What Is My Learning Philosophy?

Trying to figure out what my leaning philosophy is has been real hard for me. As educators we are never really asked how we learn. We are always asked about our teaching philosophy. What can we do to help others learn?  We are asked to take ourselves out of the equation and just teach. Teach to students who already come in with many different facets.  In order for us to be a great teacher we need to know ourselves in our learning and teaching.  The way we learn reflects on our teaching.  Most teachers, including myself, refer back to the ways we learn to teach. We, as teachers, base our teaching philosophies on our learning so they are both very similar.

Learning can mean a lot of different things to people.  When people think of learning they think of being in a classroom where an instructor is teaching, but that is not where it all learning takes place.  I am a firm believer that learning starts at home and that everywhere we go we are learning.  We learn from our parents first and from our surroundings.  We learn everyday and most of the time we do not realize it. Even after we already learn something, we continue to look at it in different ways and learn something new.  For example, when I am in a new situation I like to ask a lot of questions.  When my first-born was diagnosed with having PJRT (Persistent Junctional Reciprocating Tachycardia) and she was in the NICU, the doctors would make their rounds visiting each patient.   At the end of their shifts, they would come around with the new nurses and doctors and go over the day.  I would listen and ask questions even when I already heard them and got the same answers.  But each time I would get some new information, may it be that the first time around I missed it or because it was actually new.  Every time I was learning.  Another example is when people are driving.  We learn when is a good/bad times to drive somewhere, learn shortcuts, etc.  We are always learning and there is always something new to learn.

With this reflection it seems that I am supposed to fall into one type of learning philosophy, but as I am reflecting I cannot fall into just one learning philosophy.  Here are some of the learning philosophies I feel I fall under:

  • Behaviorism
  • Constructivism

Behaviorism

I think back to when I was younger in elementary school.  I would come home with my report to give to my father.  He would look at it and discuss each class and grade.  When I received an ‘A’ I would be rewarded, if I received a ‘B’ we would talk about how that was okay, but I could do better.  If my grades were lower, my father would say that I would lose out on something I valued if it did not improve.   That is the whole basis of behaviorism.  So I would listen to my teachers, study when the need was called for, and asked for help when I needed.  I was a young child, so of course I did not want to lose any privileges.  I did what I was told to do and made ‘A’s.’

My parents always put a lot of emphasis on my education.  To them, as well for myself, education is key to having a better life.  My parents did not have the luxury of going to school because they needed to support their families, so they had to make the hard decision of getting out of school to work.  So as I grew up I wanted to make my parents proud.  Having my parents become proud of me was a reward on it’s own. It wasn’t just for them; I too wanted to be proud of myself and worked hard.    So I would learn and get good grades for myself and that in itself became my reward.  Some might say that this is not a ‘good’ learning philosophy, but for me, it works.  I now learn for myself, to make myself proud.  To know that when my children grow up they have a good role model.  For them to know that learning is an essential part of life.

Constructivism

I also learn to understand what is going around me.  For example, when I have a doctor’s appointment and they have to run a test, I ask what every test is about, what they are looking for, what could be some outcomes.  I have to know what is going on.  I also refer back to my prior knowledge to understanding what is going to happen.  I need to have my own experience to learn.  Without experiences you just have information, not knowledge.

 


 

Both of these theories are going to impact my innovation plan.  My students are still in the age where behaviorism still applies because of their parents.  Parents are still rewarding students for getting good grades and giving out consequences for bad grades.  My students will also need have experience in order for them learn.  They will be putting their knowledge into creating projects and into gathering more information on what they are learning.  My students will also have me as a facilitator for their online learning.  They will be watching videos that I will create and then have projects that they will work collaboratively on with their peers. So for them, their learning philosophies will be behaviorism, constructivism, and online collaborative learning.

 

 

Annotated Bibliography

Bates, T. (2014, July 29). Learning theories and online learning. Retrieved November 29, 2016, from http://www.tonybates.ca/2014/07/29/learning-theories-and-online-learning/

-An overview on different learning theories

Jensen, R. (2014). Behaviorism. Salem Press Encyclopedia Of Health,

-An overview on behaviorism and how it got created.

Vijaya Kumari, S. N. (2014). Constructivist Approach to Teacher Education: An Integrative Model for Reflective Teaching. Journal On Educational Psychology, 7(4), 31-40.

-This article talks about how constructivism can be an effective for teacher learning.

Creating a Significant Learning Environment

New Culture of Learning

Right now a 4th grade classroom learning environment consists of:

  • The teacher giving instruction with some guided time
  • Students completing independent work
  • Students working in workstations where they review previous skills
  • Conducting small group instruction (reteaching or giving students higher level instruction for those who already mastered the skill/standard)

There is not enough time where students can interact with one another, create and explore their learning.  In the new learning environment that I want to create is where students are free to create projects, collaborate freely with their peers and where they can explore their learning.  This will be an entirely new learning environment for my students and for the school.  To create this environment, it is going to take some time to adjust.  Students are going to need a lot of reinforcement and reminding.  There is also going to be a lot of practicing on how we can move from station to station as purposed in my innovation plan.  They will need to know what are the do’s and dont’s.  It would also help if they practices are developed on how to get the  the instructional video at home or at school.

Challenges

Myself

I wrote down that I myself will be a challenge because even though I am open to having a different classroom environment, it is still a very daunting task to take on.  To make sure that everyone around you is giving you support, a chance to make something better is difficult to take on.  The pressure that I will take on, will at times be too much.  This is will be the first time that a teacher will make a drastic change in their classroom.  Many administrators and parents will not be open-minded.  They are used to see the traditional style of classrooms, where students are sitting at their desk and the teacher is at the front or walking around while teaching and having workstations. I will have to take on their misconceptions about non-traditional learning and at times it will make me feel like wanting to go back to the more traditional learning environment. So I will have to challenge myself all the time to keep with the new learning environment when times get tough.

Administration, Parents, Students

I will need to keep administration and parents updated on how using technology is benefiting students learning.  I will also have to meet with administration and give parents information about the new learning environment before beginning of the school year.  To make sure students are watching the videos at home I will have an open communication with students and their parents.  I will also have a plan for those students who are not able to watch the videos at home. I will talk to the parents to see if their child can come before school or stay after school to watch the videos.  After I get all the information about those students I will create office hours before school and/or after school so my students can watch the videos.  I will also create a system where students will be held accountable for watching the videos and have communication with parents when their child does not watch the videos.

All these are going to be challenges that I will have throughout my first year of implementing this innovation.  I will need to keep administration and parents updated on how using technology is benefiting students learning.  I will also have to meet with administration and give parents information about the new learning environment before beginning of the school year.  To make sure students are watching the videos at home I will have an open communication with students and their parents.  I will also have a plan for those students who are not able to watch the videos at home. I will talk to the parents to see if their child can come before school or stay after school to watch the videos.  After I get all the information about those students I will create office hours before school and/or after school so my students can watch the videos.  I will also create a system where students will be held accountable for watching the videos and have communication with parents when their child does not watch the videos.

Impact on the school

This new learning environment will impact my school greatly.  The administrators before where very open about creating new learning environments that were more student-orientated and involved technology, but now with new pressure on getting students to perform high on the STAAR (State of Texas Assessment and Academic Readiness). They are more interested in keeping the traditional environment and making sure students will perform.  At the end of my first year, I am hoping that the administrators will realize that they old traditional ways are of the old days and it’s time for us to evolve our learning environments.  We need to change with the times and make sure students are getting a better environment that’ll allow them to create and collaborate in the classroom.  We all know the different learning styles and the most common are visual, auditory and kinesthetic.  With the new culture students will be able to do all of those.  There will not be any students left behind as there are now.  Once administrators and fellow teachers see the great change they will be lining up to do the same in their classroom.

Perspective

I believe that my innovation plan will influence my learning philosophy greatly. Just like Dr. Harapnuik said, “ We say that we want to change, but do we change?”  We all talk big game, but when it comes down to it we are also afraid of change.  Every year I have to remind myself that the way I learn is not the same as others.  I need a constantly remind myself that children of this era need a different learning environment than what I had at their age.  My innovation plan is broad enough that I have the flexibility to change the environment if needed be.  Yes, my students are going to use more technology in the classroom, but there are still going to have instruction at times where I need to be ‘lecturing.’  My innovation plan will still hold elements of the traditional learning environment, but will now have elements of technology that will enhance students’ learning.

Innovation Plan Impact on Learning Environment

My innovation plan will immensely impact my classroom learning environment.  Students are going from previous years of having their teachers teach at the board while they are sitting at their desk taking notes.  Going from limited time working with peers on assignments, not having to do group projects, not being able to create their own projects using any type of presentation, and not being able to further their learning in the classroom.  Students will also go from having limited time with small group instruction and little teacher interaction on one-on-one to getting more teacher time.  Students are going to be able to come to the classroom with question already in hand about the new standard/skill that are learning.  They are going to be able to talk and learn from their peers and at times get an outsider (experts) help on their projects.  Students are going to get an opportunity to explore more of their learning.  Students are not going to be limited any longer in their learning.  This new environment will encourage them to be a life long learner.

 

References

Harapnuik, D. (2016, June). Creating Significant Learning Environments (CSLE). [https://youtu.be/eZ-c7rz7eT4]. Retrieved from http://www.harapnuik.org/?page_id=849

Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. Lexington, KY: Author.

Communicating my idea

As educators, we always want what is best for our students.  We want to make sure we are giving them the right resources, instruction, and education that we possibly can.  When we go to different professional developments they always train us in the new strategies that will help our students better understand the standards.  At these training, they also explain to us how much time we need to be spending on instruction, guided instruction, independent work, and small group instruction. At the end, there is very little time for small group instruction.  During the small group instruction, this is the time where we are able to meet with students to correct any misunderstandings or to challenge students to grow their learning. So it becomes difficult to find time for small group time.

With all the strategies that we are being taught, they do not talk about how we can use technology to help students be successful.  We are in an era where technology has become an essential part of our lives and there is a disconnect of technology in the classroom.  When people think of technology and an elementary classroom, they might think that it’s only used to play games.  That is also the perspective of students as well.  When you bring out the iPads/laptops/computers they automatically think they are about to play a game.  Technology is so much more than that.  I want to be able to use technology to increase my small group time with students and to have students use technology to enhance their learning.  

Students right now get their instruction in the classroom and go home with homework to put their new knowledge into completing their homework.  Many students go home without fully understanding the standard and are unable to complete their homework.  During class time they were unable to either meet with the teacher or comprehend the standard that they are now lost.  With a flipped classroom, students will get the instruction at home via an instructional video and go into the classroom having more time to understand the standard and complete work with the teacher there.  During normal classroom time, students will also have stations that they will be rotating to get more out of their learning.  It would also give me, the teacher, more time to have small group time with students.  No more having students lost in the instruction or bored because they are not being challenged.

By showing my innovation plan, literature review, and outline to my administrators and colleagues they are going to see having a flipped classroom is the great change we need.  Having a flipped classroom with a station rotation schedule will let students be more successful, take ownership of their learning, and collaborate with one another is the best option for our students.


Here is a list of literature to help me have more understanding on a flipped classroom.

The Differentiated Flipped Classroom: A Practical Guide to Digital Learning by Eric M. (Mason) Carbaugh, Kristina J. Doubet

This book will give me more insight in creating a flipped classroom.

Thinking Through Project-Based Learning: Guiding Deeper Inquiry by Jane Krauss, Suzanne K. Boss

This book will be a great resource on having more project-based learning in the classroom.

Using technology with Classroom Instruction That Works, 2nd Edition by Howard Pitler, Elizabeth R. Hubbell, and Matt Kuhn

This book will give more insight on having technology in the classroom and give me resources.


These are some online blog post that gives more information about implementing station rotations in the classroom.  They will give me more ideas and give me someone who I can ask questions.

Hudson, T. (2013, June 28). How to Implement a Station Rotation Blended Learning Model – DreamBox Learning. Retrieved November 5, 2016, from http://www.dreambox.com/blog/thoughts-implementing-blended-learning-model

Doubet, A. (n.d.). Blended Learning with Station Rotations. Retrieved November 5, 2016, from http://www.thecreativeeducator.com/2016/articles/blended-learning-with-station-rotations

Innovate

Technology is a wonderful tool that gets a lot of bad reputation.  We are always hearing how technology has ruined children’s lives.  How it keeps children from being critical thinkers, blaming technology for children not wanting to go outside, that children are obese, etc.  People do not realize how technology could be an essential tool for their children’s education.

When you need to learn something new where do you go to find more information? You go online and search it and/or you watch a video.  You get your information from the Internet.  So why shouldn’t children do the same?

Every day in the classroom, I see students that are lost in the instruction.  Students who do not want to ask a question because they are either too lost or shy.   There is also lack of time for me as the teacher, to meet with all my students in one day and make sure that they are on track and understanding the standard.  As a teacher, I want to make sure that all my students will be successful so they can go on to the next grade fully prepared.  Having students who come to me in different learning level and learning styles makes it difficult to meet their needs.  I am always looking for ways to help my students achieve their goals.  During my research, I came across blended learning- the flipped classroom. This gives me the freedom to have more student time in the classroom, and more collaboration among students.  It allows students to learn at their own pace and gives ownership of learning to students.  It also allows more teacher time.  I am able to give more attention to my students and help them correct any misconceptions of the standard they learning.  Having them use technology to create, to analyze, to collaborate, and to further their learning is all that technology is great for.

Technology is not a hindrance it’s a benefit for our children.  

I used iMovie to create my video.  I used pictures that I had from lessons that I did with my students and some pictures of times when I did not use technology in the classroom.  You can see a big difference between how students were with a lesson that involved technology and when they just had to do things ‘old school’ style with no technology.  The process took a lot of prep time. I actually had to go YouTube and find videos to help me create my video.