Portfolio Purpose and Educational Philosophy
Reflections about Learning
Some of my learning reflections include the frustrations I experienced while growing up, but the ones I experienced raising my children are the most vivid. I had the feeling that something was inherently wrong with the current system because, in most cases, it was not able to produce confident and skillful human beings ready for life’s many challenges. Answers did no come easy until I watched a National Geographic show about ancient tribal societies and the way they pass knowledge from one generation to the other. From a young age, a tribal father or mother, start training their offspring to step comfortably into their shoes. When children reach their teenage years, the confidence and skills that they exhibit is so obvious that no adult would have difficulty acknowledging and trusting it. That is when I realized that somewhere along the way a disconnect occurred between the school system and its perceived goal—to prepare children to become confident skillful young adults, ready to assume the responsibilities that the grown-up world requires. With this new revelation in mind, I went ahead to find out what educational theorists have to say and discovered research that corroborates my assertions. Beginning with John Dewey, who believed in the inclusion of children in adult activities throughout their education, and who complained that urban children in the 20th century can participate only in the form, but not the substance, of most adult activities, and continuing with the theories of Constructivism and Constructionism, which claim learning to be an active process in which children actively construct knowledge from their experiences and that it is most effective when they are engaged in constructing personally meaningful products.
Out of all sources that I looked into for answers about education, my students taught me the most important lessons. They taught me to believe in Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences theory that every child is capable of learning and each of them possess unique qualities that when discovered and developed can lead to successful careers. They also taught me that there is no one learning style that can be applied to all. As we do not expect people to have the same physical abilities, cultural and social economic backgrounds, we cannot expect to have the same learning style. In fact, children’s backgrounds and social cultures have a great impact on how they construct their meaning when they learn. Children always surprise me that they seem to enjoy a serious challenge. My assumption was that most people will opt for the easiest solution. My experience shows that the more confident students are in their skills, the more challenges they are ready to face. Students enjoy learning and applying their skills toward tasks that can ultimately be controlled by them. It provides them with a feeling of pride and exhilaration that cannot be matched by any other type of learning. I think that students thrive on intellectual freedom and dare to venture when backed by a teacher’s help and support when needed
Maria Montessori's The Absorbent Mind
Jean Jacques Rousseau's Emile
Howard Gardner's Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences