Janusz Korczak and his life influenced my desire to become an educator. He was a dedicated pedagogue striving to create equal rights and opportunities for children. He sacrificed his own life for the happiness and wellbeing of children from underprivileged communities. I was inspired by his commitment, genuine love for children, and ceaseless work. Moreover, as a child, I always wanted to experiment and express my creativity. However, my school curriculum and teachers did not encourage students to learn through experimentation. While growing up, I realized the need for educators who would foster imagination by creating a unique and personalized learning environment.
My view is supported by two theories of learning and development –constructivist or cognitive development and Multiple Intelligences (MI). Cognitive development theory highlights that child construct their knowledge by themselves because they think differently. Therefore, teachers need to create a flexible curriculum to fit their development needs. I also believe that bodily activities should be integrated into the learning process, which corresponds to Piaget’s concept of embodied cognition (Levine and Munsch, 40).
Gardner’s MI theory presents eight types of intelligence and suggests that multiple sides of a personality need to be nurtured (Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center 1). According to this approach, educators focus on individual plans and think of various material formats. Both theories help children learn through a personalized trajectory where children are encouraged to follow their passion and think out of the box.
I am convinced that children learn effectively in an exciting and challenging environment where they are free to try out and experiment. The surrounding world has to stimulate brain activity and let a child’s inner abilities reveal and strengthen. The teacher’s role is to observe the process and help learners find solutions. Hence, children will feel they have the possibility to control their learning process. The most significant part of teaching for me lies in identifying the specific needs of a child. The more we know about an individual, the easier it is to adjust and adapt to teaching and development programs.
First of all, a safe environment will provide children with the possibility to make mistakes and discover alternatives. Secondly, curriculum and materials should aim at advancing not only the cognitive perception of reality but the sensual perception. Senses allow children to receive information via many channels and respond accordingly. I will focus on preparing inclusive teaching programs that engage all the students and make them interact. Besides, I want children to realize that they are part of the bigger system by finding connections in natural settings. Studying the outer world creates a careful attitude to nature and promotes responsibility.
I assume that patience and stress tolerance are the core personal characteristics of an early childhood educator. There are a lot of unexpected situations that require a swift reaction and reasonable response. Being quite patient, I still need to work more on stress resistance and critical thinking to be sure I know how to act. From a professional perspective, an educator has to be ready to acquire new knowledge and tools.
To my mind, it is necessary to be a learner yourself to support practical experience. I am a cooperative person who seeks to share know-how and insights. As a team member, I know how to collaborate and let other teachers lead the process or offer solutions. As a result, the network between colleagues bolsters professional improvement and the generation of ideas.
Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center. Northern Illinois University. Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Web.
Levine, Laura, and Joyce Munsch. Child Development. From Infancy to Adolescence. Sage, 2020.