As a central tenet of teaching and learning philosophy, my pedagogy should emerge from contextualization in the platforms of national, state, and local education realities. The methods I employ as an educator should act in direct response to the character of our education system today. If we are to co-exist in society as communicable people, and strive to create a democratic nation committed to social justice and equity, then we must be able to understand each other’s histories, socio-economic circumstances, and culturally unique identities. Such an education emboldens learners to consciously develop tolerance with other groups. Such an education implores civic participation with the goal of attaining and exemplifying traits and features of democratic citizenship.
I believe that the fruition of my aspirations to create a community of learners is wholly dependent on exhibiting a multicultural pedagogy where ideas of social division are abandoned in favor of ideas reflecting social empathy. This brand of education would spark a more fervent desire for volunteerism to flourish. The chief objective of American public schools should be to franchise student agency in the classroom and to provide ample opportunities for manifesting their new found rights and responsibilities. The classroom experience is of equally vital magnitude to the holistic quality of people as family members, citizens, colleagues, and friends as oxygen is integral to a functioning mind.
Fostering diversity is essential to the functioning of any 21st century classroom, be it a heterogeneous or homogeneous society. Diversity is present in the classroom just like a canvas with a collage of colors, like a bookshelf of multi-lingual novels, like a closet full of multi-generational clothing styles. The world is a community of our species, but within this community are neighborhoods of people connected by biology but separated by circumstance of individual origins. Of paramount importance with the process of adopting and developing learners engaged with diversity is initiating a friendly and open atmosphere, where each student feels free to question underlying premises of biased textbook’s archetypes, myths, and popular assumptions. Student choice, collaboration, and integrity of academic expression should be guarded as sacred, in order to achieve the right conditions where intellectual curiosity may thrive. Inviting children into a mindset and life of questioning, fruitful discourse, and worldly curiosity is the challenge all social studies educators are presented with.
My position is that intellectual nourishment and thoughtful consideration of student’s individual goals are crucial to combatting classroom settings based on classification and stratification, and a dumbing down of curriculum. Delving into a form of acquiring higher order literacy is what I want my classroom to be concentrated on. My personal experience with the kind of information coverage style, favored in the typical public school history class has been evidence of an misguided attachment to historical lives, decisions, and moments without probing alternative ideas and without exploring unpopular consequences of history. Teaching history strictly limited to the scope of factual memorization is myopic and bereft of any personal growth in the arena’s of functional intelligence, emotional faculties, and interpersonal skills. In the high school environment, it is essential to the developing mind, to advance literacy on the spectrum from elemental recall to scholarly synthesis.
Two major motives of mine as a future educator are to influence my students to explore all of their learning endeavors with meaningful engagement and a sense of personal investment with the consequences of their education. I intend to equip my students with the tools required to navigate their lives through modernity, and in a sense, to continue their education outside of the boundaries of the classroom. Analyzing history critically aides students with bridging their classroom experience to a keen and acute awareness of their politic interests. This personal growth can translate into a lifelong reliance on reason and judgment, which are most healthy attribute in all learning scenarios.
I believe that my teaching and learning philosophy is achieved by first researching the universe of methodologies, strategies, and techniques, then testing out each plan which matches up with your specific pedagogy, classroom apparatus, and school vision, until you reach the route and style of teaching which places your students in the best possible position to excel in the 21st century world. Striving for best practice is part and parcel of being an agent of change. Change is a natural, healthy, and necessary response to a fluctuating world, whether we speak of the environment, the individual mind, or teaching. Technological change, social change, and cultural change are irrepressible and inexorable, and educators must direct their efforts to forever keep up with advancements, mutations, and new waves wherever they arise. This should be the mission of all those heart swollen, idealists who dare to call themselves “teacher”.