EDS 101

eJournal Introduction

I would like to refer to my earlier reflections about myself as a learner.

For the most part I feel my learning and studying habits are tailored well for my personal preferences. My study skills have been developed and honed over 20 years and are now second nature to me.

I am good at managing my time in terms of studying at optimum times of day, prioritizing, and planning adequate time for note taking, absorption, and assignments. I have a strong understanding of my own needs as a learner, such as the ideal setting (at home where I can spread out comfortably, focus without noisy distractions, as well as control lighting, temperature, and tidiness) and method (hand-written notes). I make an effort to study thoughtfully as I find I can understand and remember new ideas readily when I am fully engaged in and make personal connections to the material. My self-regulation helps me achieve my academic and work goals.

But no matter how successful one is as a learner, there is always room for improvement. I admittedly struggle to seek out help from classmates or teachers unless absolutely necessary. I prefer to learn independently and work through any confusion by conducting my own research. I work harmoniously in groups at work and consider myself a team player, but I don’t like to study with others. I can also improve my engagement while reading textbook materials by deliberately asking myself more questions and pushing myself to work though possible answers before reading. My pledge for this course is to interact with the texts more thoughtfully and critically.

I am willing to adjust my study habits as necessary to complete specific assignments, explore alternative perspectives, and meet academic expectations. However, I am happy with the outcomes achieved by my own study processes. Being self-aware and metacognitive allows me to streamline my learning in a way that is most impactful for me.

Overall, I believe my study skills and abilities of self-regulation and time management are constant. The Study Skills Inventory indicates I need to give more attention to how I am reading and utilizing textbooks and notes.

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However, feedback in the form of teacher comments, peer responses, assignment grades, test scores, and my own sense of confidence and competence reinforce that the study skills I already employ are effective in achieving my academic goals. I enjoy learning and the sense of accomplishment that comes from truly understanding a new idea or mastering a skill. I always look for ways to study that will help me feel successful as a student. This term I will make a greater effort to make predictions and reflect upon the greater meaning of information presented in textbooks. I will also give special attention to summarizing and connection key ideas in my notes.

 

My results for the Inventory of Philosophies of Education are not remarkably varied. My highest score was for Perennialism, followed closely by Essentialism. Progressivism and Social Reconstructionism were tied for third. Existentialism was the philosophy that least represented my own beliefs.

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When I saw my results, I recalled Pratt’s TPI and wondered if my scores will so similar because my understanding of Educational Philosophies is so minimal. I predict that after learning more extensively about these philosophies, my scores will indicate stronger agreement with one or two and disagreement with the others. I would expect that high scores in all or most categories are too idealistic and such diverse aims could not be realistically met by a single school curriculum. Sacrifices would have to be made for some values at the expense of others.

For example, a teacher trying to ‘teach from the classics, because important insights related to many of today’s challenges and concerns are found in these Great Books’ likely would not have sufficient time to ‘identify a new list of Great Books more appropriate for today’s world, and prepare students to create a better society than their ancestors did.’ Personally, I think it would be ideal for students to have a foundation in the great classics that provide insight into common human history as well as discover contemporary works that more nearly relate to current societal and global issues. In practice, however, priorities need to be way and non-vital educational principles must be pruned.

My educational philosophy and values are that students should learn the knowledge and skills to help them be competent and respected members of society. A teacher’s role is to allow students to explore what it means to be one part of a whole and identify key events in human history that have led us to this very moment in time. A proper education should foster not only academics, but also moral, character, social, and creative development. I believe teaching should be holistic and shape quality people, not efficient workers.

I grew up in the U.S. and attended public schools all my life. I was encouraged by my family to study hard and take advantage of education from an early age to get into a good university and ultimately find a well-paying job. The messages and instruction I received in my hometown were uniform from kindergarten up through high school. I attended a large public university where I was encouraged to try new things, explore the world, and develop a greater sense of self and independence.

My understanding of how education differs based on schools, communities, and cultures grew after I spent time teaching in South Korea and Thailand. Nearly anyone can open a school and design a curriculum to shape young minds as they see fit. I have worked at a private school whose founders follow their native national curriculum. Their emphasis on diligence, respect for authority, rules and obedience, and a near-obsession with extra curriculars such as chess, ITC, drama, and speech seem extreme. Despite the school’s intentions, I believe the curriculum is ineffective in shaping students who are internationally minded or hoping to pursue work in the Western world, as is their claim.

I think it is natural to find greater value in education systems that reflect philosophies and values that are similar to the ones I grew up. However, I look forward to learning about the strengths, weaknesses, differences, and similarities of key schools of thought in philosophy and education. It is important to remember that the validity one finds in a philosophy rests heavily upon his vantage point.

 

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