First, I believe education needs to be holistic, inclusive, diverse, and will continue throughout one’s lifetime. Next, all children can and do learn when presented with a nurturing environment that is safe and able to meet their needs academically, socially, and emotionally. Finally, students need to develop a growth mindset where they set goals, reflect, and actively participate in their education.
Teaching Perspectives Inventory
Nurturing was highlighted as the primary indicator after taking the Teacher Perspectives Inventory (TPI) (Pratt et al., 2000). I see a strong correlation between the values in the nurturing category and my teaching philosophy. For example, in my classroom, I encourage mistakes as I want to change their thinking from being fixed to a growth mindset, where mistakes are necessary to help us learn and grow. Next, I believe in differentiating materials, processes, and scaffolding learning to meet student abilities, as they are all individuals. Finally, I regularly set realistic, individualized goals with my students to ensure they are part of their learning process. This practice helps to establish a mutual, transparent relationship rooted in trust and support for both the teacher and the student (Pratt, D. et al., 2002).
Theory of Teaching – Bates
The theory of teaching that stands out to me is constructivist. My teaching philosophy resonates with the following ideas from Bates:
- “Each individual is unique,” thus constructing their own body of knowledge (p 54).
- “Reality is always tentative and dynamic,” so we need to prepare students to be successful in a future that does not exist (p 54).
- Learning is a “Complex and multifaceted” process that can grow out of “personal reflection” (p 54).
The impact this theory has had on my approach to teaching is significant. For example, I set my room up in groups for easy and regular discussion opportunities. I employ a journaling technique where students regularly ask questions and reflect on their learning. I have students set individual goals that match their learning goals, which I guide them through by creating individualized plans. However, I also hold myself personally to this theory as I continue to learn and grow in my practice, evolving with the ever-changing world.
Content Knowledge – Shulman
According to the article by Shulman, the three primary knowledge domains for teachers are content, pedagogical, and curricular knowledge (p 9). First, I can see the importance of teachers having content knowledge because “The teacher need not only to understand that something is so; the teacher must further understand why it is so” (Shulman, 1986, p 9). Without content knowledge, teachers would not be familiar with their subject matter and thus unable to guide student understanding. In addition, curricular knowledge allows teachers to draw on a variety of teaching tools in which to “present or exemplify particular content and remediate or evaluate the adequacy of student accomplishments” (Shulman, 1986, p 10). Various tools allow teachers to match the intent of their delivery with the expected learning outcomes for students. However, my teaching philosophy is most closely aligned with the importance of pedagogical knowledge as I believe a “teacher must have at hand a veritable armamentarium of alternative forms of representation (Shulman, 1986, p 9). It is essential to reach children of diverse needs, cultures, and abilities and provide individual learning opportunities, as all children deserve a rich educational experience. This belief is my primary responsibility as a teacher and is core to my ideology.
To impact my curriculum with Indigenization, first, I must recognize the identity with which I approach the curriculum. I am a Canadian-born, white, Catholic, British, heterosexual woman from a middle to upper socioeconomic class who has lived in various locations in Canada. With this understanding, next, I must strive to honor and transform my relationship with this land’s traditional people as we move toward reconciliation. This is vital because Indigenization is the combination of Western and Indigenous knowledge systems with the intent to benefit all students, teachers, and the community (Antoine et al., 2018, p 6). Only through Indigenization can there be a rebalance in power in Canada and a return of dignity to First Nation, Metis, and Inuit culture. But how will this be achieved? It will not only be one Act, one press conference, or one apology. Indigenization will take years of action to implement and make real, effective, and honest changes, starting with community development, planning and coordination, mechanisms for funding, support for people, support for workers, and support for families. Canada needs to be ready to let go of its power, authority, and implicit biases toward the First Nation people and embrace a pure state of empathy about what happened, why it happened, who did it, and how the residual effects of colonialism are still present today.
Alberta Education. (2003). Social Studies Program of Studies.
Antoine, A., Mason, R., Mason, R., Palahicky, S. & Rodriguez de France, C. (2018).
Pulling Together: A Guide for Curriculum Developers. Victoria, BC: BCcampus. Retrieved from https://opentextbc.ca/indigenizationcurriculumdevelopers/
Bates, A. W. (2015). Teaching in a digital age: Guidelines for designing teaching and
learning. Vancouver, BC: Tony Bates Associates.
French, J. (2021). CBC News: Indigenous leaders, elder feel used by Alberta government
tactics to bolster new curriculum. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/indigenous-leaders-elder-feel-used-by-alberta-government-tactics-to-bolster-new-curriculum-1.6033499
Pratt, D., & Collins, J. (2000). The Teaching Perspectives Inventory (TPI). Adult
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Pratt, D., & Collins, J. (2002). Summary of 5 Perspectives on Good Teaching.
Shulman, L. S. (1986). Those Who Understand: Knowledge Growth in Teaching.
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