Heidi McJunkin's Professional Portfolio
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 !  Educational Philosophy

My educational philosophy centers around five themes.


1. Hands-on active learning.

2. Individualized instruction.

3. Integrated curriculum.

4. Use the best tools for effective teaching.

5. Continuous assessment.


Hands-on, Active Learning

Children learn best when the activities are hands-on and active. When children are active learners they retain what is taught at a much higher rate and are more motivated to complete the activies. These types of activies include:

  • Games
  • Experiments
  • Problems that deal with real life issues



Individualized instruction.

Providing individualized instruction is very important in student motivation and acheivment. Individualized instruction provides each student with the lessons that best fit his current needs. The one-on-one attention that each student receives promotes life long learning by tailoring his activities to subjects that interest him and provide the right amount of challenge without overwhelming him. At the same time, the teacher can closely monitor his progress and easily adapt the activities to suit his changing educational needs.



Integrated curriculum.

Each subject is interrelated. It is close to impossible for a student to do well in math and science if she cannot read or write. An integrated curriculum shows students that all of the different subjects that she learns about are closely connected. A science problem can relate directly to good writing skills by completing a research report on the condition of the Salmon River. The skills of area and perimeter directly relate to the skills involved in interior design and architecture. By teaching these diverse subjects in an integrated way, students see the benefits of each subject while gaining a better understanding for why we need to learn.



Use the best tools for effective teaching.

Too often education fixates on one tool to solve all of education problems. There is not one "best" tool for every student and teaching situation. It is very important to use the tools that best fit that student at that point in time. Teachers also need to realize that the same tool may not work in the future on the same student or on different students in their classrooms. It is necessary to be skilled in a variety of tools such as technology, manipulatives and project-based learning so that the teacher can easily move from one strategy to another based on each student's needs.



Continuous assessment.

In order for the previous four themes to be effective, teachers must continuously assess their student's progress toward specific goals. This assessment takes many forms. Formative assessments, such as quizzes, homework, observations and daily activites, are used to monitor students day-to-day performance and the effectiveness of the current teaching strategy. Summative evaluations such as end of unit exams and standarized tests are used to judge the overall performance of both the student and the teaching strategies used. It is important to use both types of assessment because no one form of assessment is going to give teachers, parents and administrators an accurate account of student progress. It is imperative that once these assessments are given that teachers honestly evaluate the progress of each child and the teaching strategy used, then modify the lessons accordingly.