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JOSEPH MAFFIOLINI

Philosophy and Pedagogy


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One of the most popular quotes I have heard throughout my time in the teaching

department of Central Connecticut State University, is from Rita Pierson. “Kids don't learn from

people they don't like.” This resonates with me on so many levels. My primary goal as a physical

education and health science teacher is to provide an equal opportunity for all students, no

matter their ability, to understand the importance and benefits of leading and maintaining a

healthy lifestyle. My secondary objective is to use my profession as a platform for student’s

overall development. Humanism is prominent in my philosophy as a teacher. I want to have a

personal relationship with all my students. All my students should like me. All my students

should want to learn from me.

To me, learning is defined by a someone willingly engaging in the process of gaining

knowledge from someone else. A successful learning situation would be an entire class of

students participating in a completely positive atmosphere and willing to grow as people. I

emphasize positivity, good relationships, and tolerance and understanding to make a good

school and a good classroom. Paulo Freire was a Brazilian educator who preached tolerance.

Tolerance is understanding and listening to other people’s prospective and recognizing them as

views as beautiful as yours, even if you disagree with their sentiment. I strongly believe in the

idea of tolerance and urge everyone to practice a little more tolerance in their life

One of my strongest characteristics is relatability. I remain unbiased, using a logical

approach to work things out. This is how I connect to students. Humanism is the easiest way to

tap into student’s full potential. Humanism is student-based and creates the greatest

opportunity for every student to be successful. All people learn differently. Some people learn

through logical progressions, some learn through naturalistic experiences. In my lessons, I try to
provide as many opportunities for students to learn in as many ways as possible. Whether that

is to turn a lecture into a kinesthetic activity, or something as simple as playing music during

warm-ups.

To grow as an educator, I have found I need to learn from everyone I can. My

professors, my administrators, my co-workers, but most importantly the people whose life I

effect most; my students! While all those people are invaluable resources, they are not the

ones I am trying to provide a meaningful impact to. A book titled, “Fires in the Bathroom:

Advice for Teachers from High School Students” by Kathleen Cushman, is a book based off

quotes from real high school students. This book provided me with incite and reinforced my

humanistic philosophy. Two main themes that arouse from almost every student is that

teachers should be confident, and passionate. These two attributes are at the center of my

focus while I teach.

Confidence in what I say holds more value to those I am trying to reach with my words.

The best way to be confident is to be prepared. My definition of preparation in teaching is

knowing the material, answer all questions, and to keep your word. If I say I am going to do

something, I will make sure to do it. This develops trust, and builds on the student’s confidence

in you. Passion comes in many forms. Three ways I find most effective are, enthusiasm, effort,

and showing you care. Enthusiasm and effort are contagious. The more energy and effort you

provide, the more energy and effort will be returned through student participation. As

important as those characteristics are, showing you care might be the most important. As

stated by Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, the most essential need behind food, water,
clothing, and shelter, is safety. Creating a positive, safe learning environment is not hard. All

people need to be loved.

My beliefs and philosophies have grown and adapted over the years but they are based

on the same basic principles. In my professional career I plan to continue that growth and

adaptation. Being a reflective teacher is being a good teacher, you can learn a lot from yourself

and your mistakes. Reflecting on your teaching will also help you try out new things. Getting out

of your comfort zone is the best way to achieve growth. This is emphasized in the philosopher

Plato’s writing of “The Cave - Breaking the Chains of Ignorance.” Plato mentions that following

the crowd and doing only what you know will only close you off to the possibilities that lie

outside your comfort zone. Once you break the chains that bind you, you can reflect, adapt, and

see the light.

Students know why education is important, my role as a teacher is to provide them with

education worth caring for. John Dewey said, “I believe that the art of thus giving shape to

human powers and adapting them to social service, is the supreme art; one calling into its

service the best of artists; that no insight, sympathy, tact, executive power, is too great for such

service." Teaching is not only my future passions but also my future profession and finest form

of art. I will continue working on my philosophies and grow as a human being and a teacher.

Providing a safe place for students to grow is what my teaching philosophy is all about. I want

to maximize success, and reduce the opportunity to fail, while still maintaining real world

experiences. Tolerance, understanding, and love are what all people deserve, and those are the

roots of my philosophies that I will provide to all my students.


References

Dewey, John (1897) ‘My pedagogic creed’, The School Journal, Volume LIV, Number 3 (January 16, 1897),
pages 77-80.

Freire, P. (1972). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Herder and Herder.

Plato, ., Grube, G. M. A., & Reeve, C. D. C. (1992). Republic. Indianapolis: Hackett Pub. Co