2011 September : Justin Womack

26

Sep

by jwomack

Before reading the chapter on philosophy and education I had paid little attention to what everything actually meant.  As I sit here pondering these different philosophies it is intriguing to think how they come into play when it comes to education in this day and age.  I believe it may not be one specific philosophy, but the working of many that makes for the most effective education.

When I think about the question pertaining to the tree it always makes me laugh.  In my mind I think, “who cares”, but when I continue to think about how a realist would answer this I believe that my answer would offend them.  One of the main principles of a realist is to know about the real world, and that this knowledge is the most reliable guide to behavior (Ornstein, Levine, Gutek. 2011).  A realist would want to be out in nature and experience a falling tree.  They would see how nature around it is affected, and take from this the real life experience.    In this experience I gather that a realist would conclude that a tree does make a noise even if no one is around.  This knowledge is solidified in their experience.

Idealism and Realism both in their own respects play roles in our education.  In “The Cave” it talks about man being chained up and what would occur if those chains were broken (Ellis-Christensen, 2011).  I believe Idealism relates to the idea that as young learners our minds our “chained”, and through education we are able to break through these chains of unknown truth.  I really liked the analysis of how different people would react to being freed.  I believe it is a very accurate representation of not only our education system but humanity as well.  In education we have those who are frightened of what is new, and you have those who see the information and run to it.  You also have those that no matter how hard you try will not listen to the information they hear.  Another aspect that hits me is the fact that with Idealists values are unchanging and relate to all people (Ornstein, Levine, Gutek. 2011).  We see this belief with the ideas involving NCLB in the standardized tests, and meeting goals that apply to all schools throughout the country.

Student learning should not be governed by these two philosophies alone.  I believe that there has to be a perfect mix of all philosophies to truly educate.  I do not believe that we can embody the idea of all things being equal because they are not.  Students learn in different ways, and at different paces.  This is evident in Plato’s theory on how people would react to their freedom.  I do believe though that with education comes knowledge and there is freedom with this knowledge.  The education system is the forefront to how we as a society will function and see the “real world”.  There are those with a wide knowledge and those with little knowledge.  From our education we go on to live our lives and continue to follow a certain set of ideals or philosophies learned when we were young.  It is this reasoning for why I believe all philosophies should be ingrained in our education.  While Idealism and Realism are very important in the shaping of education they are only pieces to the puzzle.

 

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References

Ellis-Christensen, T. (2011, september 19). What is the allegory of the cave?. Retrieved from http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-allegory-of-the-cave.htm

Ornstein, A., & Levine, D., & Gutek, G. (2011). Foundations of education (11th ed).

Belmont CA. Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

 

18

Sep

by jwomack

The history of education is an interesting topic.  When thinking about it I almost feel as though education is almost retreating in its evolution.  Usually things are born from an idea and from there continue to grow, and refine, and become better.  Education has had its moments of growth and it has had its downs, but I feel as though it has been on a continued downward spiral the last few years.

Education has evolved from their inception, but I believe that the general premises still remain.  The purpose of education is to further the knowledge base of future generations, and passing on skills to them that they will need for success as adults.  In the beginnings this was more focused on religious and cultural heritage as illustrated with Hebraic and Egyptian education styles (Ornstein, Levine, Gutek. 2011).  Numerous minds came up with varying ideas on how and what education can be.  As I read through the various charts from our book it was amazing to me how many people had ideas and influence in making education what it is today. Education as a whole takes pieces from people like Aristotle, Confucius, Dewey, Froebel, etc.  These founders varied in opinions and ways to go about teaching, but the bottom line was that they had a vested interest in educating.  If they could see where our education was today here in the United States I do not know if they would be pleased.  To me it seems now education is more focused on tests and making sure that school systems are making the grade i.e. NCLB.  I also think that technology and how fast we get information is hampering the way we teach.  We are a culture of “need it now” mentality.  If it takes a long time to get then that is something that will not be tolerated.

The reason I am getting into teaching is because I think that there needs to be a stronger teaching force that carries the ideals of the founders of education.  Along with the previously mentioned downsides to current education I feel there are not enough actual educators in the system.  I believe experience plays a huge role in teaching, and there needs to be a better job of passing down the experience to new teachers as Plato and Aristotle did (Ornstein, Levine, Gutek. 2011).  I really enjoyed the video out sensory poetry in the elementary class.  I liked that it forced the students to think and actually use their brains.  In this way they are not only learning one thing, but many things.  I believe this is the type of learning that many of the originators would have liked.  The student is analyzing what is in the bag, and then has to come up with a poem to describe what is in the bag relating to their senses.  Learning to use ones brain analytically I feel is something our current education system has lost.  With all the technology students are now just a keystroke away from finding information they need.  In the past they had to use the library and search books and encyclopedias.  Calculators are being used more and more for basic math.  Students do not have to think about mathematics because a computer does it for them.  This I fear is taking away from our education.  I also believe that with so much pressure to make sure schools are meeting government quotas in testing that students are only learning how to pass a test and not true knowledge.  Teachers must teach their students to prepare for these standardized tests.  I found a blog that talks about the negative about NCLB and found it very interesting.  The blogger brings up a point about students not all learning at the same rate as well as not learning in the same way (FUrudeRicaChama, 2011).   I do not know if NCLB or other standardized tests take this into account.

As with most things I believe our education system needs to take a look back at history.  From here we must learn from our past and the mistakes made.  There is a better way to incorporate technology without loosing the thinking process.  There is also a better way to improve education then forcing schools to follow the same guidelines.   I am unsure of the better ways that I speak of, but I know that they are there and I will work to find them.

 

http://youtu.be/mEJL2Uuv-oQ

This is the kind of learning I miss!!!!

 

 

References

  FUrudeRicaChama. (2011, January 28). The pointlessness of NCLB: Why it’s hingering education, not helping. Retrieved from http://dagblog.com/reader-blogs/pointlessness-      nclb-why- its-hindering-education-not-helping-8766

 

Ornstein, A., & Levine, D., & Gutek, G. (2011). Foundations of education (11th ed).

Belmont CA. Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

12

Sep

by jwomack

 

It was interesting this week to read about all the varying theories on education.  It is interesting to think that even today many years later there is no true consensus on what is right.  I do believe overall that all educators can agree that as long as the students are truly learning, it does not matter which theory is used.

There were so many different theories to read through.  In the end I found myself almost overwhelmed.  To me it seemed as though for the most part there were a few main theories with slight variations and tweaks.  I think in my teaching philosophy I take pieces of a few theories.  First and foremost I want to make sure that I am a role model for my students.  Like Socrates I believe that all teachers should be leaders, and role models for the students that they teach (Ornstein, Levine, Gutek. 2011).   I want to be able to make a difference and help in molding the future of our society.  I think this involves making sure that we teach moral character to our students.  In my years as a substitute teacher I have seen rampant disrespect from students.  I have seen students not caring at all about whether or not they receive a quality education.  This breeds a culture of future generations who do not care, and I feel that strong, determined teachers need to take a stand.   I found an article that has a good list of how to be a role model http://powerfulwords.wordpress.com/2008/03/31/are-your-teachers-positive-role-models-for-children/.

I also want my philosophy to be one that educates the students through real world experiences.  I know that not every lesson can be worked this way, but I feel there is a greater need for practical knowledge.  I do not agree with teaching students things just to memorize and regurgitate for some test.  What good is all that knowledge if a student doesn’t know the economics of home ownership?  I think this goes along with John Dewey’s theory.  I like the idea of not just teaching the students information, but helping them to problem solve to understand the information.

To accomplish my philosophy I plan to best teacher that I can be.  I will be a role model for my students and treat them the way that I would want to be treated.  I am going to create a learning environment that is based on respect and gaining knowledge.  My students will learn the things required, but I will have them do so using the scientific method as prescribed by Dewey (Ornstein, Levine, Gutek. 2011.  I will make sure that I include varying lesson plans so that I include all learning styles.  Including group projects pertaining to real world activities is also something that I will include in my curriculum.  Putting the information that the students learn to practical use I believe will help solidify their actually knowledge.  My goal is to achieve true knowledge and I will be successful.

 

 

References

 

Ornstein, A., & Levine, D., & Gutek, G. (2011). Foundations of education (11th ed).

Belmont, CA. Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

 

Silverman, R. (2008). Teachers as role models: seven ways to make a positive

     impact. Retrieved from http://powerfulwords.wordpress.com/2008/03/31/are-your-teachers-positive-role-models-for-children/

7

Sep

by jwomack

Being a teacher is a difficult thing.  Reading and watching all the material for this week has shed a new light on the profession for me.  Teachers that made a difference in my life are a big reason I decided to become a teacher.  In the same respect those teachers who I felt did a poor job made an impact as well on my decision to teach.  As our country moves forward I think that it is clear that “good teaching” does matter, and I want to be apart of what is to come.

The reading was very intriguing.  There was a wealth of information that I somewhat knew about, but did not fully understand.  Reading through chapter one I gained a clear perspective on all the things that are taking place within the profession.  I really enjoyed reading about the alternative certification and the pro vs. con. This is something that I have been dealing with in my quest to become a teacher, and it was interesting to see the issue being debated and talked about.   I enjoyed reading the section on reforming schools by improving teacher qualifications.  I agree that there should be changes with regards to improving teacher salaries, instituting a better ladder system, and using those master teachers to then teach new educators (Ornstein, Levine, Gutek. 2011).  The opinion article from the New York Times was also very thought provoking throughout the week.  The fact that 62% of teachers work outside of teaching was eye opening (Eggers/Calegari, 2011).  I substituted for the past two years and in order to sustain myself financially I also worked as a server at a restaurant at night.  The thought of having to continue that and add full-time teaching worries me.  It was also interesting to watch the videos about the history of education and thoughts on accountability.  Accountability seemed to be one of the main themes in most of the topics on education.  Teachers should be held to a high standard, but the body that governs education should also work to make the environment better for teachers.

Putting all the factors together salary, class size, NCLB, licensing, all of it does not matter if you do not have quality teachers.  Teaching matters greatly, and the kind of person teaching and how they are treated go hand in hand.  All the topics discussed in this first week exemplify the need to renew teaching as a profession.  Teachers need to be people who are passionate and care about the job that they are doing.  These educators play a pivotal role in the development of generations to come.  There are studies that show having a good teaching experience consecutively can affect positively/negatively a student’s development greatly (“Thinking K-16”, 2000).  Teachers should be able to connect with all of their students, so they can help facilitate the best learning environment for each one.  With the many factors listed above things will need to change if education has any hope for improving its system as a whole.  Teaching does matter, and I hope it matters as much to me as it does to everyone else involved.

 

 

References

 

 

 

Eggers, D., & Calegari, N. (2011, April 30). The high cost of low teacher salaries. The New      

     York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com

 

Ornstein, A., & Levine, D., & Gutek, G. (2011). Foundations of education (11th ed). Belmont,

CA. Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

 

Thinking K-16, (Spring 2000), pg. 304. Education Trust, Washington D.C.

 

4

Sep

by jwomack

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