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:
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.
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.