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Running Head: TEACHING PHILOSOPHY 1

Teaching Philosophy

SPED 775: Practicum with Exceptional Children & Youth

University of Kansas

Dr. Cynthia Mruczek

Brent Seager

April 28, 2017


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Teaching Philosophy

Upon completing my history teaching degree, I decided that I wanted to become a special

education teacher, as I saw many special education students and the challenges that they faced in

the general education classroom. While I still enjoy learning and teaching history, I have also

found that working with special education students to be rewarding, as I am able to teach them

the necessary skills to be successful in the general education classroom. I also enjoy

collaborating with other general education and special education teachers, as this helps to

improve communication and the education environment. I believe that with my knowledge,

dedication, and commitment to continuing my education, I will be successful in teaching my

students the necessary skills to be successful in all school environments and prepare them for life

after high school.

Learning

My concept of learning is to develop lesson plans and activities which will help educate

students and give them the necessary skills and knowledge they will be able to use throughout

their school careers and in their daily lives. I will also use differentiated instruction, as I believe

that all learning styles should be included in the classroom, as this encourages student motivation

and engagement in the classroom. There are many different educational theories and approaches

that I plan on incorporating into my classroom and lesson plans for my students. The first theory

that describes my personal view would be the perennialism. I will use the theory of perennialism

in lessons and activities which will allow the students to develop critical thinking and evaluation

skills, as these higher ordered thinking skills are essential for each student. Using these skills

will become useful as the students progress through high school and into their post-secondary

careers. The next theory that best describes another approach that I will use is essentialism. I

will use essentialism theory to teach my students crucial skills about finance, career searching,
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earning their driving license, and other important daily living skills; as the students will develop

the necessary skills to become productive members of society. The use of perennialism and

essentialism theories in the learning process is closely aligned with the Universal Design for

Learning Principle (UDL) of providing multiple means of engagement through optimizing

relevance, authenticity, and value (National Center on Universal Design for Learning, 2017).

Teaching

I am determined and dedicated to develop lesson plans and activities which will

encourage my students to achieve their fullest potential. I will also encourage students who are

having difficulties in the classroom to stop in before and after school for additional instruction

and support. I believe that giving struggling students extra guidance and support will allow them

to be more successful in the classroom. One of my biggest philosophies is that every student has

the potential, and it is my goal to provide them with the necessary supports to see and reach that

potential. There are many different educational theories which I can use to help educate my

students. The first theory I will be using is the essentialism theory. By using this theory in my

classes, my students will be involved in lectures, discussions, researching, essay writing, and

other activities that will be essential in them developing the necessary skill sets to achieve

success in general and special education classrooms. The next theory that I will be using to help

educate my students is the perennialism theory. My students will be involved in critical thinking

exercises, exercises in developing their questioning abilities, and many other activities which

will allow them to develop and practice missing social, organizational, behavioral, and many

other skill sets. The use of perennialsim and essentialism theories in my teaching practices is

closely aligned with and supported by UDL Principle of providing multiple means of action and

expression through the usage of supporting strategy and planning development (National Center

on Universal Design for Learning, 2017).


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Goals for Students

As a teacher, I believe that it is very important to set goals for every student, as well as

give the students the necessary instruction and materials to help them obtain their goals. The

first goal I would set for my students would be to identify how historic events and figures have

helped to shape life the way they know it today. This allows students to see first-hand how

historical figures and events have played some type of role in their lives. Another one of my

goals for the students is for them to relate past historical events to present and possible future

events. Using these connections and ideas will give the students the necessary skills to evaluate

and make sound decisions throughout the course of their lives. The use of relating past events to

current events closely aligns with UDL Principle of providing multiple means of representation

thorough the use of highlight patterns, relationships, big ideas, and connections (National Center

on Universal Design for Learning, 2017).

Methods of Instruction

There are many methods I will be using to educate my students. Some of these methods

include: lectures, discussions, group activities, research projects, and field trips. The lecture will

give the students the information on a topic or idea. This will be used in conjunction with

classroom discussions and guided questioning as well. These methods will be excellent

resources for students to gain knowledge and relevance for the topic being lectured and

discussed. Group activities will demonstrate to the students the value and appreciation for

working with one another to complete a task. This skill will be invaluable as they progress

through school and into their lives. Field trips will be a good motivator for all of the students.

Many students will be looking forward to the opportunity to take a break from the classroom,

and venture to a museum or other historical sites. Field trips are just one of the many methods

which I will employ to keep students motivated in my class. I will also develop interactive
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games and quizzes which encourage the participation of all students. These games and quizzes

will help students to see that learning about historic events and people can be a fun and

educational experience at the same time. The use of interactive games, field trips, and other

motivating activities that I will use in the classroom closely align with and are supported by UDL

Principle of providing multiple means of engagement by promoting expectations and beliefs that

utilize engagement in the classroom (National Center on Universal Design for Learning, 2017).

Interaction with Students

As an aspiring teacher, I look forward to interacting with my students. This includes

advising, mentoring, and encouraging my students to strive for and achieve their greatest

potential. To be successful in interacting with my students, I must earn their respect, show them

that I care about them as individuals, and I am there to help them succeed. Many students lack

basic social skills and organizational strategies to be successful in the classroom, which I will

begin working on as soon as I enter the classroom. Learning about social skills and

organizational strategies will help to alleviate stress and anxiety, which will allow more students

to focus in special education and general education classrooms. I will also encourage my

students to ask questions during the lessons when they are having difficulty understanding

materials being discussed. I will encourage them to seek additional help before or after school as

needed. Also, I plan to setup an environment in the classroom build on mutual trust and respect

for all students and staff members. This will show my students the importance of earning and

giving respect. My philosophy on interactions with students is closely aligned with the UDL

Principle of providing multiple means of action and expression by providing fluencies with

graduated levels of support for practice and performance (National Center on Universal Design

for Learning, 2017).

Assessment
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Assessing the achievements and accomplishments of each student is the only way to

determine which areas they have improved upon, and the areas that still need improvement.

Using formative assessment in my classroom, I will be able to identify the students who are

having difficulty with lessons and assignments. I will be able to make the necessary adjustments

that will ensure all students are acquiring the necessary information, skills, and strategies. The

summative assessment will be used at the end of each unit, and will involve some type of test or

quiz that will measure the effectiveness of my teaching practices, and will also be used to

determine if re-teaching will be necessary. The assessment aspect is one of the most important

areas, as it can be used to redirect a class to obtain the desired results. Grades are very

important, because they are a reflection of the achievements in the courses that a student is

enrolled in. I also value the opportunity to adjust a lesson plan or unit so that all students will

have the same chance to succeed. My philosophy in assessing the students and how I use the

assessment information closely resembles UDL Principle of providing multiple means of

representation by offering ways of customizing the delivery and assessment of information

(National Center on Universal Design for Learning, 2017).

Personal Growth

Teaching can be better described as a lifestyle choice instead of a career or profession.

Much time and dedication is needed to ensure that lesson plans and activities are planned to

ensure that my students receive the highest quality of education. As time goes on, technology

and teaching techniques become more advanced. School districts across the country offer a

variety of workshops and professional development programs to help their teachers keep up with

the new technology trends and teaching techniques. I will continue to sign up for the workshops

and professional development programs to ensure that I am up to date with the most current

technologies, teaching practices, and techniques. This will allow me to become a better teacher
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for my students. I also plan on attending graduate school to obtain another masters degree in

history after completing my masters degree in special education adaptive/high incidence.

Eventually, I would like to earn a PhD in history and special education to become a college

teacher and continue my journey in education and teaching future generations of history and

special education teachers.

Conclusion

After seeing many people in the younger generations undervalue and underestimate the

significance of learning about historical figures and events, I have decided to become a history

teacher. I wanted to teach the future generations about the importance of history and how it

relates to their everyday lives. However, on my journey to my goal of becoming a history

teacher, I found that teaching special education was even more rewarding. Currently, I am

wrapping up my first year teaching, and as a new teacher, it was important to me to develop my

curriculum using my teaching philosophies of perennialism and essentialism. The use of my

teaching philosophies to ensure that I am developing lesson plans and activities for my students

to learn the necessary skills that will help them make sound decisions in their lives and in their

educations. It is imperative that I continue to promote and maintain a good working relationship

with my students and their parents; this will help to create an environment that is more conducive

to the learning process. During my first year of teaching, I have taken the time to ensure that I

attend workshops and professional development classes, to ensure that I am current with new

technologies, strategies, and methods. As a teacher, it is my goal to educate my students about

the significance of skill development, and how these skills can help them make decisions

throughout their lives. It is my mission to provide my students with the highest level of

knowledge, and create an environment which promotes growth and success.


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Reference

National Center on Universal Design for Learning. (2017). Retrieved from:

http://www.udlcenter.org/aboutudl/udlguidelines_theorypractice