Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Educational philosophy and the role of the Teacher

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It was agreed that Trinity's educational philosophy must be grounded in the humanist

tradition of learning, be inclusive and embrace the European dimension that

emphasizes social cohesion and social inclusion. This educational philosophy is

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based on a common set of fundamental values. These values encompass a shared

understanding of the nature of the individual and society. Within the university, the

individual is accepted as being intrinsically well-motivated and willing to embrace the

group-interest, as opposed to being driven by the more selfish-interest of competitive

individualism. In the university setting, this involves a commitment to disinterested

inquiry, as opposed to the interested inquiry of the market model 'corporate


Every student tends to be provided with the same learning experiences focused around an white Anglo-Saxon curriculum. This cookie-cutter approach to learning works for a few students, but many do not learn, or learn only partially. Our classes are already too large to provide individualized learning. Domination of Lecture and Textbook The major learning modes in schools and universities are the lecture and textbook. Lectures date at least since classical Greece, ,500 years ago; textbooks come from a more recent technological development, the printing press

Students need to be able to learn how to become effective problem solvers. They should be able to identify problems, evaluate those problems and then decipher a way to transfer their learning to those problems in a way that will bring about a solution. If a student is able to perform in a problem solving situation a meaningful learning should then occur because he has constructed an interpretation of how things work using preexisting structured. This is the theory behind Constructivism. By creating a personal interpretation of external ideas and experiances, constructivism allows students the ability to understand how ideas can relate to each other and preexisting knowledge. A teacher must then recognize the importance of the cognative and social approaches for learning and teaching so that she may aid the students development in constructivist learning. Both approaches are valuable because one will emphasize the role of cognative processes and the other will emphasize culture and social interaction in the role of meaningful learning. One, however, may wonder how to go about enforcing these approaches. One method is through scaffolding, providing a student with sufficient information to be able to complete a task on his own or, to present a gradual decrease in the amount of help availible allowing the student the capacity to work independantly. Situated learning will present the student with a set of learning tasks placed in realistic contexts. This will include the abilities to use knowledge in a functioning learning approach and acquiring inert knowledge based on the learning of isolated facts in limited conditions. Lastly, students should, through the use of multiple perspectives, be able to view problems and ideas. These ideas presented will then be able to shed light on the nature of problem solving. There are three most common types of problems, the first being well-structured problems. Well-structured problems are ones clearly stated with known solution procedures and evaluation standards; an example being a mathamatical process. Another type of problem are those that are ill-structured; they are stated vaguely, have unclear solution procedures, and vague standards of evalalution. The third type, issue problems, are ill-structured problems that will arrouse srtong feelings in the students. The first step in helping students become adaquate problems solvers is assuring they realize that a problem does exist. Once a problem is identifiedm students should be expected to understand the nature of the problem. The next logical step would then be for those students to compile all relevant information to their problem allowing them to formulate and carry out a solution. Lastly, the students would then be required to evaluate their solutions working out the imperfections, clarifying the results. Problem solving is a very necessary abilty for a student which will, in a way, garuntee his future abilty to transfer knowledge. The student needs a firm base understanding of the problem solving concepts to induce a positive transfer of his later ideas. He should be able to recognize the need for different problem solving techniques and how to relate and separate theories in his knowledge. The teacher should be able to present the starting grounds to enable her students a method of producing the solutions to their problems. Bibliography Snowman, J., & Biehler, R. (000). Psychology Applied to Teaching (th edition) Boston, MA Houghton Miflin Company. Word Count 51

Philosophy of Education The term philosophy can be defined in many ways. I like to define philosophy to mean "truth." When evaluating my philosophy of education, my views are clear and concise. Education should be provided to everyone, free of charge, and free of discriminations. Education today is provided to everyone publicly at no expense. Although free, it does not come without distractions. For instance, public schooling has turned into more of a daycare type setting for teachers and students. With emphasis based on violence, and rightfully so, I feel the learning environment has deteriorated to an extreme extent. Administrators focus more on dress codes and violence prevention, than they do on test scores and how we compare to other countries. According to A Nation at Risk, the American education system has declined due to a rising tide of mediocrity in our schools. States such as New York have responded to the findings and recommendations of the report by implementing such strategies as the Regents Action Plan and the New Compact for Learning. In the early 180s, President Regan ordered a national commission to study our education system. The findings of this commission were that, compared with other industrialized nations, our education system is grossly inadequate in meeting the standards of education that many other countries have developed. At one time, America was the world leader in technology, service, and industry, but overconfidence based on a historical belief in our superiority has caused our nation to fall behind the rapidly growing competitive market in the world with regard to education. The report in some respects is an unfair comparison of our education system, which does not have a national standard for goals, curriculum, or regulations, with other countries that do, but the findings nevertheless reflect the need for change. Our education system at this time is regulated by states which implement their own curriculum, set their own goals and have their own requirements for teacher preparation. Combined with this is the fact that we have lowered our expectations in these areas, thus we are not providing an equal or quality education to all students across the country. The commission findings generated recommendations to improve the content of education and raise the standards of student achievement, particularly in testing, increase the time spent on education and provide incentives to encourage more individuals to enter the field of education as well as improving teacher preparation. NY State responded to these recommendations by first implementing the Regents Action Plan; an eight year plan designed to raise the standards of education. This plan changed the requirements for graduation by raising the number of credits needed for graduation, raising the number of required core curriculum classes such as social studies, and introduced technology and computer science. The plan also introduced the Regents Minimum Competency Tests, which requires a student to pass tests in five major categories; math, science, reading, writing, and two areas of social studies. Although the plan achieved many of its goals in raising standards of education in NY State, the general consensus is that we need to continue to improve our education system rather than being satisfied with the achievements we have made thus far. Therefore, NY adopted The New Compact for Learning. This plan is based on the principles that all children can learn. The focus of education should be on results and teachers should aim for mastery, not minimum competency. Education should be provided for all children and authority with accountability should be given to educators and success should be rewarded with necessary changes being made to reduce failures. This plan calls for curriculum to be devised in order to meet the needs of students so that they will be fully functional in society upon graduation, rather than just being able to graduate. Districts within the state have been given the authority to devise their own curriculum, but are held accountable by the state so that each district meets the state goals that have been established. Teachers are encouraged to challenge students to reach their full potential, rather than minimum competency. In this regard, tracking of students is being eliminated so that all students will be challenged, rather than just those who are gifted. Similarly, success should be rewarded with recognition and incentives to further encourage progress for districts, teachers and students while others who are not as accomplished are provided remedial training or resources in order to help them achieve success. I feel that school is a place where students should learn and interact with other students at no expense. If a student ventures outside the boundaries by proving themselves a distraction or obstacle so other students can not do this, they should not be allowed to return. Harsh punishments need to be put in order for students who choose not to take advantage of their ideal situation. Rather than expelling these students, they should be sent to a mandatory alternative situation, such as military or boarding school, with stricter rules and regulations. Students should learn to interact socially with each other. Environments should be provided so that a student can be a productive member of society when they leave their educational setting. If students learn how to be socially productive, I feel our violence rates would dramatically decrease. I feel some students do not receive the accurate interaction opportunities in school, which causes a negative reaction. Learning is a complex process acquired through a variety of experiences. Cooperation between a teacher and student facilitates the greatest growth in each student's intellectual, social, emotional, and physical development. Curriculum must be relevant to the needs of individuals while enhancing both respect and communication within a multicultural society. A supportive environment allows student's to develop a positive attitude towards learning for life. Students do not get bored or lose concentration if they are actively participating. If lesson plans permit, students will participate actively in unison or one after another. The Socratic method allows students to learn for them. As the educator, you produce questions to the class that allow them to think and work together which also allows them to learn together. For instance, without lecturing to the class, a lesson could be taught in a health education by asking questions about their reading assignment. "What are the benefits of not smoking?" In response, the class works in unison to piece together the answers. This improves social skills, which stated before, will improve violence and behavior issues. The chief benefits of this method are that it excites students curiosity and arouses their thinking, rather than stifling it. It also makes teaching more interesting, because most of the time, you learn more from the students -- or by what they make you think of -- than what you knew going into the class. Each group of students is just enough different, that it makes it stimulating. It is a very efficient teaching method, because the first time through tends to cover the topic very thoroughly, in terms of their understanding it. It is more efficient for their learning then lecturing to them is, though, of course, a teacher can lecture in less time. Finally, two of the interesting, perhaps side, benefits of using the Socratic method are that it gives the students a chance to experience the attendant joy and excitement of discovering (often complex) ideas on their own. And it gives teachers a chance to learn how much more inventive and bright a great many more students are than usually appear to be when they are primarily passive. When considering my philosophy of education, many "truths" unfold. If we work on remedying these "truths" our educational environment should dramatically improve. Word Count 180

Today in such a changing society it would be impossible to have a national curriculum not reflecting such change. Living in a changing environment effects and changes what each individual in the state is expected to know. This is very much enlightened when living in a fast changing world where what was true yesterday turns to be false tomorrow. Who would ever have taught that the word Internet would have been mentioned in the National Minimum Curriculum in the late 80s and early 0s when it was still just a network with the aim of linking data between major Universities and in no ones vocabulary? Such change in education may be one aspect that has contributed to the philosophy adopted for the change in the national curriculum and this change has been designed with a clear vision in mindctor of Education, NMC, 1 There are in fact a lot more references to the new NMC that could be listed over here as proof that the learner is at the center of the vision. If we had to look at the two main ideas on which modern education may be argued we would boil down to Platos liberal education and Rousseaus progressive and radical orientations. The vision mentioned above for the NMC clearly complies with the progressive orientation where the learner is put at the center. Such revolution, started by Rousseau, is quite important for us, as the new NMC is all about this putting the learner at the center. People think only to preserving their childs life; this is not enough, he must be taught to preserve his own life when he is a man to bear the buffets of fortune, to brave wealth and poverty, to live at need among the snows of Iceland or on the scorching rocks of Malta. - Rousseau, Emile This has been quite a change. If we had to look at the old national minimum curriculum, the question was What should we teach? and thus putting the knowledge at the center. On the other hand, there are other aspects that link the NMC to the other main theorist (mainly Plato and Dewey). An interesting point to mention would be the idea of justice which links our curriculum in the year 000 to what the first curriculum, written by Plato, had mentioned 400 years B.C. In fact, the national curriculum starts with Justice and there is an assumption that we want the society to be socially just. These ideas show that after observing the various theories of curriculum that emerged throughout the history of philosophy, we cannot identify one in particular with which todays curriculum was designed. On the contrary, the result of the various theories is a rich outpouring of ideas about curriculum, ideas that continue to influence both reformers and traditionalists (Soltis J. F. & Walker D. F.). In fact, another contributor to this vision is Dewey who wanted to define education as growth. As mentioned at the beginning of this write-up, today the big challenge of education is change. The shadow minister has also pointed this out when I recently interviewed him on the new curriculum. Such rapid change is happening because of technology and science. Information and skills that an individual may learn or possess become outdated quickly and the person becomes obsolete as discussed during the recent lectures. The new NMC has included such change as part of its vision to the Maltese society. Besides clearly stating such awareness at the introduction, it has been discussed in a section on its own under the topic of An educational answer for the cultural, social and economic challenges Today the keyword is lifelong learning. Living in the 1st century, being described as The Learning Age, means that knowledge and learning today are a very temporarily thing. This makes the traditional knowledge of education invalid. The principle function of schooling is not in producing pre-existing relation of production any more. We have the possibility for education as itself a potential force for change in society and culture. Such ideas are changing and need to change the way the learners learn. Teaching computer or I.T. could be a typical example where the rate in which subject content changes is extremely high due to the technological improvement. It would be useless to teach a particular computer program say Microsoft Word in itself if by the time the pupils leave school the program learned (and examined) will be changed, outdated and scraped out from the market. The aim instead is to learn how to learn, as by the time the pupils are out of school, they should be able to cope with the new changing technology. While teachers should put students in situations where they can practice their skills, they need to teach various skills such as how to think. The idea of University where one would acquire a packet of knowledge and use it for the rest of life is today outdated and invalid. Till some years ago it was enough to have fathers teach their skills to their son and mothers to their daughters; they again would repeat the process with their children and so on. Even still, it is not the case of having the child learning something different from the parent. Today its the case that what the child learns is different throughout all stages in life. This takes us to lifelong learning. As discussed during the lectures today this is a fact of life. If you dont learn, you dont survive, economically, socially and all the rest. Such vision is shown throughout the curriculum especially when it is clearly stated that. Today we need to give skills to our pupils amongst which the skill of learning, that is, knowing how to learn. Such vision will require teaching how to access information and where to find it rather than giving out information in itself. We need to teach how to use the Internet that is the biggest resource in computer (also mentioned by the curriculum various times). More areas that such curriculum vision would require within the Maltese society would be teaching how to use libraries, having social skills, interact and share. The teachers should help in social management skills. This NMC does not encourage traditional teaching, as it isnt concerned about teaching skills but teaching facts. Such approach would require a change in the methods the teachers use. As said by John Bencini, president of MUT. This has been said in the NMC and certainly applies for our case. If we are having examinations designed in Malta for the Maltese society, we need to have the teaching resources that also reflect our curriculums vision. On the other hand, we should not only focus on the inside view of the Maltese Society but should also follow the effect our education may have from its political environment and social-economic aspects as well mentioned at the objectives of the NMC. Our aims for partnership with the European Union should be reflected by the education. The learners in our society, should be knowledgeable about what effects EU may have on Malta, to mention just one. Such education may be well influenced by politics as power (from whoever may be in power). Power would be one of the two dimensions to the curriculum and power as domination is bad and removes justice. In such discussion we may remind that this curriculum was done in three versions with considerable change between the first and the last version. The vision of schools that should remove streaming and education should be inclusive and comprehensive has been masked in the last version due to political reasons. To conclude, in this new curriculum it is not the case of having the objectives listed at the beginning and then simply a description of how each should be achieved but it is clearly seen that the vision & philosophy of the curriculum are consistent throughout. This shows that great planning has been involved in the design of this document. Dewey J., The Child and the Curriculum, 166. Ministry of Education, Creating the future together, 1 Plato, The Simile of the Cave, The Republic. Rousseau, J.J., Emile. Skilbeck, M., School-based Curriculum Development, 184, London, Harper and Row. Soltis J.F. & Walker, D.F., Curriculum and Aims, 186, London Teachers

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