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My personal philosophy about education:

    I believe we all have the ability to view crises that come into our lives as challenging opportunities or defeating obstacles. At some point in our lives we all make a decision to adopt one or the other of these outlooks. I have been given the opportunity to revisit and obtain my childhood dream and I have set out to make that my new reality. I have always had, at my core, the desire to teach. It was during this time I began to realize that “lifelong learning” was not just a catchy phrase but a critical belief that is a life changing experience. I was able to keep fanning the spark of my childhood dream by becoming a presenter in “The Choices Program” sponsored by Credit Union Central of Canada. In this program, I visited many Winnipeg junior high school classrooms (Grade 9) and presented the material combined with a frank discussion of why they should stay in school. I learned as much as I hopefully shared with the students. It was here I started to formulate that the ability for a youth to make a connection with an instructor is critical to his or her learning. In fact, it may be more important than the actual knowledge transference for it is the cement that holds the knowledge in place. My involvement as a leader in Scouting showed me that if there is one educator in a child’s life who makes a strong bond, it will influence that individual for the remainder of his or her life as well as shore that same person up against the trials that will come. It was here that I discovered the importance of making learning fun for both the teachers and pupils. My career moved formally toward instruction when I was asked by Red River to teach the Financial Planning course. I also took the opportunity to enrol in the Certificate in Adult Education offered by them. I was happiest when teaching and made an interesting discovery that, while there are undeniable and marked differences in teaching adults as opposed to youth, there also are remarkable similarities: the need to connect, be invited to be interested in the material and the mandatory use of a variety of instructional methods are but three. The key will always be to build a brain-friendly classroom regardless of the age group making sure it is a safe environment to foster learning. In fact, the classroom is really a home for the mind. I cannot help but see us as facilitators or “cementers of knowledge”, keen on ensuring that work isn’t done until it is done right.

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My reflection on teaching with technology:

     The one thing that Introduction to Information Technology for Educators has taught me is that if I am going to teach young children about computers, I must temper what I plan to teach.  We can become so overwhelmed with all the latest advances that it is easy to get lost before we can reach a meaningful outcome for the student.  I recall my amazement at “re-learning” hypertext markup language (HTML) to create a simple webpage when there are so many advanced editors out there that I am capable of using.  The key was that a child could learn some of the simple commands of HTML and have a rudimentary webpage up and able to be viewed by "millions" of people in an afternoon.  The powerful sense of accomplishment and the “coolness” of being published is what will spark the flame of learning and allow the student to build on his or her knowledge.  I would have run the risk of snuffing out that spark by tasking the student with needless features and “bloat” of our modern programs.
     The ability to bring multimedia content to the fore with information technology cannot be overlooked and I plan to incorporate that into my classroom whenever possible.  It simply allows for variety in instructional methods which is crucial to keep the attention of one’s students.  The web is rich with information such as that but information is not knowledge.  This is a huge limiting factor unless I, as an instructor, review and sift through much of what is presented to young students to glean their research from.  This will be a critical part of my mission as a teacher.