Educating young children is a very responsible task. During centuries, philosophers, teachers, and other scientists suggested many teaching techniques and theories that were aimed at improving the process of teaching, learning, and assessment. Indeed, modern education is based on several major principles that presuppose encouraging communication between adults and children, encourage learning activities, promote self-belief, and respect for other people. These principles were described and interpreted in various books, articles, etc. In this essay, I am going to highlight some key things, such as theories, principles, and approaches that re-shape or change the way I think about teaching, learning, and assessment.
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I have never considered teaching as something easy, however, it is much “deeper” activity that, according to Eggen and Kauchak (2010) can be described with such adjectives as “demanding”, “challenging”, and “rewarding”. Being a teacher is not a profession, but a lifestyle. What was new for me is that a teacher should also be a psychologist. It is the main characteristic of his/her professionalism. As Eggen and Kauchak (2001) mention in their book, a commitment to learning, the ability to make decisions, reflective practices are the foundations of a professional teacher. Consequently, the knowledge of the material is not the only “knowledge” the teacher should possess. One should study educational psychology to develop a professional knowledge base that helps make decisions to maximize students’ learning. (Eggen & Kauchak, 2010).
What is also important for a teacher is no understand that the world and society develops, the students are not the same there were years ago, thus, a teacher is supposed to use innovative teaching methods that increase students’ alertness and motivation, as well as improve teacher’s professional development. One such method employs the use of the Internet and various digital technologies: “Internet navigation can use the technology to access professional development opportunities.” (Pandey and Bhargava, 2003) This promoted professional development and makes students more interested in learning, thus, it improves their performance. I have also realized that it is extremely important for teachers to understand individual student’s learning capabilities and psychological characteristics of every individual, as well as the whole group to be able to control their behavior. One should be aware of the ethics of the group membership and the commitment to the attitudes, values, and behavior of that group (Eggen & Kauchak, 2010). I also understood that there are many forms of disciplining young children, the most important for a teacher is to realize that these forms should be suitable in one time and place (Porter, 2002).
Two methods re-shaped my view on teaching: constructive and instructive teaching methods. The constructivist theory acknowledges that every learner needs to create an individual understanding of a concept through first-hand experience or reflection (student-based). This is an effective method since the students can visualize and easily understand the taught concepts. This is the opposite of the instructive teaching method where we are supposed to hammers information through explicit teaching, there is a strict sequence of skill presentation, and this method has its shortfalls since weak students might not be able to keep up with the pace. (Zevenbergen, 1995). One thing that we must all observe is professionalism and positive attitudes since they are keys to successful teaching. I appreciate the need to increase the students’ skills in education and life, and to achieve this we should empower students so that they can identify problems and solve them, still it brings them to issues related to real-life matters, and how to go about them. Thus, a teacher should promote student’s personal, social, and moral development in real-life situations.
According to Eggen and Kauchak (2010), age-related changes in personality, ability to interact, and pro-social characteristics should be taken into consideration when educating children. My vision of the educational process was also very changed by the theories of Piaget and Vigotsky. I considered that it is the teacher’s responsibility to present the knowledge, however, according to Piaget, learning is an active process and learners construct their knowledge (Eggen & Kauchak, 2010). Thus, the teacher is only the helper who directs and gives advice. Such a theory of active learning influenced greatly modern education and improved it. Vigotsky is another great pedagogue that changed my vision of the teaching process. His sociocultural theory of development emphasized the role of language in the child’s development, he promoted a great role of culture and social interaction (Eggen & Kauchak, 2010). Thus, I support the idea that people, as social beings should interact with other people and share their culture during socio-based activities.
Another important issue is the way of assessing students. We do this in various ways; one can take the formative approach which tests continuity, while there is the other method we use is the formative one which assesses the students at the end of their program. The formative approach is an effective method of testing day to day progress and it is effective since we can make rectifications instantly to avert the accumulation of learning problems. We are supposed to assess students in line with the set curriculum and objectives. This will take different forms but the primary objective is to use findings to improve our teaching and the student’s learning. (Bhagiar, 2007).
Throughout my learning, I discovered several important things that can promote the enhancement of teachers’ professional development and productivity. These issues have changed my attitude to teaching learning and assessment. What I understood is that teachers should prepare students to real life, promote their social, individual and moral development. By employing teaching tactics that use real life is, sues, teachers should let students explore the better world, come up with new ideas as well as help them solve real life problems. I appreciated what (Eggen & Kauchak 2010) said about real-life teaching whereby we use teaching aids which boosts the students’ ability to understand reality.
Bhagiar, M. (2006).Classroom Assessment Cycle within the Alternate Assessment Paradigm. Journal of Maltese Education research. Web.
Eggen, P & Kauchak, D. (2004) Education psychology Windows on classrooms. Web.
Pandey, V. C. & Bhargava, G. (2003). Digital Technologies and Teaching Strategies. Gyan Books.
Porter, L. (2002). Educating Young Children with Special Needs. SAGE.
Zevenbergen, R. (1995). Constructivist approaches in mathematics education. Web.