How would you describe your teaching perspectives prior to your reading of the
module resources? How would you compare your prior conceptions about learning and teaching to the ideas discussed in the resources of this module? What factors influenced your conceptions about teaching and learning?
Back in college, we had gone through an overview of the different main theories in learning in behaviorism and cognitivism. In EDS 103: Principles of Teaching, we had already discussed the different theories in learning from behaviorism to social constructivism. By college, we were introduced to different critical theories to use to analyze mass media and society and this included a discussion on critical theory and pedagogy. From then on, I viewed teaching as a facilitating process to help connect learners and their prior knowledge/experience to new content so that they could make more sense of the world and act upon what they understand; in the same way, the learners are active agents who make meaning within themselves and with others. The readings in this specific module helped strengthen and articulate what I already know and what I am familiar with into something that is more tangible, digestible, and grounded in teaching practice.
Have your perspectives’ changed after studying the module resources? How or how not?
It has not changed because I was already familiar with the content, but it has given me more ideas on different types of strategies to use in the classroom. It has also reminded me that teaching does not adhere to one or two theories of learning, but combines them to suit the learner’s needs and the subject matter. What is different now is that there is an element of the social-emotional development of the learner, which is not tackled even in social constructivism…but even the elements of being emotionally and socially healthy differ from culture to culture.
How willing or open are you in challenging your prior conceptions about teaching and learning, and applying contemporary teaching perspectives and approaches that would better serve the need of the students for more holistic and active learning? Knowing your inclination for specific teaching perspectives, how can you ensure that you will not fall into the trap of a one-size-fits-all teaching and that you will observe the teaching principles as intellectual and varied work – “adopting appropriate teaching roles to support learning goals” (Eberly Center, 2015)?
I have always been a fan of Paolo Freire and bell hooks and their advocacy has always been to educate as a practice of freedom from oppression. Of course, their theories are rooted in Marxism and critical social constructivism but it has always been a challenge in how to translate this in the classroom because it is still part of the larger society. Yet recognizing the learners’ individual differences due to gender, class, religion, personality is one step forward in engaging them and providing a better learning environment so that at the end of the day, they can be able to decide for themselves and to help others even if there are structural limitations.
Which among the contemporary teaching perspectives and approaches discussed in this module resonates with you? Why?
What struck me the most was seeing learners’ differences as resources instead of a problem. As Wilson and Peterson (2006) argued, the one-size-fits-all traditional approach in the classroom was suited more for the teachers’ convenience in measuring learning (i.e. tests) and outliers were dismissed as deficits because they don’t quite fit the bill. As teachers realize that students bring their own experience, knowledge, and understanding to the classroom, instruction can be modified so that most are able to learn even if it is not quantifiable.
Wilson, S. M., & Peterson, P. L. (2006). Theories of learning and teaching: What do they mean for educators?. Washington, DC: National Education Association. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED495823.pdf