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Philosophy of Education

I feel that it is important that we continue to move away from an education system that focuses on rote memorization and sameness, towards one that focuses on creativity and individual thought. As educators, it is our responsibility to help produce adults who can truly understand and think for themselves. Each person has unique abilities, and weaknesses. They need to learn to work around those weaknesses, and use those abilities. As a culture we will only progress if we learn to use our differences instead of hiding them.

Teaching facts in our schools isn't nearly enough anymore. Facts are worthless if we don't understand their meaning or significance. Students should to learn to think for themselves. With the advancements in technology, we now have machines that can record and state facts at the push of a button. Machines can also do most manual labor more efficiently than a human. It is important now, more than ever, that when students leave the school environment they will be capable of problem solving and hopefully innovation.

Every child has weaknesses in some area. Some children find school very difficult, even if they are very smart. Many of these children would do much better if they simply understood how they thought, and how they can work best in the educational system. For some, this might take extensive help from a Special Ed system. However, for others it might be as simple as just knowing how they learn best. Children who struggle with the system, but still get by, are often ignored because they aren't failing. I think that it is important that these children also get the help they need to really understand how they think. Learning strategies to overcome weaknesses is a skill that everyone should have to succeed.

Our system of education, however, seems to focus to heavily on what's wrong with a child, and not enough on what is right. Each child has a strength, even if they don't realize it. The special education system is excellent at finding problems, and working with them. Unfortunately in the battle to work with disabling problems, many students are never able to figure out what they are good at. This problem is often made worse when children are taken out of "less important" activities in order to focus on academics. A child may be incredibly gifted at art or music, and never have the opportunity to find out. They may never be very good at conventional academics, but they should still be able to explore other possible talents. Without that possibility, we may be missing out on some great contributions to our culture, but even worse, those children might be missing out on a feeling of self worth.

As educators, it is our responsibility to appreciate the differences in each child we work with. We need to teach them problem solving, and coping skills to help in the real world. We should strive to help them understand themselves as individuals, and how to use that in a community. We need to show them how to overcome obstacles, while helping them to reach their full potential.

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