Educational Philosophy Edwin D. Bell EDU 6304
Influences on My Philosophy • Behaviorism • Constructivism • Existentialism • Pragmatism • Negritude
Behaviorism • Behaviorism is a theory of animal and human learning that only focuses on objectively observable behaviors and discounts mental activities. Behavior theorists define learning as nothing more than the acquisition of new behavior.
Behaviorism (continued) • This theory is based on Skinner’s research on the relationship between stimuli and responses. (see this URL)
Impact of Behaviorism • I design my courses carefully to assure that instructional activities (stimuli) are appropriately associated with the instructional objectives (responses). • I provide opportunities for detailed and frequent feedback from multiple sources, e.g., see syllabus EDU 2304 03. • I rely primarily on positive reinforcement to shape behavior.
Constructivism • Constructivism is a philosophy of learning founded on the premise that, by reflecting on our experiences, we construct our own understanding of the world we live in. Each of us generates our own "rules" and "mental models," which we use to make sense of our experiences. Learning, therefore, is simply the process of adjusting our mental models to accommodate new experiences.
Impact of Constructivism • In each class that I teach, I provide multiple opportunities to translate theoretical knowledge into personal practice. • In EDU 6304 your cooperative work groups, your blogs, and your prposal are good examples.
Existentialism Sartre described the human condition in summary form: freedom entails total responsibility.
Existentialism (Continued) Although this account of human life is thoroughly subjective, that does not reduce the importance of moral judgment. Indeed, Sartre maintained that only this account does justice to the fundamental dignity and value of human life. Since all of us share in the same situation, we must embrace our awesome freedom, deliberately rejecting any (false) promise of authoritative moral determination. Even when we choose to seek or accept advice about what to do, we remain ourselves responsible for choosing which advice to accept.
Impact of Existentialism • I believe that the choices that I make about my behavior determine the type of human being that I become. • Consequently, it is important to me that I treat me students with courtesy, consideration, and respect.
Pragmatism • Does not accept the concept that there is an absolute truth that can be known. You do the best that you can with the truth that you can discern. • Dewey’s application of the philosophy to education is that you build the curriculum and instruction around the needs of the child. (see this URL)
Impact of Pragmatism • I do not become frustrated or anxious when things do not go as planned. • I am open to a wide range of strategies to achieve my instructional goals. • I am always willing to learn something new.
Negritude • This concept, which focuses on a pride in Black culture and heritage, grew out of the influence of the Harlem Renaissance and the Pan African Movement. • Leopold Senghor, a poet, philosopher, and politician shaped the term to represent an unchanging core or essence to Black existence (see this URL)
Impact of Negritude • Although, I do not accept Senghor’s definition of Negritude. • Reading and thinking about the debates on the concept have given me a comfort with myself. • This makes me comfortable with others who may be different from me and creates an open and inviting classroom environment.
Conclusion • My educational philosophy has grown out of and been shaped by my life experience and my education. • It has been challenged and tested many times and it has served me well. • I encourage you to develop one that will serve you the same way.