Which “ism” am I?

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Where does knowledge come from and how do people know? This is like which comes first, the chicken or the egg?

Which “ism” am I?

What a thought provoking (and maybe a bit confusing) thing to think of. What fits my own teaching philosophy or classroom practice? Which “ism” am I? Behaviourism… Constructivism… Cognitivism… or Connectivism? My mind was feeling a little like the map of learning theories…

I think there is so many ways I cross over within these theories of learning but in reading the map and diving more deeply into it. I feel I most connected to Experiental Education, as I feel building a direct relationship or connection with the student is the most meaningful learning tool and whatever I am going to teach them or how I am going to teach them will all fall into place after the fact. Relationship, content, and experience are key. Another learning theory would be Constructionism as I feel students work best when they can collaborate in a meaningful way, build on new knowledge and so it learning is more student driven so the kids have ownership in their learning. I also resonate with Meanginful Learning as this type of learning is applicable and they are able to transfer it in real life situations.

As a teacher and a life long learner, my most meaningful learning experiences are when I get to network and learn from other like minded individuals in PD opportunities or Communities of Practice. When you are passionate about what you are learning and it is easy to integrate right away into your practice, it is extremely beneficial.

I enjoyed this week’s readings and am very glad I wasn’t around to experience Skinner’s teaching machine. One article that really resonated with me was Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age . In it, Siemens explains that we need to add an alternative theory, connectivism to the other theories as the others were established before the use of technology. Knowledge is changing and becoming obsolete at a much more alarming rate than ever before. He states some signigicant learning trends such as the variety of fields most learners will encounter over their lifetime, the importance of informal learning with things such as PD opportunities and Communities of Practice. He recognizes that we are all life-long learners , that there needs to be more of a connection between the organization and the learner as they are both “learning organisms” and “technology is altering(rewiring) our brains” (p.2). With this ever changing world, students need to know where and how to find knowledge.

I feel more than ever that kids are different learners than they were when I was young, and this is due to technology. This is why more than ever, we need to ensure that technology is fluid in our classroom. It is not an add on. It is, as Dean would say “invisible”in our classrooms to prepare them for the future in a world that is changing so rapidly. As well, more than ever, we are going to have to ensure that Digital Citizenship is infused into our learning environments as well?

When I sat and reflected on the question, how has my teaching shifted from the start of my career to now I have to say that I let the students drive much more of their learning than ever I ever did at the start of my career. I am much more comfortable in giving up that control. I teach the content from the curriculum, but now for the most part let students have input in their own learning. They always blow me away at what they can produce. As well, I let them learn more from each other than ever before. They are great collaborators and learn so many more skills from eachother than just what they are learning in content.

In closing, I am very grateful to be in a class like this to increase my own knowledge as it makes me a little anxious to know that I have so much to prepare my students for.

Published by Lisafrazer

Educator, Mom, Traveller, believer in all things are possible

6 thoughts on “Which “ism” am I?

  1. As I read your post-Lisa, I identified with many ideas and thoughts you had. I also identify with experiential education-where the relationship between the student and teacher is very important. It reminds me of the saying “A student doesn’t care what you say until they know you care.” Great post!

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  2. Hi Lisa! Great post. I can really relate to you as teacher and think we would have a lot in common in terms of our teaching theories. I always strive to allow my students freedom in the classroom, but I struggle in certain courses like math. There is so much content they need for the next level that I’m afraid they don’t really get the creative or “connectivist” approach I strive for in other courses with more flexibilty. One thought you had: “I feel more than ever that kids are different learners than they were when I was young, and this is due to technology. This is why more than ever, we need to ensure that technology is fluid in our classroom” really spoke to me. Learners have changed and their expectations of what and how they learn has also changed. Paper and pencil and note taking doesn’t work for an age of students who have extreme screen exposure. We have to be different and we have to be better!

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  3. Great post Lisa! I agree that it is important that students today have a voice in their learning. I find it difficult myself sometimes, to hand over the reins and give students real control over their learning but is something I am continuing to work on! I like how you described technology as needing to be fluid in today’s classrooms. I think this is so important considering that rate technology and our learning environment, especially with the pandemic is changing frequently.

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  4. Hi Lisa,
    First of all, I love the title of your post !!! I agree with you that when it comes to teaching, meaningful relationships are super important. I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to work with the same students year after year, unless I have to move schools since this way I get to know them and their families as well. I was happy to read about the importance of “Meaningful Learning”. It reminds me of the time when I moved to Canada and after the rote memorization, I actually had a chance to start using everything I had learnt in English. Having the ability to transfer knowledge in real life situations gives a whole other meaning to learning.
    Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lisa,

    Great post! Your closing statement hit me! I have only been teaching for four years, but I find the longer I teach, the more comfortable I am becoming with giving up some of that control. However, it is a little scary at first! Connectivism was a new learning theory for me. It makes sense though– kids do so much of their learning using technology. An example of this is YouTube. I remember a student last year was telling me about something new he had learned on YouTube and I was shocked there was a video for this skill. His response was, “Oh yeah, Ms. Tremblay! You can learn anything on YouTube!” I think he’s right!

    Thanks for sharing your insights!

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    1. He totally is right! I’m amazed at how many kids are You tubers as well! They love to share their channels. They’re so creative!

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