TL Standard 1
Over the past 8 weeks I have learned a lot about myself as a person and as an educator. The past 26 years of life I have believed that who I am is directly related to my experiences and the relationships I have built. My exposure to the world has helped shaped my individuality along with my values. I have come to find that I tend to follow Aristotle’s views on morality. “Aristotle believed that your views on morality come from your experiences whereas Augustine’s believed that your beliefs on right and wrong come internally, through your practice and belief of god.” (Module 2). With Aristotle’s views, I feel character education plays a huge role in how I developed my values. Everyone has a large influence on the positive development of character education and who you become. (Module 5). I grew up in a separated household and through the exposure from both (which exposed me to two very different ways of life), I somehow attained my own ideas of right and wrong through observation and experiences. I was able to watch the decisions and actions taken by my older sister, and the praise and repercussions she endured from those decisions. I have taken the different environments I have been exposed to, important influences in my life and experiences I have encountered to help shape my ideas of what is right and wrong. I continue to look within myself to live the life that I feel is right and healthy for me and all of those that surround me. (Module 1).
Every teacher brings their own values into their classroom while teaching. For me, it is important to help my students build critical thinking skills and exposure to as many point of views as possible. It is also important to help students at a young age develop an understanding of how to cultivate a point of view, morals and principals for smaller topics so they can understand the process for the much larger topics down the road. (Module 1) For me, the tricky piece in this is to not instill my own personal views as the “right” way. I also feel that as a teacher it is important to always be a positive role model for your students. When I am faced with an ethical dilemma, my first thoughts are, how would this influence those around me? Would I teach and encourage my students to make the same decision? I stand firmly behind the statement, “practice what you preach”. At times, it can be tricky to stick by that statement, but it makes it difficult to respect and follow the lead of an authority figure or someone children can look up to if you are unable to follow what you teach. Ultimately, what is most important is to stick by your core beliefs and what will continue my healthy living. In the reading Schema of the Moral Process in Pojman’s Value: The Quest for the Good it discusses that some of us invent our values by choice and those “values are created by desires and they are valuable just to that degree to which they are desired.” We must decide to do what is morally right, which can change depending on the person. (Module 1)
There are a lot of important pieces from this course that I will take with me that will help influence my choices in the future in my classroom. One of these is the importance of teaching subjects that might make me uncomfortable such as religion, sex education, politics etc. I have been doing my students a disservice by not providing my students with an appropriate amount of information/education because I have been uncomfortable or I am afraid to press my personal views. Through the readings and discussions in this course, I feel more comfortable with my limitations surrounding the subjects. “The first amendment requires teachers within the public school to remain neutral with promoting religious views. All throughout my time completing my undergrad, it was made clear that there are extremely controversial topics such as politics and religion that we as future educators needed to be aware of, and how to handle such situations.” (Module 3) I am excited to test out a well-rounded education on these controversial topics. I completed an project with my group on the teaching of sex education and the common arguments and controversial standpoints. This all connects with another piece of information that this course has will influence my teaching in the future. The importance of teaching character education in the classroom, starting as young as kindergarten and continuing and building all the way through 12th grade. This is how I believe we build the foundation for students with strong character education to have discussions and well-rounded education for controversial topics like religion, sex education, and politics.
Parker Palmer’s book, To Know As We Are Known talked about the importance of promoting a safe environment, “The teacher who gives a single interpretation of the data rather than suggesting alternative theories fails to open a space in which students are challenged to learn. (Palmer, 78)”. In order to challenge your students to question what they read, what they learn and to take risks, there needs to be a safe environment. As Palmer states, “silence is a threatening experience” (pg 81). Promote talking, brainstorming and collaboration to help guide your students in seeking the truth and morally centric outcomes. (Module 4). This is a concept that I plan on continuing to implement in my classroom, a safe environment where my students feel comfortable taking risks.
Another major piece that will stay with me and I would like to do more of, is fight more to keep the arts and extracurricular in schools as much as possible. This is something I would like to push as a teacher leader and future administrator. We are quickly losing sight of what is important and healthy for the children in our schools. As we read in Developing Assets by Peter Scales, exposure to external and internal assets is critical to help eliminate problems in schools. Limiting a child’s exposure to the world and real life experiences is hindering their development and ability to solve real world issues. In school we are able to help expose our students to creative activities, clubs, music and sports and we need to hold on tight to those opportunities and not lose sight of their importance in our student’s lives. For a lot of our kids, this is the only time they get to have those experiences. (Module 7)
Lewis, C. S. 2001. The Abolition of Man. New York: HarperCollins.
Lickona, T. (2004). Character matters: How to help our children develop good judgment, integrity, and other essential virtues. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Palmer, Parker. To Know As We Are Known: Education as a Spiritual Journey. San Francisco: Harper, 1993
Pojman’s Value: The Quest for the Good. (n.d.).
Quotes from my discussion board posts in Modules: 1-8
Scales, P., & Leffert, N. (2004). Developmental assets a synthesis of the scientific research on adolescent development (Revised/Expanded ed.). Minneapolis: Search Institute.
Smith, F. (2006, April 3). How to Approach Moral Issues in the Classroom. Edutopia. Retrieved July 15, 2014, from http://www.edutopia.org/how-approach-moral-issues-classroom