Teaching and Education Philosophies, Essay Example
Learning is a process, but with the uniqueness of each person, is there really a specific process that works for everyone? The proper stepping stone of learning is interest and from interest comes the other personally motivated actions that lead towards increasing one’s knowledge essentially making him a better individual and an improved person. According to John Dewey, learning that spurs out from interest is more specifically effective than learning that spurred out from forced ideals; it is because of this thinking that Dewey is specifically given specific recognition in relation to the development of learning strategies that are based on personal motivation. This is the reason why the systems of learning in the past have been seen to be more effective compared to the institutionalized systems established for learning procedures today. At present, because of the existence of institutionalized system of learning, people are not encouraged; instead, they are directed to learn because it is a necessity for survival. They do not need to like what they learn; they simply need to learn what they can within the span of time provided to them. This makes current systems of learning ineffective. So what does it mean to be interested? And what does it take to nurture such interest to develop proper learning procedures?
The first aspect of effective learning is learning through self-action which is imposed by Dewey as a positive option of stepping stone towards learning. This approach imposes that the desire to learn comes from a personal perspective, a personal sense of motivation. For instance, a young child may be explorative in nature, but his desire to become more effective in expressing himself through arts could only be seen through a distinct representation of personal interest. According to him, the material of thinking is not thoughts, but actions, facts, events and the relation of things… which constitutes experiences which will furnish him resources for coping with the difficulty at hand (Dewey, 2609). Most often than not, this is when a child specifically picks a particular hobby and spends time doing it without being told nor forced by the parents. At some point, this action is considered as a form of personal motivation that entails the condition of self-action.
Interaction and transaction are two other concepts of learning that involve relating to others and applying the lessons learned in actual life situations. Learning in this process takes place through establishing camaraderie with others. True, memory, observation, reading, and communication are all avenues of supplying data (Dewey, 2609) for learning. However, without interaction, the realization of such lessons cannot be made certain. In transaction, putting lessons learned into action is indicated. Only through this would the value of learning that one gets from home, school and other environments would actually develop its use and worth to the society.
Meanwhile, learning through experience remains to be the most effective process of learning as imposed by Dewey. According to him, educational procedures should be based on the freedom of people to learn and the nourishment of such freedom to be able to impose specific procedures that would further improve the being and the intellectual capacities of a person. He notes that as a person experiences life, the more he learns. Containing people within a certain system of learning that they are commanded to follow negates the idea of learning under the options of free-choice. Today, some institutionalized systems of teaching fail to give directions that are specifically attentive towards the specific needs of the learners that would equip them to grow into more mature and more confident individuals. As for example, a child who is contained within the four walls of the classroom and are taught about theories, lectured about procedures and outcomes that he or she might encounter in life, and yet is not given the chance to actually live what he learns from class becomes incapable of facing actual-life circumstances. Without practice, an individual learner is expected to fail in realizing the basic foundations of life. This entails the condition by which when a person is in need of feeling happy, he first needs to know what sadness is and how it feels for him to recognize matters that would actually make him happy. The lack of interaction and actual experiences make these systems fail to reach their ultimate goal of producing independent and highly reliable students when they are later on subjected to real-life situations as they get out from the four walls of the classroom. Regarding this matter, Dewey adds: teachers would find their work less of a grind and strain if school conditions favored learning the sense of discovery and not in that of storing away what others pour into them… (2611). Yes, teaching would be much easier if the instructors would learn to use the natural way of learning than stick to a system that does not generally work for all members of their class.
Overall, it could be realized that what constitutes knowing is the desire that a person develops through time which aids him to realize the actualization of the lessons he gains through the different aspects of learning he takes into account. When one feels and experiences something, it is more likely that he would be able to remember it from memory thus adding up to the knowledge that he has in the past. From such point of learning, a person becomes more evidently matured enough to face higher levels of challenges allowing him to experience more and improve more as an individual and as a learner all at the same time. John Dewey’s ideals about education, its application and the proper direction that it must provide learners create a distinct indication on how teachers at present should view their role as guiding mentors to their students. Not only does his ideals about learning practical, they are all the more reasonable in pointing out the even though there are institutionalized systems of teaching that must be followed, students ought to be given the chance to explore life freely and experience its gist on their own turf and their own decision as desired for it is only through this that true learning spurs from.
Dewey, J. Thinking in Education. Assigned Reading
Ryan, Alan. (1995). John Dewey and the High Tide of American Liberalism, (1995) p 32
Violas, Paul C.; Tozer, Steven; Senese, Guy B. School and Society: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives. McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages. p. 121. ISBN 0-07-298556-9.
Gutek, Gerald L. Historical and Philosophical Foundations of Education: A Biographical Introduction. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Inc. p. 338.
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