I think my e-journal posts were beneficial for thinking about and analyzing the modules on a more personal level. But sometimes my effort waned after writing a discussion forum post. I found the forum discussion questions engaging and I enjoyed the process of revisiting the information to construct my argument to support my opinions. I think these posts ensured I had a good grasp on the material. Then I would move on to my e-journal.
Having already addressed specific theoretical points from the module in the online discussion forum, I was able to take a more personal approach in writing for my e-journal. The e-journal entries related back to the module in a more personal, concrete way. I think I should have waited a day or so to write my e-journals because I often felt burnt out and hurried in writing. Still, they allowed me to put the learning theories into the context of my own life. The forum discussions primed me for thinking about the principles in a specific theory. As I shifted my thinking to my e-journal, that framework became my guide for summoning specific narratives relevant to the learning theory at hand. I was able to identify instances in my own life that supported the theories; highlight methods that I believed would improve my teaching; and examine my receptivity to sound educational theories.
In reviewing my blog posts, I realize that I have reexamined my teaching with more regard for students as learners. It is evident I still feel limited by the constraints imposed by my superiors, but I can recognize opportunities for improving learning theoretically. For example, in my post about Constructivism, I note that ideally my lessons would provide more hands-on experiences, field trips, and student-centered exploration. I accept and believe that a Constructivist classroom provides an environment for a child to interact with and build her own knowledge, but I also find it to be an unrealistic ideal.
And I believe that all the theories are far too idealistic. Each learning theory has valid and applicable ideology. There are elements from each learning theory that I can tease out and reshape into my own brand of teaching. Learning is a process, not a one-stop shop of ‘know it or don’t.’ A teacher’s first role is to appeal to her students’ individual, varied needs. Some learners are visual and others are kinesthetic. Some children are introverted and others thrive on social interaction. A teacher should seek to propel students by engaging them in a way that their learning is as effortless as possible (flow).
A teacher’s second role is to challenge and motivate her students to grow. She must show her students how to be responsible for and in control of their own learning. Learning is not passive. Teachers and students alike must contribute to the educational experience. A proper teacher is not limited to one steadfast approach (e.g. lecture and worksheet) just as a proper learner should be capable of succeeding in a variety of learning scenarios. It is teachers who must guide students to unlock their own potential and understand how to help themselves learn successfully.
Each learning theory has provided insight for how to be a better teacher and how students receive learning experiences. I’m looking forward to organizing my own understanding of the modules in the final assessment.