The Creative Classroom

The Creative Classroom
When I was three years old, my parents and I made the most significant move of our lives? we moved from northern Ohio to my mother?s hometown in southern West Virginia. Many things about my life changed because of our relocation, but most significantly was my mom?s job. While in Ohio, she had stayed home with me, but once we came to West Virginia, she resumed her career as a teacher. Immediately, I was thrown into the school system. I remember being so proud that my photograph had been included in the 1987 Man Junior High School Yearbook? and I was just four. Since then, I have viewed the teaching profession through my mother?s eyes and consequently, the eyes of a teacher. I have seen the joy that comes with teaching as well as the frustrations, and I look forward to them all in my future as an educator. I consider my views of teaching to be realistic. I have seen firsthand the paperwork, confrontations with students, extra hours required, and the stress that comes with teaching. But, I have also seen a teacher?s entire day be turned around just because one student grasped a new concept. I have seen a student?s eyes sparkle when they discover something new. And beyond that, I have seen a teacher?s eyes sparkle when his or her pupil rejoiced in their newfound knowledge. I welcome all these experiences into my life, and cannot wait to make my own discoveries in my secondary mathematics classroom. Because of my observations of the education field and my own personal style, I feel that my classroom will best be served with a diverse group of philosophies including essentialism, perennialism, behaviorism, and social reconstructionism.

Essentialism is the "back to basics" approach to education that concentrates on teaching primary skills to students. Essentialism tugs at the very heart of mathematics: in order to understand the more complex theorems and algorithms, you must first have a firm grasp of the basic principles of mathematics. I believe learning mathematics is both a step-by-step and conceptual process. With essentialism, I hope to highlight the step-by-step approach. In this, I will be constantly reviewing elementary mathematical concepts, building to a better understanding of the given concept and further building up to a more complex mathematical understanding.

Perennialism emulates the belief that ideas that have lasted over centuries should be the concentration of the classroom. My classroom will concentrate on the great ideas set forth by great mathematicians: Mobius and his discoveries in trigonometric relationships; Pythagoreas and his theorem used to measure the right triangle; Archimedes and his method of precise measurement of the circle. I would also like to include a portion of my class that concentrates on these great thinkers as well. As a student, I have always been curious about where ideas were formed, and who was behind these great principles. Through small research projects and hands-on activities, I would like to open my students?s minds to these questions and help them further understand the men and women behind these concepts.

The educational philosophy of behaviorism concentrates on the idea that students learn behavioral patterns and these patterns can therefore be shaped through a system of punishments and rewards. While no future teacher likes to consider the discipline problems he/she may encounter, I realize that I must have a method to dealing with disruptive students long before my first day as a teacher. Furthermore, I must find a way to encourage my well-behaved students who follow directions. I believe that the reward and punishment system of behaviorism will provide a stable, effective academic environment for my students. At this time, I have no exact ideas as to the reward/punishment system I will utilize in my classroom. I am constantly contemplating ideas, seeking advice, and researching the methods of others to aid me in forming my exact belief.

Most importantly, I will include the more recent philosophy of social reconstructionism in my classroom. Social reconstructionism teaches students to think for themselves, formulate their own values and ideas, and find their individuality in a nonthreatening environment. Through math lessons, I hope to teach my students to think creatively and hopefully allow that creative thinking to leak into other realms of knowledge. I want my classroom to be a nonthreatening place where students feel comfortable enough to discuss their personal issues with me. I do not profess or hope to solve all of their problems; however, I do hope that allowing them to talk through things and letting them know that someone cares and is willing to help in crisis will bring my students one step closer to independent thinking. Reflective of social reconstructionism, I also want my classroom to be up to date both academically and socially. I hope to introduce my students to the latest mathematical ideas and thinkers on the academic front. Socially, my classroom will be open to diversity and the ever-changing American society through discussion, projects, and activities.

In May of 2005, I plan to graduate from Concord College with a degree in Secondary Math Education (5-12) and School Library Media (K-12). With me, I hope to take a confidence that will permeate to my future classroom. It is my greatest desire to become a teacher in southern West Virginia, but I will not close the doors to opportunities elsewhere if needed. Soon after I am on my feet financially, I would like to pursue my Master?s Degree in mathematics education. I have not decided what professional organizations to join as an educator; however, I have decided to be active in my students?s extracurricular activities by sponsoring a community outreach program such as HI-Y, Girl Scouts, or Beta Club at my school. Furthermore, I hope to be involved in the mathematical activities such as Math Field Day and other competitions. I hope to share my love of both learning and helping others both inside and out of the classroom. As I continue my education, some of my ideas will surely change. Perhaps I will become passionate about other methods of teaching my students; however, at the core of my lessons, lectures, and classroom discussions will be essentialism, perennialism, behaviorism, and social reconstructionism. With these methods, I hope to achieve an effective learning environment that allows my students to explore their minds, and an effective loving environment that allows my students to explore their hearts.

The Creative Classroom 8.2 of 10 on the basis of 4144 Review.