My belief about learning is that everyone has the ability to learn and to be a lifelong learner. Being with students that are in the special education program or are struggling learners, for most of my day, I believe and try to instill this belief in individual that I encounter. A lot of my students are discouraged by the time they get to me, at the high school level. These students have been told that they are not on the same level as their peers, academically, all of their lives. This can get increasingly discouraging and can lead to low self-esteem. I feel it is my job, as a teacher, to help them believe that they can learn. I feel it is my job to change their point of view about learning and their capabilities. By instilling this belief in myself and my students, it encourages the learning process and the need to learn, in turn developing the role of a lifelong learner.
I think that the relationship between teaching and learning, is one of the past and future education or the revolution of education so to speak. “Teaching, or to teach, is to impart knowledge or skill to someone by instruction or example.” (Harapnuik, 2009) Teaching seems to be a thing of the past and not as necessary in the classroom. With all the advances of technology, students are able to learn the same information by exploring education resources the way they would get the information from a teacher lecturing. In addition to being able to find this information, they have continuous access to it whenever and wherever. Individuals are also continuing deeper learning by conversing with others about what they are learning. The new role in the classroom is to be a learning facilitator. “A learning facilitator is one who creates an environment in which someone can come to know something, acquire knowledge, or to gain information and experience.” (Harapnuik, 2009) By taking on this role, it gives the students a more active role and allows them to take ownership of their learning. Learning is more meaningful and in turn students will be more willing to continue this process throughout their lives. Douglas Thomas stated that “our roles need to change”. ( Douglas, 2012) To be effective in the classroom educators, must shift from teachers to learning facilitators.
I love to learn and would consider myself to be a lifelong learner. Whether I’m trying to learn about ways to improve my classes or how to fix or put together things in my house, I really enjoy learning. Going through the entire learning process is really satisfying. I have always been strong minded and have been intrinsically motivated, so getting through each personal milestone really pushes me to continue to improve. Just like my students, if I see the relevancy of information, it makes learning easy. I’m able to learn in a variety of environments and with a variety of instruction deliveries. Although I am able to learn in different ways, I believe that I learn best when I’m able to talk about it and discuss. When I’m lectured, I tend to drift off, if not fully engaged. Once I was able to figure out what worked for me, it really made the learning process enjoyable.
My learning and teaching philosophies are related and complete the learning process. I like to incorporate both my learning philosophy and theory into the classroom. I identify with the constructivist learning theory. “The more we have a coherent theory of learning, and the easier it is to make good decisions about how to teach.” (Weimer,2014) Although learning and teaching theories are related and complete a process I believe they are different. The learning theory is the product, the end result or goal. The teaching theory is the action that helps meet the goal. The world is changing and I want to make sure that my students are keeping current with this change, to be successful in the future and learn to be lifelong learners.
After researching the different learning theories, I identify as a constructivist. Constructivism is defined as:
Constructivism as a paradigm or worldview posits that learning is an active, constructive process. The learner is an information constructor. People actively construct or create their own subjective representations of objective reality. New information is linked to prior knowledge, thus mental representations are subjective. (Learning Theories, n.d.)
I believe that I identify with this learning theory because the best way an individual learns is when they have an active role in the learning process. To have an active role, students are able to: explore or discover the information they are learning about and discuss with other individuals. I really benefit from discussing information that I’m learning about. When I’m able to discuss I might learn about a different way information was interpreted or expand my thoughts. The constructivist theorist that I identify with would be John Dewey and Jerome Bruner. John Dewey believed in having “learners to engage directly with their environment”. (Wheeler, 2016) By encouraging students to using the technology to explore and interacting with others, they are able to learn and see others’ point of view. John Dewey also stated that, “teachers should not be in the classroom to act simply as instructors, but should adopt the role of facilitator and guide.”(Wheeler, 2016) By allowing students to take an active role in their education, it’s more meaningful to them are willing to learn. I identified with Jerome Burner about his belief of spiral curriculum. He stated, “Curriculum should be organized in a spiral manner so that the student continually builds upon what they have already learned.” (Instructional Design, n.d.) I really think that this style of curriculum helps to show the relevancy of the material being learns. It also allows the individual to see their learning process.
In my innovation plan, to implement e-Portfolios throughout my high school, my learning philosophy and learn theory is clearly represented. Through the use of e-portfolios, students are active in their learning. Students have the ability to guide their learning. They are able to reflect and communicate with others about their learning, to continue to grow. Students have access to learning whenever and wherever. They are able to demonstrate learning and understanding, in their own way. During this process, the teacher’s job is to be the “learning facilitator” and the student is guiding or driving their instruction. It is my goal that by partaking in the e-Portfolio initiative, the students are able to believe that they have the ability to learn and become lifelong learners.
Constructivism. (2016, September 08). Retrieved from https://www.learning-theories.com/constructivism.html
This source explained constructivism, key concepts and main theorists.
Harapnuik, D. (2009, September 8). Learning philosophy. Retrieved from http://www.harapnuik.org/?page_id=95
This is a post from Dr. Harapnuik speaking about learning philosophies. He defined teachers and learning facilitators. Dr. Harapnuik also offers insight to which role would help improve learning in the classroom.
(n.d.). Constructivist theory (Jerome Bruner). Retrieved from http://www.instructionaldesign.org/theories/constructivist/
This is a website that discussed Jerome Bruner’s belief in constructivism. It goes into detail about his theory, application of this learning theory, examples, and his principals relating to the constructivist theory.
Thomas, D. (2012). A new culture of learning. (TEDxUFM) [Video]. htps://youtu.be/lM80GXlyX0U
This was a Ted Talk given by Douglas Thomas. He spoke about the new culture of learning and obstacles that teachers need to overcome. He warns teachers about education being normalized. Thomas spoke addressed the new students’ needs and trying to adapt the teaching to prepare student for the future.
Weimer, M. (2014, March 26). What’s your learning philosophy? Retrieved from Faculty focus website: http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-professor-blog/whats-learning-philosophy/
This was a post that helps with thinking about learning theories. It also thinking learning to teaching theories and how they may be related.
Wheeler, S. (2016, January 23). The pedagogy of John Dewey: A Summary. Retrieved from https://www.teachthought.com/learning/pedagogy-john-dewey-summary/
This was an article about John Dewey and his beliefs about the constructist theory. It explained the theory and how it could be applied in the classroom