Unpacking My Educational Philosophy

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

I cannot remember exactly when and where I read this quote first time, but since then, this always has been stuck in my mind as one of my favourite inspirations. As a future educator, I think that the idea of education encompasses not only academic, but also all other development areas in children, including social, personal, physical, moral, and cognitive, and is responsible for becoming better citizens. Throughout schooling, it is inevitable that the students would learn that the world is unjust, contains countless biases in various aspects. However, Mandela’s state has enabled me to believe the power of education and its possibility to make a difference in the next generation while contributing to the children’s development process and learnings, which more likely is built upon the healthy relationship between students and the teacher.

 

To me, curriculum is still difficult to define. However, I believe that school is a place where education occurs, and the idea of education, as mentioned before, does not necessarily mean just academic context. Education is a strong tool that helps students develop unique perspectives of looking at life, and plays a significant role for all individuals in the society. Education is a very critical investment and a hope to eliminate prejudices, reduce all inequalities while creating a sustainable community and peace for all, no matter what. Also, in order to achieve these goals, the best ‘education’ relies on both parties of teacher and students, and the opportunity to access to education system must be provided to all.

Advertisements

Week 3: The Self, Social, and Moral Development

  1. Potential of playing

First thing I learned this week is that playing and physical exercise play a significant role in children’s learning.

I thought that play and physical movement offer few benefits: helping children release their stress while growing an ability to self-regulate, and keeping them healthy. I didn’t realize that when I was in elementary school, I was learning not only in the classroom by listening to what the teacher says, but also by playing with peers. However, as “play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social and emotional well-being of children and youth” (Woolfolk, Winne & Perry, 2016, pg. 66), those play time was contributing to my cognitive and social development, while aiding motor skills. Now that I understand the fact that play and physical exercise allow children to be creative and express themselves, as well as enhance in physical, emotional, and cognitive strength that cannot be gained during seated class time, I hope that I can incorporate more physical movement time in my future classroom.

 

  1. Various parenting styles and how it affects children

Second thing I learned is various parenting styles and how it affects children. As discussed during the lecture, there are various different parenting styles, although I remember 4 main styles: Authoritarian, Authoritative, Permissive and Rejecting/Neglecting. Due to spelling, I often got confused with the meanings between authoritarian and authoritative, though now I am able to distinguish them – Authoritarian features controlling parenting style where children often do not have agency; not abusive but not openly affectionate, while authoritative parenting style provides clear limitations/expectations and clearly enforced rules but also affectionate. Different parenting styles would lead children to have different personalities/temperaments. For example, children of authoritative parents tend to be confident, high self-esteem, and have a sense of empathy, while children of authoritarian parents are more likely to be depressed, and shy.  Also, depending on the culture, parenting style may appear in different ways.

 

  1. Erikson’s eight stages of psychosocial development

Last thing I would like to mention is Erikson. He proposed a theory of psychosocial development that describes tasks to be accomplished at different stages of life. 8 stages are introduced according to the age. Among those stages, it was quite surprising to me to learn the stage of 6: Intimacy versus isolation (Woolfolk, Winne & Perry, 2016, pg. 83). According to Erikson, the important event of this stage is ‘love relationships’ because “the young adult must develop intimate relationships or suffer feelings of isolation”. However, I think that it would be varied by many factors, such as culture. Depending on the cultures, I have seen cases of people having intimate relationships much earlier than Erikson suggested, whereas some people have not built relationships much later than young adulthood. However, that does not necessarily mean that those people are suffering from feelings of isolation.

 

Connection

Speaking of the importance of play time, I believe that I didn’t have recess as much – or longer – as it is in don’t recall any recess time during my school years. It is possible that some schools in Korea did offer recess, or it has been changed since I graduated so that every school has once in a day now. However, as far as I remember, we did not have a concept of ‘recess’ – we just had 10 minutes of break time between the classes, lunch time, and PE class, and those are the only time when we get to be ‘free’ from the desk and chair. Hence, I did not know what ‘recess’ was until I took ECS 100, which had a practicum that allowed me to experience Grade ½ classroom once a week. Now that I understand how important it is to ensure physical activity for children, I wish I had recess when I was younger, and also hope that the next generation in Korea gets enough opportunity to physically move.

Another connection I made is in regards to peer relationship and peer cultures. When I was younger, I used to hang out with a group of girls all the time. We lived in the same neighbourhood, went to the same elementary school and middle school. We literally spent almost every single moment of our childhood together. As we entered the middle school, we had to wear school uniform, and at some point, all of us started to wear similar shoes and bags, and cut bang hair. Then somehow, these things became a ‘norm’ to us. Now that I look back, I think that the idea of peer cultures is quite common, especially among the adolescents.

 

Question to Think:

How can we more incorporate/ensure ‘playing’ time at school?

Is Erikson’s Eight stages of psychosocial development universal? Or is it overgeneralization?


Reference

Woolfolk, Winne & Perry. (2016). Chapter 3: Self and Social and Moral Development. In Educational Psychology. (6th Ed.). (pp. 66 & 83). Toronto, ON: Pearson.

Questions to the ‘Efficiency’ in Curriculum

Respond in your blog to the following writing prompt: Curriculum development from a traditionalist perspective is widely used across schools in Canada and other countries. Can you think about:

A) The ways in which you may have experience the Tyler rationale in your own schooling?

As I was born and raised in South Korea, my entire schooling has done by following the Korean curriculum. Although various differences can be found in the education system between two cultures, similarities certainly exist as well, and I believe that Tyler’s rationale is one of the similarities. As argued in Schiro’s article (2013), Tyler’s rationale values the purpose of school and the schooling process for the desired purpose, while finding the most efficient and effective ways to achieve the purpose. Throughout my schooling, I remember that regardless of the subject, outcome of the class is always written on the top of the board in every lesson. Sometimes students were even asked to read out loud the outcome before the class starts. The lesson would include mini quizzes in regular basis in order for students to be ready for the midterms and finals. By looking back, I think that even though these classes may have been effective to achieve a certain ‘goal’, they were more like ‘training’ than ‘learning’ to me.

B) What are the major limitations of the Tyler rationale/what does it make impossible?

As discussed in the lecture, Tyler’s rationale can be seen as a ‘factory model’ because it features standardized teaching and learning, as well as teacher-orientated classroom rather than student-oriented. This would hinder the students from growing an ability to think critically and differently, strengthening creativity, while lacking socialization skills with less experience in working collaboratively with peers who share different background and ways of learning. Eventually, the students would be kept from accepting and embracing the diversity in the society.

C) What are some potential benefits/what is made possible?

Tyler’s rationale does suggest some structure and organization as a basis for curriculum development and implementation. It allows for rules and regulations regarding mandated subjects that must be taught to everyone. The guidelines can be utilized as a helpful tool for teachers, to ensure that they stay on track and follow similar methods and practices to that of their fellow teachers.

 


Reference:

Schiro, M. (2013). Chapter 3: Social Efficiency Ideology. In Curriculum Theory: Conflicting Visions and Enduring Concerns. (2nd ed.). SAGE.

Week 2: Development and Learning

This week has given me an opportunity to think about a topic of human development. As humans, we grow, improve, and move forward while aging, and this is something that does not stop and cannot be stopped unless one deceases. Of course, every moment of development is critical. However, as some stages of development throughout our lives is more essential than others, it is fundamental and significant for us as educators to achieve understanding of the principles, different types and factors, as well as related theories of human development.

 

First thing I learned from Chapter 2 of Educational Psychology is the fact that there are four different areas in human development: physical, personal, social, and cognitive. All is intertwine with each other, yet all is independently important in shaping individuals with their external and internal identities. So, is it nature or nurture that develop these areas? While I was struggling to pick one over another, the following quote from Educational Psychology (2016) has opened a new door: “Today the environment is seen as critical, but so are biological factors and individual differences. In fact, some psychologists assert that behaviours are determined 100% by biology and 100% by environment – they can’t be separated.” (p. 24)

 

Another thing I learned this week is Piaget’s stages of cognitive development. This includes Sensorimotor, Preoperational, Concrete operational, and formal operational, which are all divided according to the age of an individual. Each stage has its own characteristics as portrayed in the video that was shown during the lecture. This has helped me understand why individuals at different ages would respond differently in the same situation (e.g.: recognizing the same amount of water in two differently shaped glasses). Although, Piaget’s theory has limitations, as not all individuals are consistent with stages, and his theory underestimated children’s cognitive abilities, as well as overlooked cultural factors in child development. (p. 60)

 

Last thing I would like to address as a learning point among other things is General Principles of Development:

  • People develop at different rates.
  • Development is relatively orderly.
  • Development takes place gradually. (p. 25)

As a future educator, I believe that knowing these principles would play a key role in understanding my future students. Also, without taking consideration of these principles, it would be difficult to create an environment where the students can benefit from.

 

With the lecture and reading, the connection I made is related to the topic of ‘nature vs nurture.’ I see valid points from both sides, and also have opinions on both. In other words, it is quite hard for me to choose one over another because I think that one benefits his/her development in various areas by allowing both nature and nurture factors to have impacts.

 

Another connection I made has to do with the idea of scaffolding, a way of supporting learners with appropriate assistances from a more competent individual. When I was younger, I hated Math class especially when learning fraction, and was always embarrassed because I thought I was left behind in Math. By then, I had a lack of understanding of basic division, which hindered me from understanding the concept of fraction. My teacher, then, took a step-by-step for me: she made sure that I fully understand division first, and then moved to fraction part. Thankfully, I was able to overcome the fear of division, as well as self-esteem has strengthened as I saw my achievement. As such, I believe that scaffolding is a powerful tool that educators can utilize to reach every student to meet their different needs, while building relationship and enabling the learners to become confident and competent in their learnings.

 

While it is undeniable that Chapter 2 has offered an in-depth knowledge of human development, one question arises in my mind and has to do with the idea of fostering resilience: What makes students be resilient learners? Is it nature or nurture that has more influence in fostering resilience? How can we, as educators, ensure to create resilient classrooms?

 


Reference

Woolfolk, Winne & Perry. (2016). Chapter 2: Cognitive Development. & Chapter 6: Culture and Diversity. In Educational Psychology. (6th ed.). (pp. 22 – 61 & 215 – 217). Toronto, ON: Pearson.

Is Commonsense Really Common?

Kumashiro would argue that the idea of ‘commonsense’ is what everyone should know, which is the default answer that most people would agree on. However, what is deemed as commonsense can be different according to one’s perspective, as it all depends on one’s culture, values, gender, race, socioeconomic class, experiences, background, and many more. That being said, commonsense cannot be universal. People are used to their own ways of thinking and routines, and they would think that those viewpoints and behaviours are considered as commonsense. Although it is not truly ‘commonsense’ to them, newcomers are expected to learn what is ‘commonsense’ in the new culture they reside in, whereas those commonsense is known by locals and seen as ‘norms’, as the locals have been raised with those ‘norms’. This implies that it might be easier for newcomers to question the commonsense because the locals consider it to be normal, while not even considering to question. Also, commonsense is practiced repeatedly, which makes it hard to recognize and challenge it, as it comforts people.

 

It is important to pay attention to commonsense because it helps us feel comfortable to question our ways of thinking, and intentionally allow this to happen. Due to the fact that those ways of thinking that we are used to, the ‘norms’ in other words, “privilege and benefit some groups and identities while marginalizing and subordinating others on the basis of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disabilities, language, age, and other social markers” (Kumashiro, 2009. p. XXXVI), it must be questioned and challenged with various viewpoints. By challenging what is seen as normative, we would become able to broaden our views toward the differences among people, and feel comfortable to accept those differences while embracing the diversity, which is a key to pursue anti-oppressive education.

 


Reference

Kumashiro. (2009). The Problem of Common SenseIn Against Common Sense: Teaching and Learning Toward Social Justice, pp. XXIX – XLI.