Teaching Perspectives
I recently took the Teaching Perspectives Inventory. It is a fun little test to take, particularly if you like those little Quizilla things. Except you don't get a cool picture of a car or a cup of coffee for your blog. This is some serious research put together by some PhD types studying education in Asia and North America. The paradigm is a little off, as evidenced by the fact that I do not fit anywhere in it. Or I am a little off which is also a possibility.

I liked how they put together their framework by asking a variety of questions about education which fall in three different categories: beliefs, intentions and actions. What we believe about education should naturally be reflected in our stated goals (or intentions) for education. Unfortunately, our actions often reflect neither our stated beliefs nor our goals. Sometimes this is because we do not always really believe what we say we believe. More often, especially in the case of education, it is because we have not thought about it long enough to realize their is a discrepancy. We are most likely to teach our children the way we were educated whether or not this methodology reflects our own beliefs about education and what we hold dear. When all three come together, we will be the most effective in our teaching.

The fundamental difficulty I have with the analysis of the data is that it presupposes an atheistic worldview. Five perspectives are outlined, each of which seems to me to be emphasizing one aspect of a larger, socialist perspective. At first reading, Transmission, with its emphasis on learning content "in its authorized or legitimate forms," and Social Reform, with its emphasis on deconstructing established ways of thinking, appear to be polar opposites. The problem is that there has been enough of a shift in our nation's educational philosophy that the principles behind what is being taught in the first classroom are not substantially different than that of the social reformers. Students may have a broader knowledge of facts within the content areas, but the basic worldview is the same: that the individual is subordinate to the collective.

So, I made up my own paradigm. Because I like where the TPI begins, I too started with reflecting on basic beliefs. I started with a basic philosophy of government, or who is sovereign, and looked at how that naturally would affect the role of the learner and the teacher. I then looked at the goals of education which would naturally be held by that belief system. Finally, I looked at the actions, or methodology, which would most naturally lead to the stated goals. Here is my summary (unfortunately, you will have to click on it to actually be able to read it):

Now y'all have a neat little graphic organizer which perfectly summarizes my wordview. And I fit in it. If the rest of the world doesn't, I guess it is because the rest of the world is a little off. It couldn't be me. Really.

, , , , ,