My Beliefs About Teaching And Learning
Teaching and Learning
The traditional method of teaching by rote doesn’t cut it anymore and guarantees that any teacher using traditional methods of lecture, copy what’s on the board and memorization will lose the student’s attention and kill the desire of students to learn.
Teaching and learning requires a plethora of techniques that will hold a student’s interest and attention. In today’s over stimulated and over caffeinated world this is becoming more and more difficult. Children are exposed to sensory stimulation at hyper levels that numb their senses to everything that is not overpowering to their conscious mind. Just look at any television show or video game today and compare it to something that was available in the 1970s or 1980s. The action is faster, much more abrupt and quick, and the overall volume has increased considerably. The amount of violent and sexual material available also damages their sense of morality, what they hold as values, and alters their sense of reality in a negative way.
Students in 2010 are not the same as they were a mere forty years ago. Physically, the average student is less fit. Mentally, the average student is less prepared. Biologically, many students are suffering from the activities of careless parents who abused and are still abusing substances that altered and damaged genetic material that they pass on to their children. Media also hoists whatever dietary regimen it’s sponsors have to sell on unsuspecting youths for their own profits, regardless of what the uber sugared or over processed crap does to mutable and forming minds.
The Education System
In addition to how ill equipped modern American students are to face the world, they are further handicapped by what schools impart as essential knowledge to succeed in modern society. Critical thinking has been abandoned. Common sense is nowhere to be found. Practical skills and training in the trades have been cut due to budgetary shortfalls and the litigious fears of school districts. As a country, America is becoming a nation of servants and paper pushers. Instead of teaching children what they’ll need to create and manufacture the mechanisms that will move the world, we teach them how to process forms and push buttons on computers that will do their thinking for them.
If anyone disagrees what this last statement just watch the collective hysteria form in any high school math class after the teacher tells the students they will not be allowed to use calculators on a test. The students understand that if you push the button for “2″, then the “plus” button, then another “2″ and finally the “equal” sign, that the answer magically appears. The concept of why it happens is not understood. This example might be a slight exaggeration, but it is also a sad reality.
What is needed is a national effort to live the idea that background knowledge is crucial for developing understanding of new content. All new learning builds on what is already known. Knowledge builds on knowledge. If a student has not learned the basics, they do not advance until they do. It will be the teachers and school districts job to find the proper method of instilling that knowledge into the student. I am a great believer in multiple intelligences and I use myself as a classic example of someone who needs several different approaches to learning any subject. I use musical, visual, verbal, kinesthetic, natural…I use them all until I get it firmly planted in my gray matter.
What is worth learning
The debate as to what is “essential knowledge” just demonstrates to me how much “common sense” is lacking from modern society. Essential knowledge is the knowledge it takes for our society, our country, to compete successfully and aggressively with the rest of the world. We are losing our place as a world force because we waste our time on “touchy feely” subjects and don’t concentrate on the more basic and immediately useful subjects.
Personal educational philosophy
My philosophies on education can’t be put into one nice little category. I believe in Perennialism because it’s essential to train the intellect and develop morally. I’m also a believer in Essentialism because acquiring basic skills and acquiring knowledge needed to function in today’s world is just common sense. I also have a fair degree of Progressivism to the extent that acquiring the ability to function in the real world and developing problem-solving skills is incredibly important too. What I am not is a Postmodernist. As a society we can no longer afford to waste time on Existential claptrap. Let the pinheads that the Ivy League and schools like Oxford vomit up worry about that stuff but don’t let them run anything. They’ve made a mess of the world as it is. As they believe, according to Kauchak (2005), “many of the institutions in our society, including schools, are used by those in power to control and marginalize those who lack power.” Well DUH! Of course that’s true. It’s the way the world is and always will be. The people in power will always develop ways to exploit whatever advantages they have and control.
In China, education focuses on Math, Science, Physical Education, Music and Art. There philosophy towards education as expressed by Deng Xiaoping (1904-97), the second-generation Chinese leader is as follows, “Education should face the modernization, face the world, and face the future” (Ministry of Education, 2001b, p. 5)
I would also like to see what the average Indian, Japanese, German, and Korean child grows up learning from day one in school versus what we ram down the throats of our children. It is extremely apparent that our schools are failing miserably to teach what a child needs to survive, let alone thrive in the twenty first century. At no time in history have our schools been more prepared to face the Industrial Revolution.
Donald Kauchak, Paul Eggen (2005). Introduction to Teaching: Becoming a Professional, 2e
New York, NY: Pearson Eudcation, Inc.
Ministry of Education. (2001b). Learning guidelines on quality education concept. Beijing: Author.