Portfolio Purpose and Educational Philosophy
My educational philosophy was formed many years ago when I discovered Maria Montessori’s educational methods. Her child centered approach emphasizing discovery learning started me on an educational journey, covering a list of prominent education thinkers such as, J. J. Rousseau, Jean Piaget, John Dewey, Jerome Bruner and Seymour Papert, just to mention a few. All these people had an impact on defining my educational philosophy, but the ideas that had the most impact on me were Seymour Papert’s theory of Constructionism, and Jerome Bruner’s ideas about education and learning, in particular discovery learning. Constructionism is based on Piaget’s Constructivism and the differences between the too is clearly defined in this quote by Dr. Papert: “Constructionism—the N word as opposed to the V word—shares constructivism’s view of learning as “building knowledge structures” through progressive internalization of actions… It then adds the idea that this happens especially felicitously in a context where the learner is consciously engaged in constructing a public entity, whether it’s a sand castle on the beach or a theory of the universe” (Papert, Constructionist Learning, 1990, p.3). Jerome Bruner’s Discovery Learning is based on the idea that if students were allowed to pursue concepts on their own they would gain a better understanding of their learning. According to him students should engage in discovery learning which involves the teacher providing guidance or scaffolding, organizing the curriculum in a spiral manner so that students are constantly building upon what they have already learned. These ideas have influenced my work as an educator and founder of an after-school organization and helped me develop a set of beliefs that make up my educational philosophy.
Seymour Papert's Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas
Jean Piaget's A Child's Conception of the World
Jerome Bruner's Actual Minds, Possible Worlds