Friday, February 17, 2012

At the end of the day...

My Education Philosophy
“The object and reward of learning is continued capacity for growth.” –Dewey, 1916

It is this reward of continued learning and growth that I seek for my students and myself.  John Dewey was a promoter of thinking, reflection, community and interaction. As an educator, it is my privilege to ensure students know how to continue in their journey as life-long learners.  I feel strongly that students who are involved in their education and are able to evaluate, reflect and grow from real life experiences, become better human beings with a richer life experience.

Dr. Noam Chomsky talks about the purpose of education: to help children learn to learn on their own.  He elaborates to include that our "higher goal in life is to inquire, create, search bridges of the past and internalize parts that are significant" to individuals. I write about this in my previous blog and there is a video of Dr. Chomsky to view. These are the foundation to my educational philosophy.

In order to achieve the above growth and continuous learning, I need to come from a place of service.  I believe that no matter what you do in life, whether you are a teacher, parent, business person, an engineer, carpenter, student, ... everyone, if you come from a place of service and helping others; you will achieve success.

At the end of the day, I ask myself: "Did I make the world a better place today?  What did I do to help others?"  When I answer those questions I see continuous learning and growth.  I see success.  What do you do to promote learning and growth?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Meaningful Education Creates Better Human Beings

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Recently, I completed a course on Administrating Level B Tests for Learning Disabilities with Dr. Carter of U.B.C.  It was an excellent course!  Dr. Carter is passionate about meaningful education and careful testing that is done with precision so as to help a child, not hurt them.  Discussion then leaked into what is done at the classroom level as well. He stated that all data we gather for assessment must be a valid reflection of what we teach.  We must be thoughtful about our assignments, our projects, what we put into portfolios and in what we test. Valid tests are those that test what you teach, with no surprises and study guidance is given (it's not a guessing game). Testing is not about tricking our students.  Then you have a reliable test.  And further to that, testing is only one part of Educating a child.  You can test a child, but ask if they took something away from the learning experience?  Have they increased their understanding of the world around them, asked questions, made meaningful connections and discoveries?

Then I came across a video of Noam Chomsky talking about the Purpose of Education posted via @dcannell on Twitter. Thank you Darren Cannell. Wonderful!  Dr. Chomsky talks about the purpose of education is to help children determine how to learn on their own.  That our "higher goal in life is to inquire, create, search bridges of the past and internalize parts that are significant" to individuals.

When we use tools that are available to us (e.g. technology, testing) in this education quest, we must be able to question and evaluate if what we are learning and using are significant. Question: "Are we on the right path?"  In the end, are the tools and methods we are using in Education creating better human beings?  If yes, then we have progress!  What do you think?

Enjoy this video of Dr. Chomsky below: