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richard styner

Educational Philosophy

We believe that human beings have an inherent and intrinsic desire to learn. If we can tap into this intrinsic motivation, giving the student 'permission' to excel, the net effect is much more powerful than extrinsic motivators. We believe the effective use of technology can bring us to the point where each student can pursue knowledge based on their own interests and curiosity. All students, as Dewey (2012) notes, come to a classroom with a lifetime of unique experiences and knowledge which will be different from any other. The teacher, therefore, needs to act as a bridge between what a student brings to class, and where they need to go. This is in line with the idea of “scaffolding” by Lev Vygotsky (and Bruner) (Ornstein and Hunkins, 2013). Reflecting back on our teaching style, it falls under the mixture of both existentialism and progressivism educational philosophies (Oral, 2014).

The goals for our students are to learn to work independently but also to collaborate and engage in group projects. We want to give our students the opportunity to be problem-solvers and critical thinkers. Our philosophy, therefore, is based on the idea of the student as the generator of knowledge, and the teacher a facilitator of that knowledge creation, rather than the unquestionable sole source. As teachers, if we can foster a desire within our students to learn, and that such an enterprise is worthy of their time and effort, imminently approachable and within the scope of their ability, we can solve many of the problems facing education today.