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What Type Of Teacher Are You?
If you are a progressive educator, you have a belief that the place to begin teaching is with the student rather than the subject matter. Progressive educators believe that students should learn problem solving skills which will ultimately make them a better contributor to society.
If you are a perennialist educator, you strongly believe that education comes from study the truth. Perennialists hold fast to the terms, definitions and explanations of subjects covered in the textbooks. They do not see the need in creative activities to imitate real-life scenarios.
If you are an essentialist educator, you believe that young children should be taught only the essentials, such as "reading, writing and arithmetic". All other extra curricular subjects should not be explored by elementary, but saved for the high school years.
Contrary to the philosophies of perennialists and essentialists, a romanticism type of educator believes that the child should "do their own thing". Regulations within certain preschool programs practice this style because it allows children to be creative as well as individual.
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Styles in Action
When a home is decorated in an eclectic style, items in the home are mis-matched in style, but come together smoothly because of color or function. Eclectic homes, to some, seem like a messy hodge-podge of whatever the homeowner likes. To the homeowner, the eclectic home is a masterpiece of art in which they feel very comfortable in. Being eclectic is the easiest way to teach, but the hardest approach to streamline so that it does not appear to be “lazy” or "chaotic".
An eclectic classroom is no different than a home. An eclectic and creative teacher will be open minded about different styles of learning that will appeal to the target audience. In a fourth grade lesson about presidential elections, instead of reading the life and times of either Lincoln or Washington and the possibility of watching an educational video about the White House, an eclectic teacher would use the progressive approach by assigning students to a mock presidential election. Some student would be assigned to be candidates, some would be reporters and some would be voters.
The use of the romanticism teaching style would come into place while student “candidates” would be assigned to research topics of interest to them and find creative ways to present them to their classmates. Meanwhile, those who have been assigned to ask questions, must research topics and issues that are important to them.
While searching for a class activity to do for the study of presidential elections, an essentialist approach would be to teach the student to recognize the crucial elements of a presidential election.
In a perennialist fashion, the students will use textbooks to study for tests and possibly find information for a report. Textbooks should still be a vital part of the classroom instruction, but doing hands-on projects, such as this, gets the students involved in what they are learning and gets their creativity flowing.
Who knows, this mock presidential election just might pique the interest of a future U.S. President.