My Educational Teaching Philosophy
Based on the Reggio Emilia approach, it is assumed that all children are capable competent and curious leaders who come into educational settings with varied skills and knowledge levels. Instructors should assume roles as facilitators of the education of each individuals child such through direction, encouragement and guidance, a child is able to extend individual knowledge and skills thorough hands-on active exploration, manipulation and involvement within their respective environments. In addition, this approach is highly effective given that the environment of instruction is considered as “the third teacher”.
Individually, I believe that instruction of children between the ages of 6 weeks to 6 years should assume a positive and compassionate approach towards ensuring the development of caring relationships for positive life outcomes. This approach is critical towards ensuring differentiated and individualized instruction of young children who are a sensitive developmental stage. The Reggio Emilio approach is based on several primary factors namely the image of a child; expression of artistic capabilities; community and parent-school interactions; environment; planning of education (progettazione) and the role of teachers as learners.
The image of a child can longer be considered as egocentric and isolated rather should be on individual capabilities, competence and able towards development of healthy interactions with other children and the environment. The professional development of the instructor, development, and sustenance of relationships, learning, and instruction of the children is centered on their image. In essence, children have a basic right towards receiving education that is able to transform and actualize their respective capabilities and potential. Additionally, young children between the identified ages of 6weeks and 6 years have high levels of imagination and curiosity. They are capable children woe delight in becoming responsible for learning new skills and knowledge. In addition, child at this age demands compassion and empathy towards expression of emotions in their respective environments and social interactions with peers and teachers.
Conversations of children and their wording usually demonstrate capacities for development of hypotheses on abstract and complex ideas and thoughts if they are provided with opportunities and emotional avenues for expression (Fu, Stremmel, and Hill 29). This underpins the importance of listening by the instructors towards delivering individualized instruction to the children with diverse needs and capabilities. The Reggio Emilio approach has been termed as pedagogy of listening as it focuses on the educators attempt towards understanding the learning processes of the children through their expressions both emotional and oral. The daily conversations and interactions between a child and the educator provide in-depth understanding as to the emotional, knowledge and skill needs of a student.
The expressive arts are considered as critical towards the learning and instruction of children at this delicate developmental stage. Expressive activities such as construction, dramatic play, sculpture, dancing, shadow play, painting, puppetry, ceramics, music, and writing. Based on Howard Gardner’s understanding of “multiple intelligences”, educators should be aware of the critical nature of ensuring development of all learning areas and understanding that extend beyond the linguistic and logical (Fu, Stremmel, and Hill 17). In essence, literacy and numeracy activities have a critical place in daily activities within preschool settings, which is similar to the importance of expressive arts for children at the young developmental ages. The Reggio Emilio approach takes into consideration the overly expressive nature of children between the ages of 6weeks and 6years, which is expressed through their significant capacity for sharing emotions and feelings. In addition, imagination at this developmental stage plays a critical role in the child’s search for understanding, knowledge, and skills.
This instruction approach emphasis on the overriding importance inherent in the learning processes as opposed to instruction outcomes. The involvement of the children in expressive arts provides them with a means of revisiting subjects and issues that they deem as interesting with a high level of frequency. This is important towards the development of higher levels of understanding and gaining diverse perspectives of various issues. Other theories of interest include Jean Piaget constructivist approach and B.F. Skinner’s behavioral theory in understanding the development of children. These theoretical models are critical towards understanding the developmental processes and stages of children between the ages of 6weeks and 6 years.
B.F. Skinner’s behavioral theory provides that children usually respond towards a system of punishment and rewards in relation to their conduct or behavior (Todd, and Morris 22). B.F. Skinner’s behavioral theory provides that operant conditioning and operant behavior are determined by the reward or punishment system. Behavior is usually influenced by consequences, with the theory of operant conditioning, noting the processes does not demand repetitive efforts, rather it needs immediate reactions towards preexisting and familiar stimuli. Children similar to the experiments used in Skinner’s experiments utilize avoidance and escape learning.
Children exhibit behaviors, which are controlled through conditioning. A reward system or punishment for positive or negative behavior influences their decisions towards repeating such behavior. Emotions associated with conditioning of behavior influence repetitive actions for either positive or negative acts. This is illustrative of the importance of establishment of a rigid reward and punishment system that ensures reinforcement of positive behavior amongst the children.
In Jean Piaget theory of cognitive child development, he notes that children think in contrastingly different manners than adults. This is because children are born with the presence of an inherent mental structure, which is genetically acquired and evolved with respect to the environment. This is where all the subsequent knowledge and learning processes are based. The theory provides that development is a critical for children, which takes place in distinct stages that are evidently different in terms of quality as opposed to the number and complexity levels of behaviors acquired by a child. This infers that the thinking and development processes as they respond to learning and knowledge is because of the evolution of the stages of development marked by different stages.
Piaget’s Cognitive Theory is made up of three basic elements namely schemas, adaptation processes, and stages of development. The schemas are made up of behaviors acquired to respond to various situations, which are expressed through behaviors. In addition, children have lower innate schemas, which adapt to respond to various situations as children undergo different stages of development. Intellectual development of children takes place through a process defined as adaptation, which includes assimilation, accommodation, and equilibration. They gain assimilation when introduced to new objects and environments, followed by accommodation of the new environment and phenomena and subsequent acceptance of the information within their young schemas. Equilibration is critical as it drives the learning process of the children given that it is devoid of frustration towards accommodation of new information or environments during the learning processes. Assimilation, accommodation, and equilibration of new information are constant processes for young children as they undergo learning of new skills and information in both classroom and other societal settings such as homes.
Educators play the role of facilitators in enabling the children to understand new skills and information in relation to their social interactions and learning activities in classroom settings. Piaget infers that learning processes amongst children takes place through discovery learning whereby they focus on active expression and exploration of new information and skills. This is similar o the approach developed by Reggio Emilio whereby expressive arts provide children with a avenues for learning logical, oral, numerical and cognitive skills through social interactions with their peers and instructors within their respective educational and social settings.
Based on Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, an instructor should not assume that only measurable elements are valuable towards the instruction process (Furth, and Wachs 41). The focus on biological maturation is critical towards ensuring balanced and effective development amongst children especially those in lower developmental stages. Readiness towards development is critical in terms of assimilation, accommodation, and equilibration of new information and skills gained from learning processes. Children should be taught relevant skills and information that is relative in respect to their stages of cognitive development to ensure affective adaptation to new skills and information. Furthermore, ensuring active interactions through participation between an instructor and the student is critical towards effective accommodation, assimilation, and equilibration of new skills and information imparted by the educator. This affirms the need for personalized and differentiated instruction to cater for the diverse needs of students. In addition, such personalized instruction should also focus on ensuring that it is limited to a specific stage of development of a child to ensure optimal cognitive development.
In relation to Skinner’s behavior theory, a child’s behavior can be modified through shifting consequences for specific behavior (Catania, Harnad, and Skinner 27). The Antecedent, Behaviour, Consequence behavioral Model outlines the events, subsequent behavior and positive or negative results as a means of developing diverse outcomes during the instruction processes of children. Instructors should focus on activities or events that are likely to induce positive behavior and followed by positive outcomes through a reward system established by the educator. On the other hand, negative behavior exhibited by students or children within the classroom settings should be disaffirmed through the development of an effective punishment systems.
In essence, children usually learn behavior from their environment such as peers, parents, and event their instructors. Educators assume the role as facilitators of positive or negative behavior amongst children through the establishment of appropriate measures of deterring or affirming and abetting positive behavior and attitudes within the classroom settings. In addition, the utilization of such systems is critical towards enabling positive behavior amongst students by ensuring a differentiated and personalized approach towards instruction of students in respect to their diverse needs and capabilities. Furthermore, enabling young students to focus on expressive activities that enable them to undertake activities that they enjoy is critical towards affirming their overall capabilities, skills, and knowledge capacities. Moreover, the combination of theories of cognitive development, behavioral theories, and instruction approaches towards individualized and expressive learning would be critical towards enabling positive behavior and reinforcement of capabilities and intellectual abilities amongst students.
Catania, A C, Stevan R. Harnad, and B F. Skinner. The Selection of Behavior: The Operant Behaviorism of B.f. Skinner : Comments and Consequences. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988. Print.
Furth, Hans G, and Harry Wachs. Thinking Goes to School: Piaget’s Theory in Practice. New York: Oxford University Press, 1974. Print.
Fu, Victoria R, Andrew J. Stremmel, and Lynn T. Hill. Teaching and Learning: Collaborative Exploration of the Reggio Emilia Approach. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Merrill, 2002. Print.
Kamii, Constance, and Georgia DeClark. Young Children Reinvent Arithmetic: Implications of Piaget’s Theory. New York: Teachers College Press, 1985. Print.
Todd, James T, and Edward K. Morris. Modern Perspectives on B.f. Skinner and Contemporary Behaviorism. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 1995. Print.
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