Goal 1: Educators articulate, maintain, and develop a philosophy of education that is demonstrated in their practice.
My philosophy of online teaching is based on several learning theories, personal and professional experiences, and my willingness to continue my education.
I have been an elementary teacher for 3 years, and have learned that my teaching styles derive from the behaviorist, cognitivist, and constructivist learning theories. The behaviorist learning theory “focuses on that which is observable, how people behave and especially how to change or elicit particular behaviors,” (Moore, et.al, page 31). If I want to enhance my students’ learning experiences in online education, I believe I have to effectively maintain my students’ interest, motivation and collaboration between myself and with their peers. I believe students learn in an organized, controllable, and a safe learning environment. Based on my experiences with online classes, things need to be routine. For instance, assignments or lessons should all be approached in a similar way.
Another learning theory that I base my philosophy of online teaching is the cognitivist learning theory. This theory focuses on the instructor and the instructional design, how knowledge is to be transmitted to the learner, either by the instructor or by the instructional software,” (Moore, et.al, page 58).
“Online learning strategies must present the materials and use strategies to enable students to process the materials efficiently,” (Ally, 2004). For instance, scaffolding the content. I believe that an effective online teacher scaffolds the learning material. “Information should be organized or chunked in pieces of appropriate size to facilitate processing,” (Ally, 2004).
I’ve taken many online classes to know that a good instructor breaks up the content into small digestible bits, keeps instruction, lectures or videos to a minimum, manages transitions, assesses students knowledge prior to and after the lesson, allows group collaboration, and has students practice and demonstrate their knowledge in different ways.
According to “Theory and Practice of Online Learning,” to promote higher-order thinking on the Web, “online learning must create challenging activities that enable learners to link new information to old, acquire meaningful knowledge, and use their metacognitive abilities; hence, it is the instructional strategy and not the technology that influences the quality of learning.”
The last learning theory I base my philosophy of online teaching, is the constructivist learning theory. “The constructivist learning theory suggests that people construct their own understanding and knowledge of the world through experiencing the world, and reflecting on those experiences,” (Moore, et.al, page 60). I think one of the most important things we can do as online instructors, is outline our expectations thoroughly. “By articulating expectations and the role of the student in the course, we give the student the responsibility,” (Morrison, 2012). I believe an effective constructivist online educator gives their students’ options and flexibility to explore, be creative, and use their imagination on the Web. I want my students to be familiar with online environments by maintaining their online presence with peers and myself.
According to Ally, “learning strategies should be selected to motivate learners, facilitate deep processing, build the whole person, cater for individual differences, promote meaningful learning, encourage interaction, provide feedback, facilitate contextual learning, and provide support during the learning process.”
I believe an effective teacher (whether it’s online or face-to-face), recognizes when students are engaged or unengaged, when to transition between activities, organizes whole group or independent work time, has clear expectations for assignments, and collaboration between peers and the instructor, allow times for reflection and provides instant feedback.
I would use the three learning theories to teach content in different ways. For instance, “I would use the behaviorists’ strategies to teach the “what,” or facts, the cognitive strategies to teach the “how” or the processes and principles, and lastly the constructivist strategies to teach the “why,” or the higher level thinking that supports personal value,” (Ally, 2004).
Continuing my education is very important to me. With all of the technological advances, it is important that I stay up to date. I believe we need to stay current in research and continue learning new ways of how we can effectively teach our students, in and outside of the school environment.
I’ve taken online classes where I have had effective online instructors, who have demonstrated all of these exemplary attributes. My goal is to use the experiences I have gained in the classroom, what I have learned throughout the classes I have taken throughout my graduate career, and continuing my education, to effectively teach online education.
Ally, M. (2004). Theory and Practice of Online Learning. Retrieved December 06, 2016, from http://cde.athabascau.ca/online_book/ch1.html
Moore, M. G., & Kearsley, G. (2012). Distance education: A systems view of online learning. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Morrison, D. (2012, September 28). Five-step Strategy for Student Success with Online Learning. Retrieved December 06, 2016, from https://onlinelearninginsights.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/five-step-strategy-for-student-success-with-online-learning/