A new school year begins – so what’s your philosophy?

Everybody is a genius. by sebastianjt, on FlickrIt’s a new school year and like most of us involved in education we are well and truly back in our settings, full of excitement and expectations for what the school year will bring. 
Well, I’m taking that to a whole new level personally, as I reconnect myself (and try and fulfil one of my New Year’s resolution) with my blog, which unfortunately has been sadly neglected on my part, but I digress.

This post has come about after a conversation my wife and I had the other night. She is heading back into the classroom this year, and one of the requirements she has as a teacher over the border in the NSWDEC system is that she has to write and record her learning philosophy as part of her planning records.

This lead to a wonderful conversation over the kitchen bench where we shared what our philosophies were and how some aspects had changed over the time we had been teaching.  This also reminded me of a blog post written by Edna Sackson (@whatedsaid)

Edna writes about how in just 2 years, she has changed her thinking about ‘What needs to happen on ‘Day 1′’ and what she used to do, compared to now.  This new list of what has to happen on day 1, has been influenced by her changing beliefs about learning and thus forms part of her new philosophy about learning.  Her blog post that can be found here: 10 ways to create a learning culture

So I leave you with these questions.  What is your learning philosophy?  Do you reflect on it?  Has it changed from when you started teaching?

Importantly too, do other teacher colleagues know your philosophy? Do your students know your philosophy?  And if not, why not?

The last one is an interesting ponderer for me, as I have no issues sharing with anyone my philosophy of teaching, but it’s not something that is often asked of or by teachers or even principals and I wonder why that is.  I think it would be the start of wonderful conversation at a staff or classroom meeting if everyone could share and discuss their philosophy on learning.  What a great way to get a deeper insight as part of a school based learning community between staff/staff and teachers/students.

Finally, I’d love you to share your learning philosophy in the comments below, and for the record, mine is pretty simple and hasn’t changed from that fateful day when I decided to become a teacher and is fundamentally the reason behind why I became a teacher. But that’s another story altogether.

My Learning Philosophy:

  • Everyone can learn (no matter who they are, how old they are or where they come from)
  • Everyone can have success (for me success is measured by the individual and what they can achieve, not by comparison to anyone else)
  • Learning should be relevant (learn what we need to know, what we want to know and how we can use it)
  • Learning should be meaningful (learn how to learn, learn by doing, learn to make a difference)
  • Learning should be fun (why shouldn’t it be!)

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One thought on “A new school year begins – so what’s your philosophy?

  1. Thanks for the mention!

    It surprises me that many teachers don’t know what they believe about learning or simply don’t think about it. One of the best things we ever did as a school was to articulate our ‘learning principles’… our beliefs about how learning best takes place, on which we try to base all decisions we make.

    These are our learning principles. What do you think?

    Everyone has the potential to learn.

    – We learn in different ways, depending on abilities, learning styles, preferences and interests.
    – Learning takes place through inquiry: questioning, exploring, experimenting and problem solving.
    – Learning occurs by acquiring skills and knowledge, constructing meaning and transfer to other contexts.
    – Learning is active and social and best takes place through collaboration and interaction.
    – Learning takes place when we feel secure, valued and are able to take risks.
    – Learning needs to be challenging, meaningful, purposeful and engaging.
    – Learning includes meta-cognition and reflection, and requires learners to take ownership of their learning.

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