Today I set out to write my educational philosophy. I thought that I would be able to think about all I have learned this past year and write this wonderful philosophy down on paper. Well let me tell you I feel more lost than before I started. Since I am a person that is laid back and does not really have one personal view, I have found this a difficult task to undertake.
I started with looking up some great educational philosophers such as John Dewey and Nel Nodding. I think they both hit the nail on the head when it comes to education. The child has to have a holistic learning experience, while they are feeling cared for and empowered. That is great, so empowering I should write on this. How as a teacher I need to teach my students holistically in a caring classroom. I felt great… good starting point but than I realize I have to include my views of assessment.
Well isn’t that a pickle, assessment every teachers nightmare. As being a student for a very, very long time when I think of assessment I think of writing tests for teachers so they can compare me to the rest of the class, the school division, the province and the country. Ya no thank you, I do not want to be that teacher. So what type of teacher should I be than. I want to be the teacher that the students do not necessarily remember the lesson from tuesday but they remember that we went outside and caught bugs then counted, classified and pinned the bugs in our classroom. But were in there do you assess.
Ok so I know that I have to assess as a teacher, it is part of the business. I feel that I have to use different forms of assessment to make sure my students are learning and growing. Through anecdotal observations, presentations, group work, individual work and storytelling my students should be able to show me that they are hitting the curriculum that I have to teach.
So awesome I have figured out my philosophy of formative assessment but what about summative assessment. See I feel that summative assessment is hard, it does not really allow for feedback to the student because it comes at the end of the unit. Summative assessment is then used for the means of the teacher to prove to the parents that hey your child has learned something in the last six weeks. I know that it is more complicated then that but really isn’t this what it comes down to. Do not get me started on the standards tests and the high stake testing. I just have to say thank goodness I’m a teacher in Canada and not the United States.
But even though I am a teacher in Canada, we do still have to give out some standardized tests such as the PCAP, but at least that is not high staked here in Canada. That just allows parents and school divisions to see where the students stands compared to the rest of the students in Canada. I guess as a teacher it is what you do with the information of standardized tests that is meaningful, not what the student scored. As teachers we have to take what we have learned about our students and apply it to help the student overcome their weakness. For instance lets say Jenny scored low in reading comprehension, as a teacher I need to talk to Jenny and to Jenny’s parents to come up with a plan to help Jenny do better next time. That takes time! and I am will to use that time for my students.
So as you can see the process of coming up with an educational philosophy is daunting but writing down my beliefs here made it easier for me to think.. So I thank you. And I leave you with this question: what is your educational philosophy? and your views on assessment?