must always move forward by improving ourselves and those around us. Teaching, for me, provides the perfect platform to do this.
I will improve myself by constantly searching for better ways to teach, communicate, and increase my knowledge on my subject. I will use this to help my students improve themselves, and also in an attempt to improve my community. I will make my research available by means of publication to help policymakers with the challenges the face in creating a good school environment for the many cultures we have in the country.
In conclusion, I feel called to teaching as a vocation rather than a job, because I feel I have something important to contribute to the lives of others and to the world in general. By engaging in conversation, learning, studying and interacting with different cultures in my classroom, I feel the profession can fulfill my need to be helpful to others and reward my efforts by seeing the success of those who enter my classroom. In short, my philosophy of teaching is that it is a vocation for those who feel the need to use their talents in the service of others and of improving themselves.
Fuller, B. (2003). Educational Policy Under Cultural Pluralism. Educational Researcher, Vol. 32, No. 9. Retrieved from: http://first5kids.com/files/Education%20Policy%20Under%20Cultural%20Pluralism.pdf
Hansen, D.T. (1994). Revitalizing the Idea of Vocation in Teaching. Philosophy of Education. Retrieved from: http://www.ed.uiuc.edu/eps/PES-Yearbook/94_docs/HANSEN.htm
Kozol, J. (2005, Sep. 1). Still Separate, Still Unequal: America's Educational Apartheid. Harper's Magazine. Vol. 311, No. 1864. Retrieved from: http://gayleturner.net/kozol.html
Ladson-Billings, G. (1995, Summer). But That's Just Good Teaching! The Case for Culturally Relevant Pedagogy. Theory into Practice, Vol. 34, No. 3. Retrieved from: http://edt2.educ.msu.edu/DWong/Te150S10/CourseReader/LadsonBillings-ButThatsJustGoodTeaching.pdf
Sleeter, C.E. (2004, Fall). Standardizing Imperialism. Rethinking Schools. Retrieved from: http://artofeducating.com/_library/misc/Sleeter%20-%20Standardizing%20Imperialism.pdf[continue]
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