The Unraveling of a Quasi Educational Philosophy

In a few days, I shall bid farewell to this journal. Goodbyes are always bittersweet. I can’t say I will miss writing these journals. In a lot of ways, this journal has always left me with a feeling of being exposed, of nakedness–like stepping out of the house and forgetting to put on your knickers.

Yet it was good fun articulating and chugging out whatever’s whirring through and around these wheels. They’ve been rusty, and at times they have failed me. At several inopportune times, they have likewise refused to cooperate.

But one thing I’ve learned is not to be too rash in pointing fingers and playing the blame game. I’ve always faulted this generation for being a strawberry generation, for demanding instant gratification and for their unhealthy attachment to their gadgets. Now I’ve realized I have been just as guilty. The equipment and tools may be different, but it’s essentially the same ball game. If we used to pass notes in school, today’s generation is no different. The phenomenon prevails; they just use a different method.

After taking this course, it was my hope that I would come out of the ordeal a better teacher. Tough luck. As embarrassing as it is to admit, I am leaving this course behind with more questions than when I first started. And it’s not a question of uncertainty as to the path I’m taking. That much is clear, at least. Rather, I question my effectivity, my message which I convey whether advertently or inadvertently thru my actions and whether or not I walk the walk and talk the talk. I question what is expected of me and how I fare as I’m being held up against standards. And the thing is everyone will have his/her own unique standards. The thought of  being lifted up against an idea and being found wanting terrifies me. The thought of being pitted against perfection and moral ascendancy makes me want to curl up into a ball in one corner. I guess it is the consciousness and the knowledge that’s making me doubt myself.

Secondly, considering this is my first term at the UPOU, this whole trimester has been a learning experience for me. This whole trimester has been fraught with adjustments, regrets and realizations. In the course of one trimester, I’ve made errors in judgment, missed quizzes, almost missed 2 mid-terms, had countless sleepless nights due to anxiety. To say that it has been a rollercoaster ride would be an understatement, but I strive to charge these all to experience and learn from it, take the good and chuck out the bad. Hopefully, the next term will be better.

I had hoped that after learning about the different educational philosophies and reflecting on them in these journal entries it would be easier for me to put my own educational philosophy into writing. A couple of days of staring at a blank space has led me to conclude that articulating my own philosophy does not come automatically. What comes out is a coarse attempt to dodge my own inadequacies and failings. Yet at this point, this will have to do. Hopefully later on, I do get to regain my footing.

I believe that quality education should be accessible to everyone. I believe that schools should produce students who are not only book smart but also people smart and emotionally intelligent and God-fearing individuals. I believe education should be a unique, active and enriching experience for every student. I believe that quality education will uplift a country and its citizens from the shackles of ignorance, mediocrity and indifference. I believe that there are no stupid students, only students whose potentials have yet to be developed by educators who are passionate about their craft and who have genuine concern for their students. I believe that students would do well if they are made to realize and appreciate their own unique talents and skills. I believe that students would perform best if teachers understand and cater to each student’s learning style. I believe that student learning is not only measured by traditional assessments. True learning is measured by how a student would use the knowledge he has gained from education to improve himself and for the betterment of his community. I believe that teachers should lower the affective filter in the classroom to make learning a pleasant experience for students. I believe that classrooms should be a safe haven for students to show their personalities and God-given gifts and to express their thoughts and ideas. I believe that teachers should foster a strong interpersonal relationship with their students that would leave an indelible mark in the minds and hearts of the student long after they have graduated. I believe that teachers should strive to be a role model in their thoughts, deeds and personal conduct, and should lead by example. I believe that education should foster and develop decision-making skills, critical thinking, social awareness and problem-solving skills which students can use not only in their personal lives but also as active and engaged citizens of society.  I believe that successful and effective teachers are a product of passion, thirst for knowledge, innovation and re-evaluation. I believe that teaching is about making a difference in this world, making a difference in the students’ lives such that these students would not be the same if the teachers had not touched their lives. I believe that teachers have that unique advantage of being able to influence a generation. I call it the “butterfly effect.” It is a huge responsibility, and I feel burdened by this task.

I believe that practice makes permanent and that students should be taught the value of learning a particular skill. I believe that learning should be a fun, interactive and enjoyable experience for the students. I do not discount the benefits of  technology-assisted learning, and that the use of modern technology such as social networking can be an enriching learning tool for students. I believe that teachers should embrace these changes and these trends and realize that if utilized properly, these social networking sites can be an ally. I believe students learn more effectively if the materials are relevant and meaningful.

I believe that the goal of education is not perfection. Rather, education should help students realize that mistakes are a part of learning process and a learning experience. Students should not be shamed or punished when they commit mistakes, instead they should be corrected, encouraged to do better so as not to damage their fragile psyche. I can’t say I have been successful in doing this. It’s a process I’m learning.

Prior to taking this course, I had always dismissed training approaches/training beliefs that were different from mine without trying to understand much about their point of view. I must say that after taking this course, I have a bit more respect for other training philosophies. As I’ve pointed out in my previous e-journal, I didn’t realize that I subscribed to a teacher-centered philosophy.

There was not much difference in the results of the Philosophy of Education Inventory.

ejournal

I lean less towards Perennialism and more towards Existentialism now than when we started the term. I believe taking this course has made me more aware of the effect I have on my students and their learning, their interest and attitude towards learning. It’s the realization that my own experiences as a student indirectly affect the learning philosophy of my students, that all our experiences do go perfectly together like a clasp. I also realize that the pressure to perform well in school, to get good grades, to be on top comes with a price. Most of the time, students try to meet this rigor to satisfy overzealous and demanding parents and teachers. I used to operate on the “zero-defects” policy because that’s what is demanded of me as a trainer. Yet, I realize that I cannot, and it is unfair of me to demand this of my students. As a trainer, I cannot operate on the premise of meritocracy or “using only the best ingredients” because I have the responsibility of treating my students fairly regardless of their skills, merits, socio-economic status or IQ. I have to give them the best possible learning experience. I cannot sort them and turn away the bruised and “defective” ones because sometimes those dark horses do surprise you; and when they do, it is truly an unforgettable experience.