We live in a world of competitions wherein nations of the world need to continue their human resource development through education or training in various fields of disciplines as to develop better intellectual, political, economical, and social standing of humanities and the nations; as such, education must be used to develop human societies to enable them solve problems of these raising concerns of eventuality arising from these broad based purposes of education. As I explore this topic regarding my philosophy of education, it is instructive of me to deal with certain issues as highlighted in the questionnaires subjectively as assigned; therefore, the issues of intellectual or cognitive, political, economic, and social, will be discussed as they relate to my philosophy of education. The second aspect discusses the conditions under which children learn best followed by the four areas of developmental domains as discussed in the course. The rest deals with the physical environment and the conditions necessary to facilitate human development with respect to developmentally appropriate practices in the cultural, social, and individual contexts and my applicable suggestions to encourage these developmental domains such as the physical and the emotional statues of children that help fulfill their learning ability and thinking in a realistic educational setting.
POLITCO-ECONOMIC AND DEVELOPMENTAL DOMAINS
Children become politically inclined to contribute to their politico-economic activities of their nations and people once they have attained some levels of education to manhood or womanhood. This has to do with developing their cognitive domain intellectually to enable them think and analyze controversial issues of national concerns which are detrimental to the nation and its people. How do the children of today be prepared to take charge of their country when the elders are gone? They must be trained intellectually and politically through the development of curriculum which enhances learning activities. The activities created to enhance learning positively affect the cognitive and behavior changes that result form experiences according to the theory of learning highlighted in the Early Childhood Today, eleventh edition.1 Intellectualism is the acquisition of knowledge and basic skills acquired through education or training which leads to productive citizenry making the national youths of countries to contribute to their national development intellectually. Nations need intellectuals to think into controversies thereby bringing resolutions to these concerns in question. While we need intellectuals to think and to solve complex problems, we also need people to be trained in the areas of political science when it comes to governmental affairs of the country. There is a need to develop children in the early years of learning. This can be developed by involving children in active learning with developmentally appropriate practices according to Montessori.2 The promotion of patriotism, law and order, creation of consensus, and socialization of individual youths are paramount to the development of the political system in a national government. This is called politics. The allegiance to show patriotism through the defense of the country against dissidents brings about social order thereby establishing peaceful co-existence among societal members, political subdivisions, and the nations. The knowledge obtained through education which propels one to stand for one’s country under a condition that is anarchical as the result of violence movement helps to create law and order through the defense of one’s country. The creation of consensus among political groups and bi-partism is important to national development and individual socialization thereby helping the nation to stand for what it believes. Despite the political, there is the need for the economy of a country to be strong through education. One of the most important purposes is the preparation of a workforce that provides the framework for a viable economic system. The development of labor force through education is vital to economic development. The youths of today are the youths who become leaders to further national development; as such, the youths need education to run the country and other institutions such as the families, schools, and childcare programs. According to Erikson (1902-1994), children’s personalities and social skills grow and develop within the context of society. and response to demands, expectations, values, and social institutions including families.3 Socialization of children enables them to manage conflicts in the educational settings and at home. The socialization of the young children in the norms and values of Society through formal and informal education is also vital to the social development of children. Through socialization, children get to know one another; as such, associations are created to further norms and values of institutions within a particular social segments and belief systems. Such institutions include Day Care Centers, Child Care by Relatives and Friends, Family Child Care, Intergenerational Child Care, Employer-Sponsor Child Care, Military Child Care, Before-and After-School Care, and Proprietary Child Care. These institutions are created to further social interactions among children in the early years of learning thereby enabling them to develop their intelligences and languages as well. According to Vygotsky, children mental, language, and social development is supported by and enhanced through social interaction.4
CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH STUDENTS LEARN BEST
According to Abraham Maslow’s Theory of Self-Actualization, human basic needs must be satisfied before higher-lever needs can be satisfied. These basic needs include food, security, shelter, love and belongings, and water. These needs are significant to facilitate student’s learning. Abraham Maslow (1890-1970) developed this theory of motivation called self-actualization based on the satisfaction of human needs.5 I believe children learn best under the following conditions discussed by Abraham Maslow. The conditions are met to create a safe environment under favorable learning atmosphere. One of the ways children learn best under a good atmosphere is to provide them with the basic needs like food. Children can not learn best under a condition of being hungry. Children must be fed during school time to enable them think better to work Mathematical problems. The second condition children learn best is that they should be provided with security. Children should be discouraged to tease their colleagues during class period. Teasing one another can disrupt the learning environment; as such, it should be discouraged by teachers. This can be done by setting rules or regulations that govern the class-room and its inhabitants. The third way students learn best is to create activities to get them involved during the class period. Schedule should be drawn daily on assignments. Every student should be given the schedule regarding the activities during the day in class. For example, the time for free play, quizzes, test, leisure time, reading, and writing should be drawn with time specified to the knowledge of the student in class. The fourth condition which children learn best is to create security and safety for them. The children should be monitored in an enclosed fence taking into consideration criminals, sickness, or diseases. If a child is sick in the class, the parent should be called to pick up the child. This is done to protect other children from contacting the disease especially in the case of a contagious disease. There should be installation of a security system to detect the entrance of a criminal into the site. This includes security guard and security machine system. In the learning environment, there should be developmentally appropriate activities which contribute to the children’s social, emotional, intellectual, and physical development. Children’s involvement in the social affairs helps them to develop their social domain. Students should be involved in group discussions which also help them to socialize and consequently develop their intellectual ability to think and analyze issues of concern in various subjects like History, Science, and Mathematics etc. The creation of small group discussion and social club brings acquaintances among students. Indoor and outdoor plays socialize students with one another. According to Erik Erikson, children’s personalities and social skills grow and develop within the context of society and in response to its demands, expectations, values, and social institutions6. The more children interact with adults and peers, the more they develop their personalities to get along with other people.
DEVELOPMENTAL DOMAINS: EMOTIONAL, INTELLECTUAL AND PHYSICAL
Teacher need to show concern and love to students in the class. The exhibit of love and concern by teacher among students create a good learning environment for students to catch up with the lesson being taught. The issues of counseling students who are falling behind and giving them educational support services are paramount to children’s emotional and educational needs. The introduction of teen time quizzes on subject matters will help children develop intellectual ability to think and analyze issue regarding course offered to them. It removes anxiety in the period of testing to know if material presented during instructional period was understood. For example, posting questions in class to students on materials taught to them prior the question reawaken them to think better for the coming tests or quizzes. Children need physical education on the daily basis to enable them develops their biological mechanism. The introduction of running race, jumping down and up, jumping by scale factor, and slide and swing are all physical exercises a teacher can incorporate to develop the children physically.
CHARACTERISTICS OF PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENTS THAT SUPPORT LEARNING:
Lighting can affect people’s moods and behavior. It has been used as an instrument to torture people in order to deprive them from sleep or learning. Too much bright light to students’ face can affect their ability to learn. Children need lighting for conducive learning environment. Lighting is used in retail and social spaces to influence our emotions and behavior. A good lighting environment is needed for a conducive learning environment. In our homes we use different types of lighting for different purposes such as, fluorescent tubes in the garage, task lighting in the kitchen and mood lighting in lounges and bedrooms. The general principle is to make the most of the natural light available in a learning environment.
There should be temperature appropriate for a learning environment. Too much cold affects children’s ability to coop with the environment of learning and too much heat disable the brain to function intellectually; therefore, action should be taken appropriately to affect the learning environment positively. Libraries are often hot, stuffy places to work where it is difficult to change the temperature however there is also much research evidence of the impact of heat on behavior and learning: Heat stress lowers scores on both the intellectual tasks of reasoning, thinking and decision making; and on the physical tasks involving problem with accuracy and speed. There is much research evidence of the brain functioning better at lower temperatures rather than when overheated. A comfortable temperature varies between ages, peers, genders, teachers, and students. This is controlled or influenced by the moods and clothing of children in the learning environment. The ideal temperature for a class room to have for learning should be an optimum temperature of 20-22 degree Celsius.
Sound can also affect the learning environment positively or negatively depending on the learning styles of children. Some children learn moderately in noise while some learn in a quiet place. Some are affected by external rudeness as the result, their learning is hindered. Some learners prefer total silence or minimum sound because sound acts as a distraction to their effective learning. Some learners benefit from music as background noise. This will be influenced by cultural and social backgrounds and experiences, individual learning styles and intelligence. Some research evidence shows that music activates the whole brain, making us feel more energetic, responsive and ready to learn. Music raises performance levels and masks other, disruptive sounds. Learners may claim to prefer music and noise because it is a distraction and prevents them from having to face up to the fact that they are not learning effectively. It is important that learners realize the extent to which sound is a distraction or an aid to learning. Educators need to provide alternative spaces to suit different learners or as the learning topic or situation merits. Libraries usually provide alternatives such as silent study areas and controlled speech zones where there is already noise from human traffic and service provision. Sound levels need to be managed in learning environments to suit the purpose of the session.
PHYSICAL SPACE AND LAYOUT OF THE ROOM
How the physical space of the learning environment is used can be an important influence on a learning event. Most of us will have had an experience where we were expected to concentrate and take notes in a lesson held in an unsuitable environment: perched on high stools in a science laboratory or trying to take notes in a computer laboratory with very little space to write between each machine. The physical space needs to be used effectively for the purpose of the session so it is always worth booking the most suitable rooms well ahead of an IL session to ensure the best available space. Size of the room is important; too much space can cause embarrassment in some sessions as front rows are left empty while students cluster on seats at the back of the room. Overcrowding of the space can trigger behavior problems as individuals try to claim the amount of space they expect to have available. The entrance into the room needs to be arranged to enable students to enter quickly and find a seat or workspace with the minimum of disruption to other students.
| ENVIRONMENTAL TEMPERATURE |
Children need an environment that is good for nurturing in order to develop well thereby enabling him or her learn effectively. However, children are not born blank states, on which the environment alone creates an imprint. Children are born with a temperament that is, whether they are calm or irritable, whether they are easily settled or fussy. There are also factors that influence such thing as a child’s capacity to learn the social use of language, to play, to regulate his or her emotions, and to interact with adults and peers. What is crucial is the interaction between the child’s inborn strengths and weaknesses and how the parents or caregivers respond to their infant’s needs. If a baby is temperamentally “difficult” then the mother (or guardian) can learn how to interact in ways that will limit the baby’s distress and promote strong affection bonds between them. If the child is at risk for developing language problems, then those responsible for his or her care can modify the way they interact with the baby, providing an environment of enriched language that is also accepting and not harshly critical.
DEVELOPMENTAL : PHYSICAL WELL-BEING
For physical well-being children need: Food security – families need sufficient money to buy nutritious food that is available on a daily basis. Secure shelter – as a bare minimum, housing should provide protection from weather conditions, have working plumbing, lighting and heating, have no safety or health hazards, and be affordable without undue strain on family income. Good health behaviors – children should be able to get adequate sleep and exercise, receive up-to-date immunizations, and have access to medical care, including preventive care.
DEVELOPMENTAL: EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING
For development of good mental health, children need: Love, praise, and positive regard from trusted family members and other adults. Children thrive on affection and loving attention, praise, and encouragement. To have boundaries set on their behavior and to be monitored and supervised when at play or at leisure. Acceptance for who they are at home, school, and in the community. Love and positive regard should not be conditional on their parents’, teachers’ or sports coaches’ wants and needs. Children have a range of skills. They need to be challenged in order to grow but they don’t need to be criticized because they aren’t consistently good at everything they try. Encouragement and support to succeed at school and to develop their skills and talents. Children should be given the opportunity to explore the arts, be exposed to a wide variety of educational and cultural activities, and learn manual skills, so that they can find their gifts. The environment must change in order to accommodate the range of skills, abilities, difficulties and impairments that children demonstrate all through their development. A safe neighborhood in which to live and play. Neighborhoods have a lot of influence on whether or not children thrive. In neighborhoods where populations are transient, where there is high unemployment, high numbers of poor families led by single mothers, language and social skills are poor and academic achievement is low, there are more school dropouts and more crime. Loving guidance and discipline. Children who are given boundaries, which are treated fairly, and given good guidance about their behavior, generally develop good self regard and are more likely to be respectful of others. On the other hand, children who are treated harshly and frequently criticized tend to develop behavior, mood or relationship problems that can persist into and throughout adult life.
LEARNING ABILITY AND THINKING
How a person perceives, thinks, and gains an understanding of his or her world is termed “cognitive development”. It refers to our ability to think and learn and includes such things as awareness and judgment, information processing, intelligence, language development, and memory. To help children’s cognitive development, they need: encouragement of exploration mentoring in basic skills celebration of developmental advances guided rehearsal and extension of new skills protection from inappropriate disapproval, teasing or punishment, and a rich and responsive language environment.
The four ways to meet the basic needs identified will include the following approaches: Since children have different temperaments and respond to environment differently, I will have to study each child temperament as it relates to the leaning environment and place him or her accordingly. Children may feel irritable when the environment is warm while some may feel irritable or fussy when the place is cool. It varies with children; as a result, I will study each child dislike and like to enable me identify the circumstances prevailing at the time to serve such child in the learning environment. With respect to physical well-being, I will provide nutritious food, secured shelter, and good health behavior for children in the learning environment. Children should be fed with food which contains balance diet on the schedule time. A secured shelter exhibiting good air and refreshing aroma should be provided and good environmental sanitation should be practiced. With respect to emotional well-being, love, praise, and encouragement will be given to children while I also provide a safe environment for children play and care guidance and discipline as to serve as parent substitute while parents are away from the children. With respect to thinking and learning ability, I will set goals weekly while developing learning objectives for children through encouragement of exploration, mentoring in basic skills cognitively and practically, celebration of developmental advances, guided rehearsal and extension of new skills, protection from inappropriate disapproval, teasing or punishment, and a rich and responsive language environment. Qualities that a teacher should exhibit in the learning environment to enable him or her meet the educational goal will include the following: A teacher should exhibit leadership ability to enable him or her control the class room environment. Lacking leadership as a teacher throws the class-room environment into chaos; therefore, it is paramount that a teacher exhibits leadership ability to enable him or her run a structured and well organized class-room environment for a conducive learning atmosphere. A teacher should be a man or woman of integrity. The teacher should know a boundary between him or her and the students he or she teaches. A teacher should not approach students regarding love affairs or accepting bribery for grade replacement. These things are common in the African settings. A teacher should have lesson plan before coming to class to teach. Not having lesson plan as a teacher appears unprofessional. The lesson plan guides the teacher what to teach. A teacher should learn to care for the students he or she teaches. Caring means be concern if students are learning the materials taught. The yardstick to measure their learning ability is to evaluate them through testing. In conclusion, the development of developmental domains, physical environments that support learning and those conditions under which learning take place form my philosophy education.
1George S. Morrison, Early Childhood Education Today, Eleventh Ed (New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.,), 2009, 113.