Velda Arnaud's Portfolio

My Philosophy of Education

In my years of teaching youth and adults, here is what I've learned:

  • Make the learning fun.
  • There are no stupid questions.
  • Always be available to the students.
  • Don't just lecture; interact with the students.
  • No two students learn in exactly the same way.
  • Tests evaluate how well the instructor has taught.
  • Plan and prepare; know where you are going before you begin.
  • It's the instructor's job to encourage and help students grow, not to put them down.

In order to be the best instructor that I can be, I created my philosophy of education. It contains these sections:

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact me.

The Purpose of Education

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire, by William Butler Yeats

Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one, by Malcolm S. Forbes

Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten, by B.F. Skinner

Education is not simply attending school, memorizing facts and figures, or getting good grades. Education is a process. The process starts when someone discovers that he or she needs new skills, knowledge, or attitudes. Education is the process of obtaining new knowledge, skills, or attitudes through learning.

The purpose of education, therefore, is to provide the structure or means necessary for students to acquire new knowledge, skills, and attitudes. In our roles as educators, it is our responsibility to guide students to learn the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that will make them successful in their careers.

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How Students Learn and Develop

Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence, by Robert Frost

It is very important to remember that no two students learn in exactly the same way. There are, however, a few things that most adult learners share:

  • The program and curriculum must be meaningful to the students.
  • Students are social and need others to enrich their lives.
  • Students' time should be used efficiently.
  • The classroom environment should be stimulating and motivating so that students can feel confident and secure.
  • Classroom learning should be related to the students' personal lives. Students need to be able to apply what they learn in the classroom to their lives outside the classroom.

Adult students learn the best when they can understand the reasons for learning the new information. Adult learners do not like to have their time wasted because they already have very busy lives. It is also important that they can connect the new information to something they already know. As educators, it is important for us to make the links between the classroom learning, real world, and their future careers.

Instructors should always be clear about expectations. Adults like to know what to expect from a course and what the instructor expects from them in return.

Adults need to be engaged in their learning. Classroom activities that allow them to socialize (small group work, brainstorming, group projects) will increase their understanding of the curriculum.

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What We Should Teach Our Students

The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to think-rather to improve our minds, so as to enable us to think for ourselves, than to load the memory with thoughts of other men, by Bill Beattie

The quote above says it all. We must teach our students how to think for themselves. They must have problem solving, critical thinking, and reasoning skills. They should be able to research and find information. In today's world, students must be confident using computers and software.

Another thing that is important to teach our students is that each one of them has value. While we cannot necessarily eliminate low self-esteem, I feel that we can increase self-confidence. Too many adult students have been told that they were failures and that they could not succeed in life. As educators, it is our responsibility to support our students and encourage them to do their best.

I firmly believe that anyone can do anything, if he or she is willing to work towards the desired goal.

I want my students to discover that learning can be fun. The classroom environment doesn't have to always be lecture. The classroom environment must be safe for everyone, but it doesn't have to be a lecture hall. There are times to be silly with subject matter just as much as there are times to take things very seriously.

Finally, I want my students to realize that their education doesn't stop when they graduate. Once a student learns how to learn (overcoming phobias and tackling those study skills) and discovers that learning can be fun, he or she will likely continue with his or her education. Students need to understand the attitude of life-long learning.

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How Students Should be Taught

Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths pure theatre, by Gail Godwin

Adult learners should be taught with great respect. They are coming into the classroom with various backgrounds and a vast amount of experience. We must remember that our students may have a lot of "baggage" or have skeletons in their closets. Their past has helped them be who they are today, and we need to appreciate that. Each student is a valuable and contributing member of our society, and each student must be treated as such.

Adult learners are trying to make changes in their lives-they have set goals. New skills may be very difficult for some adults to learn. It may have been many years since they were in school, and they may have forgotten some basic skills, but that does not make them stupid or incompetent. As educators, it is our responsibility to help our students reach their goals. That may mean an extra pat on the back or praise for small steps, but it is our job to encourage and support our students.

As adults, our learners expect to get what they are paying for. This means that students may expect their time to used efficiently and for the instruction to be clearly organized. That also means they may expect the instructor to be available to assist them when they need help. As much as possible, the instructor should be efficient and organized and allow time for individual discussions with students. Instructors must know the curriculum they are teaching and be prepared when they enter the classroom. Adults will pick up on subtle clues if an instructor is not prepared. That is not to say that the instructor must be omniscient; it is fine to not know the answer to every question. However, the instructor must know the material covered in the course.

Above all, remember that adults have lives outside the school. They want their time filled with meaningful educational experiences. As much as possible, curriculum should be connected to their lives or their future careers.

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Hopes for My Students

It is the greatest shot of adrenaline to be doing what you have wanted to do so badly. You almost feel like you could fly without the plane, by Charles Lindbergh

People who soar are those who refuse to sit back, sigh and wish things would change. They neither complain of their lot nor passively dream of some distant ship coming in. Rather, they visualize in their minds that they are not quitters; they will not allow life's circumstances to push them down and hold them under, by Charles R. Swindoll

For my students, I want each one to:

  • Complete his or her program.
  • Find a fulfilling job in his or her desired field.
  • Leave the program knowing that he or she did his or her best.
  • Feel they received an excellent education.
  • Be happy in the new career.
  • Have confidence in his or her knowledge, skills, and attitudes.
  • Never stop learning.

I want my students to soar like eagles!

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Expectations for Myself

We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude, by Charles R. Swindoll

I feel very lucky that I have a job that I love so much. Ten years ago I would have laughed if anyone had suggested that one day I'd be an educator. I am also very fortunate that I have found a position with a college that has such a wonderful program where I can feel successful.

In my role as an educator, I will:

  • Be prepared for each course. That means that I will know the lesson plan for the day as well as the overall plan (to meet course objectives) for the entire term. I will know where the course is going and how we will get there.
  • Create a learning environment that will be interactive and fun and which will allow each student to meet the competencies required in the course.
  • Be available to students to answer their questions and to help them succeed.
  • Be a role model for the students.
  • Encourage our students to continue with their education and to keep reaching for their goals.
  • Be a facilitator, not an authoritarian.
  • Care about the well being of each student.
  • Continue to grow and learn in my teaching profession.

It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad. By C.S. Lewis

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