Mr. Mulroney’s Inspiration

It is common for teachers like myself to have an “Educational Guru,” or someone that inspired them to pursue a career in teaching. My Guru was a Preschool Teacher at Manor Church Preschool named Ellen Goins. Ellen, or Miss Ellen as her students know her, is a close family friend of mine.

When I was a senior in high school I chose to do an internship for my second semester. I searched and searched for internships that were in law firms, as I wanted to go to the University of Pittsburgh and obtain a law degree. I found not one. I was over at Miss Ellen’s house complaining about the ordeal of finding an internship when she offered to let me intern for her. I had never worked with children before so I was unsure of what to expect, ultimately  I decided in favor of being her intern.

My job at Manor Church Preschool was simple, I cut out crafts, read books to students, assisted students when necessary, and aided in behavior management. I was a jack of all trades and I LOVED it! The best part of my senior year was not prom, homecoming, or graduation. It was interning for Miss Ellen.

My senior year ended and I had already accepted admission to the University of Pittsburgh as a dual History and Political Science major with a pre-law focus. In my year there I kept thinking back to Miss Ellen’s classroom wondering if I could be a teacher instead of a lawyer (I was not a big fan of spending 7 straight years in school). After a phone call with my parents, I transferred to Millersville University of Pennsylvania where I am currently majoring in Early Childhood Education.

Just like Miss Ellen’s classroom, my future classroom will be a safe space for open communication, will be open to change, and filled with beneficial uses of technology. I plan to use student-centered teaching to help my students learn to their highest capabilities. Student centered teaching involves putting students’ needs first. As a teacher I will encourage multiple perspectives, situate learning in real life activities, and let my students create their own plan for learning.

Understanding my own philosophy for pedagogy, I embarked on a mission to discover an educational philosopher that was most like me. In my research I discovered that my philosophy of pedagogy resembles that of a constructivist. The educational philosopher I chose is Jean Piaget, often referred to as the father of constructivism. Constructivist teachers recognize that their students bring prior knowledge with them into the classroom. Their goal is to use that prior knowledge/expertise to further their students’ learning. This most reflects my beliefs about learning.

To learn more about Constructivism and Jean Piaget refer below:

Constructivist Learning Theory | Exploratorium

The Museum and the Needs of People CECA (International Committee of Museum Educators) Conference Jerusalem Israel, 15-22 October 1991 Prof. George E. Hein Lesley College. Massachusetts USA Introduction The latest catchword in educational circles is “constructivism, ” applied both to learning theory and to epistemology—both to how people learn, and to the nature of knowledge.

Learning Theory – Constructivist Approach

Constructivist Approach Constructivism is an epistemology, or a theory, used to explain how people know what they know. The basic idea is that problem solving is at the heart of learning, thinking, and development. As people solve problems and discover the consequences of their actions-through reflecting on past and immediate experiences-they construct their own understanding.

Materials for Teachers

Anti-Bias Curriculum

Over the summer, I was a part of a team tasked with writing an Anti-Bias curriculum from scratch for the Lancaster YWCA’s childcare program. We were given a month and access to Teaching Tolerance’s standards to complete it. We finished with little time to spare and we could not be happier with the result. Check it out and maybe use a lesson or two!

Anti-Bias Curriculum YWCA

  • Mr. Mulroney

Teaching Tolerance Standards:


Ms. Morris`s Inspiration

Every educator has an educational guru that slips into their mind. An educational guru is someone every teacher looks up to and aspires to be. Ever since coming to Millersville and creating lesson plans and projects, I always thought about how my past teachers would set up their lessons to be creative and fun. I have a few teachers that come to mind when thinking about my educational guru`s, but my first grade teacher is the one who tops them all.

During my senior year in high school, I was lucky enough to observe and assist in my first grade teachers classroom. When I first stepped into her classroom again, I realized nothing has changed, which is a good thing. My first grade teacher has always been very energetic, fun, caring, and her classroom always felt like ‘home.’ Her energy never dropped when she was with her students, she always had a big smile on her face and was very loud. The energy she gave off reflected off her students, which made them very energetic and excited to learn as well. Her lessons consisted of teaching for a little bit, playing a collaborative review game, then teaching again, and creating some sort of art to check for overall understanding. It was important for her students to pay attention during class instruction to understand the games and the activity at the end.

 She was also very caring, she showed that she cared about every single one of her students by taking the time to get to know them and their interests. She also got to know each student’s families, to know more about them personally. She gave morning hugs and high fives, sat down one-on-one with a student if they were not understanding content, and she spoke with a soft tone in her voice when disciplining students inappropriate behavior, instead of yelling. 

Lastly, her room felt like ‘home.’ She rarely turned on the bright classroom lights, and she had natural lighting and her own lights in the classroom. There was flexible seating, which included comfy couches, bean bags, and the big bouncy balls. Her room felt like a safe place where students can learn and be themselves, which is definitely how I plan to model my own classroom one day. I plan to get to know each and every one of my students to create an open and safe classroom community.

Now that I understand my own pedagogy for education, it was time to research which educational philosopher matched with my thinking. The philosopher I chose is Lev Vygotsky. Vygotsky introduced the ‘sociocultural learning theory’, which is based on the idea that a learner`s environment plays an important role in their learning development. Children learn from social interaction with others, like peers and family members to acquire more information of how the world works. Children learn best from observing and watching others, which is why I plan to have an open and safe classroom community where students are not afraid to collaborate and share ideas with each other. 

Vygotsky also believed in the zone of proximal development, which is the difference between what a child can do without help and what they can do with guidance. I like the idea of ZPD because it would allow me, a future educator, to identify what a student is capable of doing by themselves and what I can provide more instruction on. Scaffolding is another topic Vygotsky has covered, which is where the teacher provides guidance for students until they can master the content themselves. I plan to be supportive and open with my students, so they will not be afraid to come to me with questions or ideas they may have.

For more information about Vygotsky`s ‘Socialcutlural Learning Theory’ refer below:

6 Education Theorists All Teachers Should Know Infographic – e-Learning Infographics

The 6 Education Theorists All Teachers Should Know present 6 people that did some of the major research in education. Lev Vygotsky How do you decide the level at which to instruct your students? Vygotsky says to determine their Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD).