Pedagogy is the driving force within a teacher. It is their personal beliefs and underlying reasoning for every action that they take inside and outside of the classroom. My personal pedagogy is that it is important for teachers to, first of all, learn about their students and the way that they discover and flourish. It is important for teachers to discover and learn alongside their students. This allows for dual inquiry between the teachers and students. They are all learning together. Bill Ayers states that another teacher that did this “has overthrown the I-know-you-don’t-know stance, and created an ethos of collective inquiry—students and teachers shoulder to shoulder into the unknown” (2010). According to Berk and Winsler, in this process “negotiation of meaning takes place as teachers and children talk about and practice subject matter at hand… as unanticipated events occur, the teacher capitalizes on them to scaffold children’s understanding as well as to emphasize her expectation that children contribute to reap the benefits of an interactive learning situation” (1995). This cooperative learning allows the students and teachers to work towards common goals together.
My definition of the image of the child is one in which we see each child as an individual, capable of achieving whatever they set their minds to accomplish. If we believe they can do it, and they believe in themselves, then we have a recipe for success. According to Ayers, children are not blank slates—they all come to school with their own experiences. He states, “Teaching is an interactive practice that begins and ends with seeing the student. It is ongoing and never completely finished. The student grows and changes, the teacher learns, the situation shifts, and seeing becomes an evolving challenge” (2010). We need to nurture each child’s individual strengths and support their creativity and development of higher order thinking skills.
Even though I am no longer directly teaching, I think that these underlying beliefs should guide all of my decisions regarding children.
I believe that each child can accomplish whatever they set their minds to, but some children are not motivated to accomplish things at the level we expect from them. This challenge is connected the ethical statement, “To recognize and respect the unique qualities, abilities, and potential of each child” (Code of Ethical Conduct and Statement of Commitment, 2005). This can be changed into the commitment: I will recognize and respect the unique qualities, abilities, and potential of each child by creating an environment where they can accomplish anything if they set their minds to it.
Teachers play many roles. They should be an educator, a mentor, a tutor, a role model, a friend, a confidant, and most importantly, someone who lights the spark within their students.
Ayers, W., & Tanner, R. (2010). To teach: the journey, in comics. New York: Teachers College Press.
Berk, L. E., & Winsler, A. (1995). Scaffolding children’s learning: Vygotsky and early childhood education. Washington: National Association for the Education of Young Children.
Code of Ethical Conduct and Statement of Commitment. (2005). National Association for the Education of Young People.
To Teach. A Talk and Discussion with William Ayers [Video clip]. (2014). United States. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pfc5dLWSTZo