Educational Philosophy

Being human gives us consciousness to be aware, to be curious, to be social, and have the capacity to intervene for ourselves and in the world. One form of intervention is learning and teaching. We teach and learn because we are curious. Curiosity is the motivation to learn. It stimulates questions and critical reflection and initiates searching. As we search we intervene, which is to teach ourselves. Searching is never done, which makes us incomplete. Searching creates the possibility for the creation of knowledge and our incompleteness makes it possible to learn.

I know what I know because of my quality of learning. Quality of learning depends on creative depth of thought to move beyond the ingenious curiosity of simple folk represented by common sense, conventional wisdom, and rote learning. We learn and knowledge results from pure experience and knowing and using a rigorous methodological procedure with ingenuity and critical thinking represented by - deep understanding, ingenious curiosity, and epistemological curiosity.

My search for knowledge is restricted by authority and freedom. Freedom can range to doing whatever a person wants at the expense of others, which is anarchy. Or Freedom can be restrained by the ethics we choose, but we always have the freedom to transgress. Ethics with Democracy as the social glue.

Education is ideological. The insidious nature of ideology is its ability to make itself invisible. To educate requires a recognition that our beliefs and ideas are a product of our condition and conditioning. While we may strive to be objective, we must understand objectivity always contains within it a dimension of subjectivity. Therefore, we must understand all ideas and opinions should continuously be considered as subjective - open to investigate the origins, history, and consequences associated with them.

Educators must have qualities or virtues such as: a generous loving heart, respect for others, tolerance, humility, a joyful disposition, love of life, openness to what is new, a disposition to welcome change, perseverance in a struggle, a refusal of determinism, a spirit of hope, and an openness to justice. A pedagogical practice that provides autonomy for students is not possible with one size fits all standardized instruction.

Learners must outmaneuver the banking system. We must teach the learner how to approach the learning process in a manner that will make their objects of learning knowable. Help students recognize they are the architects of their own cognition process.

Beliefs on Education

Summary

I teach because I am curious and search for understanding. In doing so I notice things and intervene. I am secure enough to share my curiosity and questions. I am demanding enough to require sufficient research and reflection to draw conclusions. And through these actions and interactions, I educate and educate myself. I do research so as to know what I do not yet know and to communicate and proclaim what I discover. I respect autonomy and know learning and democracy requires this kind of practice.

 

Dr. Robert Sweetland's notes
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