by Wesley Fryer
Revised in December 2005
Education is a gradual process of meaning making. Everyone views the world through their own set of lenses or filters, and the mind of the learner attempts to connect new information to existing schema to make new connections. It is highly influenced by social context, and affective factors concerning the learner, the teacher, and their environment. These connections and constructions in the brain become "knowledge." Education can be intentional or unintentional. Education has both intrinsic as well as instrumental value.
The school is a laboratory for the mind. The student should be exposed to new ideas, methods, techniques, and experiences, to further develop their own capacities to adapt, change, learn and grow. A key goal of the school is to develop LITERATE community members, conversant with a variety of issues using a variety of communication methods and media. The school is not confined to a building: "school" can take place anywere minds meet and engage in reflective inquiry.
Education should aim to not only impart shared cultural knowledge, but should also seek to develop capacities for ethical judgment, reasoned risk taking, leadership, creative thought, self-discipline, and individual initiative. Education should socialize students to become informed and active democratic citizens. Teamwork and collaborative learning should be both ends and means of the educational enterprise. The purpose of education is not to merely connect students with content, but rather to connect students with people. Through meaningful relationships students learn content as well as skills.
A variety of instructional strategies should be employed to teach, because students learn in different ways. This includes approaches which involve all the senses. Assessment methods should be equally diverse, and students should not be restricted to a single form of mastery demonstration. Educational technology can serve as a transformational change agent for instructional pedagogy, encouraging students and teachers to authentically engage with each other on topics of relevance and genuine import to their lives.
A delicate balance must be struck between promoting social values / shared community values and and promoting an amoral / relativistic / atheistic / secular agenda. Certainly the school should develop knowledge, respect, and love for democratic values. The role should go deeper, however, into "character education" and "values education."
* This is my own creed, using the same organizational style as John Dewey's slightly more famous version. I have moved this from a static webpage to a Wiki page so my evolving ideas about education and pedagogy can be compared.
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