Why is a well-articulated education philosophy important?
An educational philosophy is a personal statement of a teacher’s guiding principles about “big picture” education-related issues, such as how student learning and potential are most effectively maximized, as well as the role of educators in the classroom, school, community, and society.
We operate Cambridge International Schools, with CIE- and GED based curricula. Academic excellence is paramount to us, and the nature of our external exams have a significant bearing on our teaching philosophy. As these exams for the most part are skills and knowledge based, and generally exclude coursework, we put a lot of emphasis on curriculum proficiency in order for students to learn the specifics required.
Nonetheless, we are firm believers in cultivating independent thought and innovation, something we believe is best achieved using progressive teaching methods. Our educational approach is therefore one of blended learning.
We are firm believers in an educational philosophy anchored in socio-constructivism, where students actively participate in problem-solving and critical thinking regarding a learning activity which they find relevant and engaging, thereby & “constructing” their own knowledge by testing ideas and approaches based on their prior knowledge and experience.
At the same time, we believe that students need to be given a minimum knowledge base and skills via the more traditional methods to enable students to work effectively with the tasks they are given. Such educator-directed instruction is mainly to be used for transferring the optimal factual knowledge required for students to handle more complex learning activities involved in independent learning.
To ensure we cultivate independent thought and innovation in accordance with our school vision, a designated proportion of the lesson time is dedicated to an extended part of the curriculum. We strongly believe learning methods that are embedded in authentic situations i.e. Situated learning.
Situated learning as such occurs when students work on authentic tasks that take place in real-world setting. In other words, the focus is on learning by doing, and on addressing real problems. IT is a powerful aid to “doing” and to “addressing real problems” Thus, Situated Learning and IT work well together.
We also believe that Situated Learning and Constructivism are compatible and mutually supportive. Learning thus is doing, and it will improve logical thinking processes, including search for information, concept learning, hypothesis formulation and testing, and creative thinking.
To quote the Chinese philosopher Confucius: “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”