Determining Your Educational Philosophy Part I: Philosophy of the Learning Process
In this article various philosophies will be examined in an effort to assist with developing an educational philosophy. As an Educator it is essential to possess a philosophy which will be applied in the classroom.
Educational philosophies are as unique as each individual educator, although each philosophy shares common components: a philosophy of the learning process, a philosophy of students, a philosophy concerning knowledge, and a philosophy of essential skills and information. Examining each of these components will help you form your educational philosophy. This articles highlights the philosophy of the learning process.
Simply stated, a philosophy of the learning process is what you believe your primary role is as an educator. Transmission and construction are two major types of learning-process philosophies. Individuals very rarely completely adhere to one or the other of these learning-process philosophies but tend to have a mixture of both elements.
The process of learning by transmission involves learning that occurs from an external source. Learning by transmission typically occurs in a structured environment with a specific curriculum and text in place. The entire class will work on the same assignment and be expected to produce the same result. For example, a math teacher who believes in learning by transmission may teach fractions by lecturing and asking the students to take notes, working a few sample problems on the overhead projector, giving them a worksheet to complete as guided practice, and assigning a homework assignment for independent practice, followed by a test a few days later. Learning by transmission requires a coherent effort from both the students and the teacher, with the teacher in the lead during the lesson. Heavy reliance is placed on obedience and adherence to structure and regulations. Free flowing discussions are discouraged. The teacher views himself or herself primarily as an instructor.
The process of learning by construction allows the student to be self-directed and learn from experiences, or from an internal source. The process of construction allows the teacher to be a facilitator as the students discover the concepts themselves. The role of a facilitator allows students to participate actively in the lesson, engaging with the teacher and asking questions. While the content is important, the focus is on allowing the students to fashion their own individual approach to learning.
There is much less strictness surrounding time limits, formal learning structures, and movement within the classroom.
A math teacher who believes in learning by construction may teach fractions to the class by slicing an actual pizza in the classroom. After demonstrating the concept of fractions, the teacher may have centers set up throughout the room. One center may provide additional role-play materials, such as more pizza, cake, and other edible items that need to be sliced into fractions. At another center, a computer station may be set up with a game about fractions on it. A third center may have a matching game, where a student matches the card with the fraction on it with a picture of that fraction. And finally, a fourth center may have scissors, paper, and glue, and students may cut the sheet of paper into different fraction representations.
The philosophy of the learning process can be seen as a foundational block for establishing your educational philosophy. Knowing and understanding your role as an educator is important for your development and success in the classroom.