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Kenya Harris's Professional Thoughts

An Arkansan, who dreams of infinite possibilities.

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Teaching Philosophy: Growth and Innovation- In Everyday Life (Kenya D. Harris)

growth-and-innovationTeaching Philosophy: Growth and Innovation- In Everyday Life (by Kenya D. Harris)

My transition from having a business background and working in a hopeless corporate environment is what motivated me to want to transition into teaching.  I cannot make a difference if I continue to work in a corporate environment. I have never attended a traditional college but having a plethora of knowledge on life experiences, culture, and business. My interest in teaching comes from dealing with my nieces and nephews, also dealing with people, in general. My nieces and nephews all struggle in social environments, where they have to conform. We all struggle with this; however, while they are in my space or setting, I teach them to be themselves and to be comfortable in their skin. I also teach them to think outside the box and to continue to educate themselves. While at work or meditating, I always think of quirky ways to make a bad situation better. I am always thinking of new ways to make it better. When you are in a complacent and low-skilled environment or low-level type of thinking, you have to find a way. That way is through growth and innovation. I want kids to know that there’s more to life than what you see. There is more to life than social norms. While I chose to become a member of a traditional college, where attention to teaching is rigorous, and it is a top priority, my interest in education is from my own positive outlook in life. You have to have growth and innovation and while teaching, and a hopeful, positive mindset.  My belief stems from environmental issues that connect to a sense of responsibility, to educate others, who have not yet reached their full potential. It also stems from information sharing to others that you have to continually reinvent yourself, and surround yourself with people, who will unify and uplift. You also want to surround yourself with people, who will motivate you to do better and to be more. Three theorist philosophies influenced my very own philosophy. They are Antonio Gramsci, Maya Angelou, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Antonio Gramsci is an Italian theorist, who believed hegemony exists. He was imprisoned for 20 years for using his mind. While in prison, he wrote the Prison Notebooks.  The Prison Notebooks are intellectual pieces on politics and other social coercion, on how the dominate groups maintain power. According to Gramsci (1929-1935), “Creativity; therefore, should be understood in the “relative” sense, as thought, which modifies a way of feeling of reality itself, which cannot be thought by many. Creative also in the sense that it teaches that reality does not exist on its own, in and of itself, but only in a historical relationship with the people who modify it, etc.”

Gramsci’s philosophy on praxis and philosophy states intellectuals, act as elaborators of the most popular ideologies of the dominant classes. The other classes struggle again ideologies, that are kept alive (Gramsci, 1929-1935). Gramsci’s theory on ideas from the dominant culture played an intricate role in determining modern philosophy. I want scholars to be able to think for themselves and not the beliefs of the dominant groups.

Maya Angelou is a world-renowned teacher, scholar born in St. Louis, raised in Stamps, Arkansas. She has written a slew of books and liberating quotes of inspiration. According to “Caged Bird Legacy” (2016), “My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy. That some people, unable to go to school, were more educated and more intelligent than college professors. “When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young.  The benefits of reading go beyond what knowledge you gain from the ink on the pages, but the wisdom you can receive from the process; start and keep reading.” What inspires me about Dr. Angelou is that reading matters. You are free to read. You do not have to tolerate ignorance. In her book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, is more of a social approach about social injustices in categories; that reproduces boundaries and limitations.  Maya Angelou’s story correlates to the coercion of childhood experiences matter and outweighs any adult experience. You are not your past; however, your childhood experiences mold the adult skills.

Dr. Martin Luther King was a Civil Rights Activist.  Dr. Martin Luther King’s philosophy on education states “Education must also train one for quick, resolute and efficient thinking. To think incisively and to think for one’s self is tough. We are prone to let our mental life become invaded by legions of half-truths, prejudices, and propaganda. At this point, I often wonder whether or not education is fulfilling its purpose” (King, 1947). Dr. King exemplifies that the function of education is to think critically.

In considering, sharing my love for education, and growth and innovation strategies differ, and they may not match with a scholar needs. My philosophy may or may not meet the expectations of scholars. Also, a scholar’s knowledge base may stem from their environment and culture. Scholars bring various levels of interest and motivation. My challenge is to create an environment to foster and engage scholars in growing and innovating by integrating traditional and transformational tools and resources.  It is my duty as a teacher to lecture and apply application from the classroom to the community.

 

 

References

Caged Bird Legacy. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.mayaangelou.com/

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.drmartinlutherkingjr.com/thepurposeofeducation.htm

Gramsci (2016). https://ec.europa.eu/epale/sites/epale/files/gramsci_and_ed

Gramsci, A. (1929-1935). Prison Notebooks. International Gramsci Society.

 

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