I find the philosophy of learning to be central to any success I have in my classroom. Sometimes a student may not, over the course of the year, move significantly academically but will move forward philosophically and socially. This is still a very successful year as this philosophical and social movement will set them up for success in the future.
Philosophy of learning is not the “airy fairy” stuff I was once introduced to where a teacher allows their class to run amok and says “I am letting them find their own learning and not restricting their individuality by applying rules”. Takes a rare and gifted student to learn without guidance and structure.
A quick maths lesson. This idea of philosophy + a group of “regular” students=disaster.
I see philosophy of learning as the whys and how’s of learning and I make it a major focus for those students who need it most throughout the year. It is, like all learning, an ongoing process of introducing an idea and working with that idea throughout the year in a number of different ways.
Unlike regular subjects, much of the teaching is incidental, reinforcing the ideas during a maths or reading lesson, on the sporting field etc. Often it is good to present a whole class lesson (if time permits) but the gold work will be done in small groups supporting other lessons or individual work supporting the unmotivated and struggling students.
There are three main areas I work on when teaching the philosophy of learning:
- How we learn
- Why we learn (going to work)
- We are all different
I will address each of these three in detail in further posts.