One of the best professions that an individual could ever have is that of being an early childhood educator. The said profession goes far more than teaching theories and knowledge within the four walls of the classroom. It actually includes molding and shaping the future of the country through the youth. Many people are trying to become an educator of children in the community but only few of have the authentic qualifications that fulfill the requirements of becoming a great teacher. This is considered as a fact since many people view teaching as a mere process of transferring of knowledge to the students.
Nevertheless, the role of a teacher is not actually bounded on these expectations. As William Arthur Ward puts it, “a mediocre teacher tells, a good teacher explains, a superior teacher demonstrates, but a great teacher inspires” (Thinkexist. com, 2010). Educators nowadays should not be limited to transferring knowledge to the students. They should serve as the catalysts of change and development of the students. The paper tackles my personal vision of myself as an early childhood educator.
It discusses the factors that are considered to be essential in becoming a great teacher, which include the required training for the educator, the very definition of an early education, the model classroom, the materials and equipments for the classroom, and many others which are based on my personal point of view. On becoming a professional early childhood educator To become a professional early childhood educator is not an easy task since one needs to conform to the professional qualities that a great teacher should have.
Among the professional qualities which are essential in becoming a great educator is the knowledge of the teacher regarding the subject matter that he or she will teach. It is not enough for a teacher to know his or her subject well. Rather, it is also important that he or she possesses the in-depth understanding of the discipline or lesson that he or she is teaching. Likewise, a teacher is to be considered great if he or she has the ability to relate and integrate other branches of knowledge to the lesson, subject or discipline that he or she is teaching.
This means that the teacher should not be only limited to the topic that he or she is required to lecture during a particular day. For example, it is indeed advantageous to teach writing skills while at the same time teaching the values of preserving and conserving the environment. In this situation, the teacher is able to hit two birds with one shot. The teacher trains students on writing, which is one of the standards in the English subject, while he or she also integrates preserving the nature, which is a very good topic in Biology.
Along with the mastery of the subject matter is the good facility of the teacher to lesson plan making. Since it is considered to be the backbone and soul of the class, the lesson plan is indeed important to assure that everything will go smoothly in the teaching and learning process. Hence, a teacher must always have a lesson plan in order to assure the success of the teaching-learning process. As equally important as the understanding of the teacher to the subject matter of the class, a great educator should also have the in-depth understanding to the most important factor in the teaching-learning paradigm – the learners.
If a teacher does not have the full understanding on the growth and development of the learners, he or she will most likely fail in the teaching-learning process. For instance, to be able to become successful in educating the children, the teacher should know the different learning styles and habits of the students. Some students may learn easily with the use of visual aids; some may adapt quickly with the aid of real objects and models; and some may enjoy listening to sounds and music.
It is important for the teacher to have the ability to classify the students according to their learning styles and habits since some of them maybe visual, realistic, auditory and the like. Furthermore, the teacher should have the needed knowledge regarding the different teaching methodologies and strategies to satisfy the unique needs of every learner in the classroom. Since different learning styles require different learning needs and strategies, a great teacher should have a full grasp of the different methodologies in teaching a lesson (Cole, 2008).
For instance, visual learners learn best through the use of visual aid, realistic learners learn through the use of models and real objects, and auditory learners learn through the sense of hearing. In this case, the teacher should have the perfect timing and proper usage of the different methodologies and strategies on teaching the learners. A flash card, for example, is best for drill, mastery and memorization. Smartboard, on the other hand, is intended for interactive participation of the learners (Promethean, n. d. ). In relation, the Socratic Method is deemed best for initiating critical thinking among the students.
Modeling, however, is ideal in assisting the students in the classroom activities like in the application and evaluation parts (Fathman & Crowther, 2006). Indeed, there are a variety of methods that a teacher can use inside the classroom. The teacher should only have the knowledge on the proper use and timing of these methodologies to assure the success of the teaching-learning process (Killen, 2006). Aside from the mastery of the subject matter and the knowledge on the learning styles and teaching strategies, a teacher should also have his or her own educational philosophy in order for him or her to understand the whole educational paradigm.
It is important for a teacher to know the guiding principles that make up his or her total personality. Based on the different educational philosophies, a teacher may be considered as a realist, idealist, existentialist, and the like. A realist teacher uses real objects to transfer knowledge to the students. An idealist teacher, on the other hand, uses thought-provoking questions to initiate critical thinking among the students. An existentialist or constructivist, moreover, believes that practical application is the very essence of learning (Steffe & Gale, 1995).
If a teacher has the knowledge regarding his or her own educational philosophy, he or she will be guided accordingly on his or her teaching methodologies and strategies while considering the learners’ various learning styles and habits. Lastly, to be able to become a great educator, a teacher must also be knowledgeable regarding the current events and advances that the modern world has to offer. Since education is described to be flexible, a teacher should know the latest trends that could help improve the teaching and learning system in the classroom.
For instance, because of the technological advances that science has brought to us, most of the classrooms nowadays are using the Smartboard instead of the typical chalkboard or whiteboard. Since this technology brings comfort to the teacher and learners, it is advantageous if the teacher will use it as one of the teaching devices inside the classroom. Another example is the use of computer, LCD projector, PowerPoint and other media presentation, video, speech laboratory, Internet and many others.
With the use of these technological advances, the classroom could serve as a comfort zone for both teacher and learners. Hence, on my perspectives, I need to possess the above professional qualifications in order for me to become a great early childhood educator. I must be trained on the mastery of particular subject matters, understand my students’ various learning styles and habits, understand the different teaching methodologies and strategies, know my personal educational philosophy, and discover the different technological advances in the field of education.
My vision of what an early childhood education ought to be Aside from knowing the various students’ learning styles and habits and the different teaching methodologies and strategies, early childhood education for me also means knowing the very definition of Howard Gardner’s Theories on Multiple Intelligences (MI). Early childhood is considered to be the most critical stage in the life of every individual since it is said to be formative in nature. It is the stage where an individual learns everything in his or her life.
Hence, it is very important that the teacher should know how to guide and assist the learners carefully and properly. It is not really enough that the teacher knows how to teach the learners to count, read, speak and write. The teacher must also know how to maximize the development of the learners into its fullest. One of the best ways to maximize the full development of every child in this generation is the consideration of the Theory of Multiple Intelligence. This theory states that every individual has his or her own intelligence based on their abilities and capacities.
Based on this theory, learners may be categorized as visual-spatial, linguistics, bodily-kinesthetic, mathematical-logical, musical, naturalist, interpersonal and intrapersonal. Prior to the discovery of the MI theory, students’ intelligence is being measured by their mastery on reading and counting. Nevertheless, in the current educational set up of our country, intelligence is measured through the different dimensions of the skills and capacities of the students. For instance, a student who knows how to play a musical instrument skillfully may be considered as a genius in music.
Likewise, a student who has an incomparable skill on word formation and sentence composition may be regarded as linguistically-gifted. Moreover, a student who draws or paints incredibly may be considered to be visually-intelligent. I do believe that this concept is indeed important in the early childhood education since it will help me in maximizing the skills and capacity of my students. As a great educator, I must let my students develop and progress all the aspects in their individuality in order for them to attain maximum early childhood education development.
This practical application of the MI theory, furthermore, should be coupled with the different teaching strategies that will enhance each student’s intelligence. For instance, I could allow the linguistically-gifted students to play with word formation or word puzzle games in order to satisfy their needs as linguistics learners. More so, I could also let those who are mathematically-intelligent to solve problems and equations as part of their motivation or application and evaluation activities.
The interpersonal-intelligent students, on the other hand, can have debates, group discussion and other activities which entail speaking and communication. Indeed, early childhood education is not an easy task in comparison to other levels of education. The teacher in this level, aside from serving as the “loco parentis” of the learners, should be intelligent, careful and wise in choosing the proper teaching methodologies to suit the various learning styles and multiple intelligences of the learners.
Courtney from Study Moose
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