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Keith A.

Doering EDAE620 PHILOSOPHY OF TEACHING English philosopher, Herbert Spencer, once said "The great aim of education is not knowledge, but action" (Anderson, 2011). My teaching philosophy over the years has been influenced by many factors; however, has evolved from feeling my job was to pass on knowledge to a feeling where I want my students to not recite facts; however, to apply the knowledge and skills to make meaningful changes. It has taken 22 years to reach this point and my journey started in 1989 when the United States Air Force cancelled my assignment to Bergstrom AFB (now Austin Bergstrom International Airport) and told me I was going to Goodfellow AFB to become an instructor. Historically, instructor duty is a special duty assignment which means individuals normally apply. In the Air Force, there is also a saying that you can be "volun-told" which means you volunteer for a job after being told you have to do the job. Being volun-told to become instructor in military technical training was a life-changing event that continues to shape who I am and who I want to become. My initial views on the purpose of education were formed in the military technical training classroom. I was given a prepared lesson plan on my career field and was told to personalize it by adding personal testimony in areas where my life experiences meshed with the subject being taught. Ultimately, my purpose was to pass on my knowledge and help the students pass each block of instruction by either recalling facts or applying skills to various problems. I continued to view my job as passing on knowledge until one of my mentors spoke at a class graduation and told the graduates his "head was full of useless knowledge." It was at that time I realized my job was not just passing on knowledge and skills; but teaching my students how to apply knowledge and skills to help them solve the everyday problems they would encounter when they entered the real Air Force. My job as an educator was clear, I was not someone in front of a class showing off my experiences, I was a person serving as a mentor, responsible for facilitating their personal development as young intelligence analysts. To this day, I see my role as a mentor and I love the challenges this brings. My military background has been centered around a very structured training environment where instructor qualifications, training development, delivery of instruction and student management are governed by Air Force instructions which some interpret as leaving very little wiggle room for thinking outside the box. This structured environment tells me my role is to guide my students through structured learning activities while providing feedback throughout the instruction. As I continue to grow as an educator, I now see my primary role as helping students identify and solve problems. I'm moving away from an educator who wants students to recall "useless knowledge" I want them to apply the knowledge to everyday problems. This personal transition requires a well thought out plan to the design and development of curriculum.

As a student and educator, I've always been more successful in structured environments where I've received feedback (either positive or negative) and been able to apply knowledge vice recall it. In every-day life, individuals look facts and procedures up if they're unsure. My work doesn't stop if I can't recall something, I've developed critical thinking skills which allow me to decide which resource to use in order to solve my problem. As an educator, my training program should closely mirror the work environment. This is why I want to remove rote memory from our courses and move towards problem solving as the primary method of teaching. Which method will be more effective, have a student sit in class, study facts, hopefully recall them for the test, and then dump them to make room for the next set of facts or teach the students a series of resources, teach them research skills and then present them with a question to research? My experience with military technical training exposed me to the Instructional System Design (ISD) model. I believe in the phases (Analysis, Design, Development, Implement and Evaluation) of ISD and feel if done properly, ISD will aide in the planning process of all educational systems. With a paradigm shift in how education is approached, there is still a need for clearly defined learning objectives. However, prior to developing learning objectives, an analysis should be accomplished to determine what needs to be taught. The analysis should be an objective review vice a subjective approach of one or two individuals deciding what they feel is important. All objectives should support the analysis and contain a clearly defined condition, behavior and standard of how it will be evaluated. Detailed lesson plans should be developed to support all objectives and broken down to logical teaching steps. The teaching steps should be further broken down into 50-minute teaching blocks. All the instruction should be taught from the known to unknown approach with using the learners knowledge as a foundation to build upon with the ultimate goal having the student satisfy the learning objective. My current job as a training evaluator has left me biased towards the positive outcome of evaluation of educational system. Evaluation should be built into the course to provide continual feedback to the students. I'm a firm believer in feedback and feel educators need to deliver it formally through appraisals, practice problems and tests. A lost art of educators is providing the informal feedback. Informal feedback can be as simple as asking questions in the class during a lecture or pointing the student in the right direction when you notice they're straying off the path. Effective feedback lets the student know how much they have increased their understanding either through knowledge or skills of new material. Training and evaluation should closely mirror real-world conditions. The most effective evaluation occurs when students are exposed to problem in a classroom setting or real-world environment and solves it. In addition to evaluation in the classroom, I believe there is a need for a formal evaluation mechanism to gather feedback from graduates and their supervisors in order to evaluate the overall effectiveness of the training program. This feedback should be used to modify the training program in order to meet the needs of the learners.

I learned a valuable lesson early in my career as an instructor. In my first class, I had an airman who struggled with basic concepts. I took it very hard when he failed a test because I felt I let him down and I should have taught it a different way. Ultimately, this airman failed out of our course and was placed in a different career field. In one of my next classes, I had three airmen fail the same test while the rest of class far exceeded my expectations for the test. When I reviewed the amount of time the three failing students had put in study-hall, I realized it's not always the teacher's fault when students dont succeed. There are often outside factors if the student doesnt learn during the educational process. In the case of my first airman, he lacked the aptitude to complete the course. Even if I had helped him to meet the minimum standard, he would have struggled in the real-world. In the case of my three airmen failing the same test, they were uninterested in the material and the job the Air Force had selected for them. They didnt work hard because they didnt see how it would benefit them in their daily lives. These two situations taught me valuable lessons. When I cover the objectives for the lessons, I always tie it back to the real-world and how the material can be applied to their daily lives. I also conduct a test analysis every time I administer a test, if I have a high-miss test question (more than half the class missing the same question), I determine what the cause is by reviewing my lesson plan and student material to decide where the students became confused. Ultimately, I've realize students do need to take partial ownership of their learning experiences. I've grown as an educator and was blessed with positive role-models who demonstrated great teaching techniques. I was also fortunate to realize educators cannot take a cookie cutter approach to teaching because every student and every group of students is different. I once had an airman (Airman Smith) who doubted his abilities. When challenged with more difficult problems, Airmen Smith would tell me he can't do it and how he didnt understand what I was saying. Every time Airmen Smith would say "I can't" I would respond by saying "Airmen Smith do you believe?" and I would make him tell me he believes. Even though Airmen Smith would get frustrated with me every time he had to tell me he believed, he made it through my course. On the night of his graduation dinner, he approached me and thanked me and said he understood what I was doing. I asked him if he believed and he responded "I believe Sergeant Doering, Thank You." Because of Airmen Smith, I believe in my role as an educator and I believe in our profession.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Anderson, S. (2011, December 01). Lock haven university. Retrieved from http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/eduquote.htm