Peter Mackey Philosophy of Learning


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Peter Mackey Philosophy of Learning

  1. 1. Peter Mackey<br />Mcom 520<br />Philosophy of Learning<br />I believe students learn best in a comfortable but structured, active learning environment where collaboration and creation are at the center of the class instruction (Lyons). A strong teacher who facilitates group discussion and interaction between students with various skills and abilities is crucial in an effective classroom. The classroom is a place where conversations are allowed to take place in which all students feel they can contribute. This interaction not only transfers valuable information to the students, but also teaches students about diversity and empathy. It is the teacher who sets the tone as well as the expectations for the students’ behavior. It is the job of the teacher to not only teach the subject, but to teach students how to socialize respectfully with one another. <br />Highly developed communication skills are of the utmost importance to all learning, as these skills work to express ideas and create better understanding of the ideas of others. Teachers must develop a strong curriculum focused in part on building student communication skills. Drawing from the behaviorists approach, I feel that instruction must touch upon students’ prior knowledge of simple tasks and ideas in order to build new, more complex ideas (Brown, 2004). Behaviorism does a good job of setting the expectations of a lesson, but I believe instruction needs to add a layer of personalization to be most effective. Students have varying backgrounds; so understanding individual students on a more personal level will help the instructor to develop methods of reaching them more effectively (Gibbon, 2003). I believe a teachers use of humor as well as personal stories allow students to become more comfortable with their teacher, and this connectedness oftentimes leads to engagement and class participation. <br />Our students should be learning 21st century skills in order to be competitive in today’s fast changing business landscape. We need to teach students how to be flexible and adaptable, as well as self-directed and responsible as students and citizens. We need to instill in our students a sense of ownership over their learning experience and teach them leadership skills to make them feel empowered to make a difference in life. As teachers we need to mentor and encourage our students, and teach them to be mentoring and encouraging towards their fellow students (Wolk, 2010). We have a responsibility to teach our students the core subjects, but we also need to take the time to teach social and cross cultural skills. Our students need to be civically engaged, so they feel connected to the world around them. I believe this is a key to socio-economic development, and I feel as teachers we need to be serious about transmitting these ideals.<br />Classrooms should not only be defined as the four walls we sit inside of during a time allotted class period, but must transcend beyond the four walls to bring the world into the classroom. Video conferencing and guests speakers are a great way to provide this type of access to quality experiences at a great value to our students. Teachers also need to provide students with opportunities to do work and research outside of the classroom. I believe service learning is a great option for experiential learning that creates deep understanding not always achievable any other way (Wolk, 2010). During any quality class session, the teacher will state the objective of the given assignment, and provide time for questions and clarification. An effective teacher will use concepts of UDL to structure lessons to be more inclusive for all students, and also be flexible enough in their instruction to be appropriate to multiple learning styles. I feel that the creation of projects and self-directed learning are great tools given to us by Gestalt psychologists, that we can use as an option for assessment in many of the classes we teach (Brown, 2004).<br />Technology in the classroom is something that students have come to expect, and to not be a tech savvy school (college anyway) may put you at a disadvantage when competing for a students’ tuition money. In some ways it is an unfortunate reality, but non the less, a reality. So I say if we are going to use technology in the classroom, let’s use it as effectively as we can to promote teaching and learning. I believe that technology should never be so complex it gets in the way of instruction. Technology should not be feared in the classroom, but embraced. Anytime technology is introduced in a school, it needs to first be thoroughly researched and justified. Even more importantly though, the teachers need to be trained on the technology so they can properly align its use with their course outcomes outlined in their syllabi. <br />My ideal classroom would be a photography room that could be used for learning camera techniques, as well as a digital darkroom. The walls of the classroom would be covered with large print photographs, shot by former students. The computers would be situated in a horseshoe shape around the perimeter of the room and the teachers’ station would be an island floating towards the front end of the shoe. At the same end of the room, there would be a large Smart Board with integrated LCD projector to use for instruction and class photo critique. There would be tables in the center of the room where students could collaborate on assignments and layout any print projects they are working on. Installed on each computer would be photo editing software and a word processor. Addition software to allow the teachers computer to access and project any student computer would also be available. This would be of great use when we are critiquing photos or working through any problems a student may be having. <br />More than anything else, my ideal classroom would be a fun social atmosphere that students are excited to walk into everyday, because I feel the social aspect of school plays a very large part in learning (Cuban, 2001). The classroom would be a place that they know will be tough and honest, challenging them to bring their best effort each day. The class will be a place where collaboration and peer critiquing, come together to build a students character. My idea classroom will be a place students will leave at the end of a semester and feel accomplished and matured as an artist. This ideal classroom will not only teach a student about photography, it will teach them about people, communication, hard work, collaboration, acceptance, and pride. <br />Works Cited:<br />Wolk, R. (2010). Education: the case for making it personal. Educational Leadership, 16-21<br />Lyons, R. (n.d.). How do students learn. Retrieved from<br />Brown, G. (2004). How students learn. RoutledgeFalmer Key Guides for Effective Teaching in Higher Education series, Retrieved from<br />Gibbon, P. (2003). Why teachers matter. Journal of Education, 184(3), 45-57<br />Rosemarin, S. (2009). Who is the best teacher? do different kinds of students have different preference?. Gifted Education International, 25, 48-55.<br />