During the course of this class many ideas have been brought to my attention that I hadn’t previously considered. I have only recently graduated from my teacher training program in Angelo State University, therefore, much of the theories and contemporary concepts are still fresh in my mind. However, my previous college experience made no mention of where many of the education ideas that we now study originated.
I was very intrigued when listening to Dr. Ellis’s Emergence of Eastern Education Thought lecture as they ideas that formed in Eastern Europe throughout the years is vastly different from what happens today in American public schools. Individualism was downplayed and education focused on achieving harmony with nature and discovering one’s own place within the larger picture, materialism was discouraged and family structures were emphasized and respected. The most fascinating educator mention during this podcast was Gandhi. Gandhi was known for his revolutions against colonialism, racism, and violence but above all Gandhi was an educator. He was very adamant that education be a spiritual journey as well as one that one filled with the discovery of knowledge. He proposed that instead of a school being a place where a scholar goes to get away from it all, it should be where he goes to be a part of it all. This is something that has not been embraced in American classrooms. I believe that if we were to take on Gandhi’s ideas of developing a sense of civic pride in students by making the classroom an integral part of the community students might take education more seriously. As it is today, there is not much connection for young students between what they learn within the walls of the classroom and what will happen when they finally step beyond those walls to join the real world.
Besides the embracing of Eastern educational ideas I have begun to embrace a more constructivist form of teaching. I have learned that it is more beneficial to the student to allow them to seek out knowledge rather than to present it to them. As a teacher I will make it my duty to create learning opportunities for my students and to guide them through the learning process, rather than tell them what they should be learning. Reflection is key in this constructivist approach to learning. Luckily, one thing this course was not short on was reflection. I have been able to reflect on my own educational journey each week through different methods as well as to learn about many new ones to put to use in my classroom.