Monday, March 28, 2011

Sample educational philosophy statements

I found this on one of the Oregan State University webpages and thought I would like to share it here:

Sample #1

I believe that each child is a unique individual who needs a secure, caring, and stimulating atmosphere in which to grow and mature emotionally, intellectually, physically, and socially. It is my desire as a educator to help students meet their fullest potential in these areas by providing an environment that is safe, supports risk-taking, and invites a sharing of ideas. There are three elements that I believe are conducive to establishing such an environment, (1) the teacher acting as a guide, (2) allowing the child's natural curiosity to direct his/her learning, and (3) promoting respect for all things and all people.

When the teacher's role is to guide, providing access to information rather than acting as the primary source of information, the students' search for knowledge is met as they learn to find answers to their questions. For students to construct knowledge, they need the opportunity to discover for themselves and practice skills in authentic situations. Providing students access to hands-on activities and allowing adequate time and space to use materials that reinforce the lesson being studied creates an opportunity for individual discovery and construction of knowledge to occur.

Equally important to self-discovery is having the opportunity to study things that are meaningful and relevant to one's life and interests. Developing a curriculum around student interests fosters intrinsic motivation and stimulates the passion to learn. One way to take learning in a direction relevant to student interest is to invite student dialogue about the lessons and units of study. Given the opportunity for input, students generate ideas and set goals that make for much richer activities than I could have created or imagined myself. When students have ownership in the curriculum, they are motivated to work hard and master the skills necessary to reach their goals.

Helping students to develop a deep love and respect for themselves, others, and their environment occurs through an open sharing of ideas and a judicious approach to discipline. When the voice of each student is heard, and environment evolves where students feel free to express themselves. Class meetings are one way to encourage such dialogue. I believe children have greater respect for their teachers, their peers, and the lessons presented when they feel safe and sure of what is expected of them. In setting fair and consistent rules initially and stating the importance of every activity, students are shown respect for their presence and time. In turn they learn to respect themselves, others, and their environment.

For myself, teaching provides an opportunity for continual learning and growth. One of my hopes as an educator is to instill a love of learning in my students, as I share my own passion for learning with them. I feel there is a need for compassionate, strong, and dedicated individuals who are excited about working with children. In our competitive society it is important for students to not only receive a solid education, but to work with someone who is aware of and sensitive to their individual needs. I am such a person and will always strive to be the best educator that I can be.

Sample #2

I believe the children are our future...
I believe each and every child has the potential to bring something unique and special to the world. I will help children to develop their potential by believing in them as capable individuals. I will assist children in discovering who they are, so they can express their own opinions and nurture their own ideas. I have a vision of a world where people learn to respect, accept, and embrace the differences between us, as the core of what makes life so fascinating.

Teach them well and let them lead the way...
Every classroom presents a unique community of learners that varies not only in abilities, but also in learning styles. My role as a teacher is to give children the tools with which to cultivate their own gardens of knowledge. To accomplish this goal, I will teach to the needs of each child so that all learners can feel capable and successful. I will present curriculum that involves the interests of the children and makes learning relevant to life. I will incorporate themes, integrated units, projects, group work, individual work, and hands-on learning in order to make children active learners. Finally, I will tie learning into the world community to help children become caring and active members of society.

Show them all the beauty they possess inside. Give them a sense of pride...
My classroom will be a caring, safe, and equitable environment where each child can blossom and grow. I will allow children to become responsible members of our classroom community by using strategies such as class meetings, positive discipline, and democratic principles. In showing children how to become responsible for themselves as well as their own learning, I am giving them the tools to become successful in life, to believe in themselves, and to love themselves.

Let the children's laughter remind us how we used to be...
Teaching is a lifelong learning process of learning about new philosophies and new strategies, learning from the parents and community, learning from colleagues, and especially learning from the children. Children have taught me to open my mind and my heart to the joys, the innocence, and the diversity of ideas in the world. Because of this, I will never forget how to smile with the new, cherish the old, and laugh with the children.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I need or I want?

I need to save up for a camera to pacify my habit of making a digital record of my life or do I want a camera because my previous one was stolen?

I need to save up for a laptop bag to diminish the pain I am experiencing in my shuolders, neck and back or do I want a laptop bag because I want a new backpack?

I need to save up for a swimsuit because the only one I have is starting to disintegrate or do I want a swimsuit to replace the only one I have which I do not really want to wear three days in a row every week?

I need to save up for a flight ticket to set up for my research or do I want a flight ticket to be back in my comfort zone?

I need to attend a retreat to learn how to focus and prioritise, as well as meet new people or do I want to because I feel like taking a break?

I need to sleep earlier so that I am able to get up earlier and fit more working hours into my day or do I want to sleep earlier to gain more sleep time?

Okay, I am getting ridiculous...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Green School

The main reason for visiting Bali was to pay Green School a visit.

Green School incorporates sustainability within education, empowering global citizens and green innovators who are inspired to take responsibility for the sustainability of the world. Their location on a site in an undeveloped and natural area of gentle jungle, bisected by the Ayung River, the longest river in Bali, makes it an ideal place for students to connect with nature. The site is farmed and landscaped to make it productive while being safe and secure.

They prepare students to be critical and creative thinkers who are confident to champion the sustainability of the world and its environment. It is inspiring their thirst to know more, equipping them with appropriate and relevant knowledge, and nurturing their passion to influence change in the way we are managing this planet.

International in its teaching and learning, and in its clientele, their students come from different corners of the world to join a core Balinese community of scholars – representing up to 20% of their enrollment. They bring with them their learning to date to share with their friends and to contribute to a global awareness and perspective of social issues from their countries of origin. So yes, Green School is a private school and there are fees involved.

Its curriculum combines the academic rigour expected of schools and institutions of higher learning with hands-on experiential learning within a Green Studies curriculum and a Creative Arts curriculum. This means that by holding onto the essential core subjects of English, Mathematics and Science, Green School students will have doors open to them for whichever kinds of further learning and careers that they may choose.

An education at Green School is preparation for Green Leadership of tomorrow. Green School aims to be the #1 model of sustainability in education in the world, by producing students who will be the confident generation that wants to, and can, make a difference. There are three main drivers to the Green School Curriculum:

1) The essential subjects of English, Mathematics and Science in recognizing the importance of continuity and progression.

2) Green Studies in hands–on study which evolves from Nature Study to Study of Ecology to Environment Studies to Studies of Sustainability.

3) The Creative Arts in embracing Art, Crafts, Music, Drama, Story-telling among others.

As a part of their commitment to sustainability, all of their structures are built primarily from bamboo, a local, natural, renewable resource. Being at one with nature – in these classrooms without walls – has a huge and positive impact on the learning process. It positively affects the quality of relationships, the way that people conduct and behave with sensitivity to each other, and it helps those youngsters who are easily distracted in conventional classrooms to focus much more easily on their tasks – there are plenty of distractions at Green School but they are natural distractions which are acceptable to, and not in conflict with concentration.

I was on a photo-snapping frenzy. So was Dad! I will let the photos do the talking. Oh, and all information here is derived from their website.

When you walk through the gate, there would be a row of tall coconut trees to the left.

We were wondering if those bamboo poles were for monkeys or for people to balance on to collect the coconuts. Hm...

Beyond the trees was the green oval and at the end of that, the large covered outdoor activity area, where a group of children were playing basketball.

We waited at this watering hole for the tour to begin. This little cafe serves parents, where they meet in the mornings and afternoons.

In the background is Heart of School, the main building.

This shed used recycled metal sheets.

There was also another building to the right of the entrance, which housed the toilets.

They had separate toilets - one for pee and one for poo. They had instructions on the wall for what to do after completion of 'business'.

Ooh, and look at the snazzy shower!

When our tour began, we started with this path that headed towards this cute little hut.

This hut turned out to be the Principal's office!

Right opposite it is this wide structure, which at the time, had a group of children rehearsing for a musical.

We were pretty impressed with how wide the bamboo spanned.

We then came to their latest addition, the Pre-Kindergarten class.

They had the facilities custom-made to kiddy size, too!

Then it was to the Kindergarten class.

They had an outdoor sink.

And look at that play equipment!

This was the main Kindie building.

We were all taken in by the various furniture they had. And yes, all made and designed by local Balinese designers.

Further up, there were vege plots and fruit trees encircling the other buildings, which housed the older age groups.

We were allowed to go into an empty one, which made us understand that they also had traditional teacher-student teaching environments with paper and pencil tasks happening at desks.

I liked their partially sunken conference theatre.

Talk about using recyclables. The pieces of this whiteboard used to be windscreens of cars.

After visiting the whole school, it was back at the Heart of School, which up close, looked even more majestic.

Made up of three sections, I believe this triple-storey building is the largest bamboo structure there is!

Before venturing upstairs, we were required to remove our footwear and place them on these racks.

This was the entrance to their library.

The view from upstairs of the next building, where if I remember correctly, had some Year 5 classes.

I still cannot get enough of this concept of the natural light coming in through this opening. Love it!

Oh, and this bamboo forest would be a definite hit with the kids! Man, I wished I was small enough to slither through it, too! Heaps fun!

Given the economic mess that our world has created in recent times, an education system which produces more of the same is not going to work. If we are to believe just a small proportion of the statistics we are hearing and seeing about the destruction of our planet, individuals need to take a more responsible approach and education is the key starting point. Green School aims to develop responsible and green habits in young people which will be with them for life.

And in support of their good work (they are an NGO), we at kembangsari made a donation to have our name carved on one of the bamboo poles in the Heart of School building.