Classroom observation

I have never spent much time thinking about my philosophy of education, but through my experience of working with students of different grades, levels, and backgrounds, I believe that education is a process in which unique individuals–coming from different cultures and experiences–accumulate knowledge through various ways, approaches, and learning styles. Therefore, I think as teachers, it is extremely important to respond and make proper adjustments to meet those different learning needs of our students, in other words, we must differentiate our teaching. The Sternberg Intelligences tell us that there are three main types of learners: analytical, practical, and creative, and each type of learner takes a very different approach to acquire knowledge. We must first be able to identify our students. With the proper adjustments in our teaching material, process, and product, we will then be able to teach our students effectively. In essence, there isn’t one perfect way to teach all students; instead, we must adapt different contents, strategies, and assessments to better educate our students. Often time our classrooms will be filled with students of vastly diverse ages and grade levels. When I was teaching Chinese at a local Chinese school, due to the limited resources, I had a class with 20 students between the ages of eight and 14–from 2nd graders to 8th graders–all in the same class. In terms of their level, they ranged from early beginning/no background to early advance. At the beginning it seemed impossible to get anything accomplished in the class. I decided to differentiate when teaching the class by implementing four different stations in the classroom. Each station is composed of students of similar ages and levels, and even though, the entire class was learning the same topic, each station was provided with different ways to approach the topic. I prepared age and level appropriate material and assignment for each station, and the assessment for each station was done differently: some stations were focused more on the oral aspect while some focused more on reading and writing. Because I strongly believe that every individual acquires and retains information differently; therefore, I see the importance of differentiated instructions in any classroom, and that is my philosophy of education.