My Learning Philosophy
Throughout my life, there have been many rich learning opportunities for me. From trips to my grandparent’s farm or a museum or traveling across the country, I count myself very blessed. Earlier this year, I incorporated many ideas and opinions that I had come to count on as a learner (by being a teacher for eighteen years) in my Learning Manifesto.
• Letting creativity happen
• Authentic Experiences
• Normal is not always necessary
• Mapping out goals
• Digital Learning
• Living with fun
I tend to look up many words, so I decided to compare the definitions of manifesto and philosophy. I looked back to my notes from July, and for the Learning Manifesto, we were to write what we believe about learning. Learning Philosophy is not just, what I think about education, but where I fit into learning and what is the theories behind that learning. I know that I will have the same concepts from Learning Manifesto. However, through lots of thought and reading, I have become to figure out what my Learning Philosophy has become these last couple of years.
When I was one and two years old, I had ear infections. This made my talking delayed compared to other children. In fact, my younger brother would finish my sentences! My mother found a hearing and speech school where I got speech therapy and the primary school concepts for a four and five-year-old. It came to my mom’s attention that I also had a learning disability in reading comprehension and vocabulary. The doctor diagnosed me with Attention Deficit Disorder, which is passed down from my mom’s side. The next school that I attended was Starpoint, a school for learning disabilities. These teachers pushed us to fulfill our potential and looked at students as a whole who could grow and develop over a lifespan. David (2015) defines the humanism theory like this. We were able to get special attention from the teacher because there were about 10 students to each classroom. While I am a very detailed person, I do not remember all the details of this time in school. I was taught handwriting (not print) in first grade, and I knew all of my multiplication tables in second grade. I was so excited to know these facts and my mom taught me long division during spring break. I believe these teachers used the strengths in me to help me with my weaknesses. They saw that I loved math and they used those details to get me to want to find out more in the other subjects. In second grade, I decided to become a teacher. My parents brought me places (like Washington, D.C. or Vicksburg) in which I could experience authentic learning. For middle and high school, they sent me magnet schools to build up my academic skills.
For my first two years at Texas Tech University, I was an accounting major. I thought, “I like math, so accounting must be a good career for me.” Well, this was not my passion, and my grades showed that I was not for the business world. I changed my major to education and the rest is “history.” To be honest, I was trying to be someone who some people thought I should be and not actually being myself. There were some people (not my parents) who told me that being a teacher was just too hard.
Sixth-grade math and science was my first teaching job. It was a hard year, I saw that I did have potential as a teacher. I left that school. I started as a second-grade teacher in the same district that I still am a teacher. The second year that I was at this school, they leveled the students and put all the low kids in two of the classes (including mine.) I started assuming that the students were a clean slate and I need to teach all the facts and concepts that I could do in one year like mentioned in Davis’ (2007) critical ideas of behaviorism.
I could have still been in this road of behaviorism (or at least have these thoughts,) but two significant events happened to me. My mom died of an aneurysm and then four months later, we found out that my dad had a brain tumor. He ended up dying after two weeks. That year was very hard, and I decided to take a year from full-time teaching and just substitute. The one year lasted four years, but in those years I obtained experiences teaching other grade levels, and I found my joy again in teaching.
As a new PreKindergarten teacher, I was able to let the students “learn by doing.” Little did I know (until now,) I was starting to construct my constructivism thinking. Bruner (1960) in The Process of Education outlines the constructivist theory as (1) the importance of structure, (2) the readiness of learning, (3) the spiral organization of material, and (4) the motives for learning. All these concepts were in place in my mind, but it was this year that “all the ducks got in the row.”
This year, I have incorporated rotations in my classroom. This includes a small group time in which I differentiate their math lesson on their readiness of the concept taught. This has allowed me to actively talk with the students and encourage students to discover principles by themselves (Culatta & Kearsley, 2018.) This math curriculum has a spiral organization, and I hope that this will give the students opportunities to “catch” as I work with them during the year. The best part is the rotation of ‘creating.' This allows the student to want to create instead of just wanting prizes for doing their work. This has brought me to my innovation project, Makerspace. I believe that students will want to start to learn even more with an environment that has an even more discovery learning opportunity.
Bruner, J. (1960.) The Process of education. Harvard University Press; Retrived from http://edci770.pbworks.com/w/file/fetch/45494576/Bruner_Processes_of_Education.pdf
One of Bruner’s first work that was originated from a conference that focused on science and math learning.
Culatta, R. & Kearsley, G. Last Updated November 30th, 2018 06:58 pm. (n.d.). Constructivist Theory (Jerome Bruner). Retrieved from http://www.instructionaldesign.org/theories/constructivist/
The authors gives an overview of the constructivist theory from Jerome Bruner standpoint.
David, L, "Humanism," in Learning Theories, June 12, 2015, https://www.learning-theories.com/humanism.html.
The author writes about the general definition of humanism and also mentions the contributors.
David, L, "Behaviorism," in Learning Theories, January 31, 2007, https://www.learning-theories.com/behaviorism.html.
The author writes about the general definition of behaviorism and also mentions the contributors.