As an educator, I have come to appreciate the approach of lifelong learning in all elements of my life extending beyond my classroom. I believe the distinction between teacher-life and a “separate” life should not exist if the desire is to be consistent and genuine with students. There are several goals/ideas that are fundamental to my educational philosophy and approach to learning and that are reflective of this belief.
- Create healthy learning relationships as they are key to the holistic growth of all learners. All individuals are learners, and learners who feel empowered to pursue their passions will more readily challenge and learn about the universe. Modelling this empowerment and how to establish the growth of personal learning networks (PLNs) further maximizes opportunities for holistically healthy, lifelong learning. These learners may then further model this practice for others.
- Practice digital citizenship and scientific literacy as vehicles for students to consume information critically. Students must be prepared to consume, critique, adapt and adjust to ever-changing social contexts, including digital social contexts. Narratives must be acknowledged and appreciated when approaching issues and content online, yet objective, critical thinking skills found in scientific and digital literacy can help ascertain fact from misinformation.
- Utilize critical theory and anti-oppressive education for identifying, challenging, and acting against systemic inequities to create engaged, global citizens. Dissection of current events and questioning regarding legislation and policy and the impact it has on others is paramount to appreciating the wider impact of decision-making in society and education. Discussions should occur with students regarding why they are learning what they are learning, how that learning is taking place and what factors were and are at work influencing their ongoing learning.
- Harness my capacity for change to advocate for and model what learning and participating in society can look like while appreciating multiple perspectives. Educators possess an influential role in education and should act upon this to allow for the growth of their learners to participate in society. While acknowledging potential impact of the educator’s specific views, the educator must recognize and appreciate the variety of perspectives present in classrooms and worldwide.
- Provide open education for the sake of learning for all.
This builds on all of the previous points by harnessing digital tools to allow for increased availability to learning resources or, when able, providing access to learning for anyone. While many individuals may be subject to barriers to accessing digital resources, making resources widely usable promotes learning beyond the school and beyond just students within classrooms.
Ultimately, I love my students and being an educator, and it is in this that I am able to confidently approach learning in my classroom enthusiastically to make it fun and engaging. I will continue to reflect and grow as a learner throughout my career as an educator to best meet the needs of my learners.