Mi filosofia de ensenanza

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My philosophy on teaching

Dulce A. Lopez

Prof. Greta Reno

Fall 2010


Thursdays 6pm-8.40pm

My philosophy on teaching

The problem of teaching begins with its purpose: why do we want kids to learn? So that they can pass a test, get a diploma, get a job? These ambitions are too indifferent to the heart of the matter, the heart of the students and those of theteachers. My view on teaching is centered on student learning; a kind of learning that is not only memorization but an organism of understanding, experiencing, and internalizing. Learning as the whole unending experience of human life; the one single string of possibility connecting one day to the next, one year to the following one. I see good learning as the foundation of a life of joy and peace. Ifyou know how to learn and learn everything you can, you can learn your way through anything, even all the way through to the life you want to have. I believe the way this happens for people is through good teachers – inside a classroom or out, certified or not. I see teaching as the full-circle, dynamic student-centered process of providing tools and developing skills in the young and old, withpurposes larger than a test, classroom or diploma.

What is student-centered teaching? I understand it as teaching that adapts to the student’s needs, understanding, learning styles, skills, interests, character and creativity. I do not believe education is about the instructor or the content. In the student-content-instructor relationship, the instructor is only an aid and the content onlypart of the means – but it is the student, his future, his character, his heart and mind which are truly central to the relationship and to the task of teaching. Thus it is the student’s needs and inclinations which should define the type and direction of instruction, and the hierarchy of content. A student’s questions should lead teachers down the road which that particular heart and mind wants tohead, encouraged towards curiosity and exploration. A student’s natural talents and skills should be to teachers like glimpses of a future ripe fruit on a tree that is yet to reach fruit-bearing stature, a tree that needs tendering and nourishment to fully and healthily develop into that stature. Instead of subtly trampling over a student’s inclinations by expecting him or her to adapt to a setof teaching styles and a fixed schedule of content and make the best of it, a teacher’s role should be to identify and amplify the students’ inclinations so that they might develop into what they most want, and are able, to become. Learning would then become the natural process of students pursuing what they love, and loving to learn about it.

Another role of teachers should be that ofproviding tools. Both inside and outside the classroom, education is the basis for life. In many different ways, what we learn as children defines who we become as adults, and it is the teachers’ job to empower students with the necessary tools and skills. If we are taught information, we must also be taught how to apply it, otherwise the knowledge is useless. Thus, applying knowledge is necessary,but it will get us nowhere if we cannot solve problems we come across. We might be able to solve problems, but it will not do us much good if we never learnt to work alongside others with kindness and humility. All of this is good, but incomplete if we are not resourceful once we reached the end of what we know and what we can do. And we are still short on skills if we never learnt wisedecision-making. These are essential, interconnected skills for life, work, relationships, and personal growth, and skills that I believe should be an important part of teaching. I believe we often fall short on this integrated nature of teaching, focusing too much on technicalities, and missing the real teaching, the real power there is to affect an individual’s whole life, present and future. I believe...
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