2 June, 2017
What’s your Philosophy of Learning?
Learning is dynamic, continuous and a lifelong process. It is driven by curiosity and joy of discovery.
As an educator, I believe that all children are entitled to an education that will enable them to develop their full potential, be that intellectual, physical, aesthetic, creative, emotional, spiritual, or social, finding appropriate challenges in our learning environment. They should be offered a multitude of experiences, and are stretched and challenged in many different areas to help them to become rounded 21st-century citizens.
21st-century learning must be self-directed, interdependent, communal, fostered with creativity, entrepreneurialism, and lifelong curiosity.
I would like to break away from the norm of traditional teaching where the teacher keeps control of the subject matter, make decisions about what work is needed and orchestrates what the students do. In this classroom, the teacher does the most of the talking and the student’s role is to listen and take notes. This transmission view of the role of the teacher is widespread in many cultures and represent the predominant mode of education.
One of my goals as an educator is to promote lifelong learning. I believe, employing constructivist methods of teaching in my classroom will encourage students to take an active role in their education by making choices and assuming responsibility for intelligent inquiry and discovery. “If parents want to give their children a gift, the best thing they can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy the effort, and keep on learning. That way, their children don’t have to be slaves of praise. They will have a lifelong way to build and repair their own confidence.” (Dweck, C. S. 2006). When young people are intrinsically motivated to try and to expend the necessary effort—and when that effort is rewarded with meaningful success—they are no longer on a path toward self-doubt and low expectations. Instead, they experience continuous, positive self-assessment; a process that leads to lifelong learning and growth.
I would like to move students from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset so they believe that their talents, abilities, and intelligence can grow over time through continuous learning. My belief in growth mindset reaffirms that failure can be the doorway to great accidental inventions. We must give our children and students room to fail. The fear of failure cripples a student’s ability to risk new endeavors and try something new. I will give them lots of space to mess up and make mistakes. It’s our responsibility as parents and educators to show our children that failure is not fatal. According to Carol Dweck, growth mindset thrives on challenge and sees failure not as evidence of unintelligence but as a heartening springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities. (Dweck, C. S. 2006).
I also want to promote self-directed learning. This is the opposite of compliant response to teacher-centered environments. Cultivating curiosity and independence in children are the first steps to helping children become self-directed learners. Self-directed learners know how to use resources to find answers to questions or to learn skills to solve problems. Self-directed learners do not need micro-managing from an adult to help them complete tasks or projects; they take their learning into their own hands, pushing themselves to learn more and do better. Therefore, I would take my lead from the students seeing myself as someone whose job is to create an optimal learning environment. I will be the guide, facilitator, mentor, coach or a counselor or a resource of information when needed. When the class is working well under its own steam, autonomous learning is going on, and the teacher should be hardly visible. Self-directed learners “take ownership” of their learning.
In young children, the play is a big part of self-directed learning. In the play, learners freely experiment, show ambition, follow curiosity, and take risks to create, design, evolve, and connect in ways that are otherwise impossible under compulsion. I want to promote play in the classrooms for the academic response, project-based learning, game-based learning, and other “school-like” learning forms while students hold themselves and one another accountable to their own criteria of quality.
In conclusion, I would like to be a teacher who can bring the best in the students by fostering growth mindset and self-directed learning. This can lay the foundation for life-long learning. I would emphasize on building rapport and trust in my relationships with other human beings, including students, parents, and colleagues. It is the educator’s attitude and intentions that help the learners thrive to bring the best in them. I believe that education should foster a love for learning, feed the learners curiosity and understanding of the world, cultures, and people around them.