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Philosophy of Education

Ms. Alex L. Brimhall


Learning is the most important pursuit in life. It prepares us for careers, helps us conquer past
mistakes, allows us to obtain new skills and trades, develops our interpersonal awareness, and
invigorates our minds and bodies. Learning isnt constrained to a classroom or textbook, but
permeates our interactions, movements, and thoughts.
My role as an educator is not to teach, but to facilitate learning. When I was a student, I thought
that a teacher was successful if and only if her students earned good grades. Ive found that some
of my greatest triumphs as a teacher came from students who did not receive high marks; they
were moments when these students struck a chord with the material, finally grasped the concepts
that were escaping them, or found something that they were passionate about. Student success
has marked my success as an educatorbut its important to note that student success isnt
necessarily an assembly line of straight As to a high school diploma to a college degree to a
steady career. Student success is defined individually, and attained by a process of setting an end
goal, outlining a realistic path to get there, and then reaching those steps along the path. Every
rung on that ladder to success is going to involve learning in some form. Its my responsibility,
as well as that of other educators, parents, and the students themselves to ensure this learning
occurs and moves them upward.
We are learning about how the world works all the timecollecting information with our senses
and using it to construct a model for how our universe operates. Whether the way we perceive
the world is representative of truth is a matter I have to confront. As a physics learning
facilitator, I employ a form of modeling instruction. In my classroom, students gain knowledge
about their physical world by observing physical phenomena, asking questions, and developing
controlled experiments to try and answer those questions. When data conflicts with their current
mental model, students are forced to restructure how they believe the world works. This
observation-based learning doesnt favor those with strong mathematical backgrounds, and puts
students on more equal footing.
In my teaching program and in my time as a scientist, I spent a lot of time analyzing situations to
see what conclusions I could draw and what I could do with those conclusions. If these hours of
careful thought have taught me anything, its that the real world is complex, and what seems to
be caused by one thing may have an underlying cause elsewhere. This cautious mindset is
important in a learning environment since students are complex systems, and bring with them
their own personal preconceptions, paradigms, classroom expectations, methods of
communication, physical and intellectual struggles, and behavioral nuances. I have been learning
to balance, through trial and introspection, the necessity of a generalized unit plan/curriculum
and a personalized learning experience for my students. Its required me to analyze my own
archetypes, be attentive to each of my students, establish open communication, and question each
action with the students success in mind. This process has been tiring and sometimes painful,
but the fruits of it have manifested themselves in better student-teacher relationships, increased
student confidence, and improved conceptual competency.