Monday, July 15, 2013

Statement of Philosophy

     "Life is a mystery to be lived, not a problem to be solved"

                                                                  Soren Kierkegaard

This quote has resonated in my mind since I first read it in a philosophy class in college.  I am still trying to articulate the meaning I find in that statement.  Perhaps it expresses something about my educational philosophy?  Perhaps I have always wanted to change it to read: "Life is a mystery to be lived and a problem to be solved"?

I think life is all about the joy of teaching and learning.  My basic tenants of education at this point in my life are:

  • Learning is an intrapersonal experience where "intellectual discourse" may lead to knowing something or changing one's thoughts about something.
  • There must be some form of struggle with the concepts and ideas before you make them your own or understand them (Piaget's idea of equilibration)
  • Our desire to know and learn needs to be encouraged.  The role of the teacher is to tap into the student's curiosity by posing probing questions and offering adventurous experiences.  Education is power and anyone who says "ignorance is bliss" is self oppressive and can not be tolerated.
As a learner and teacher I have been influenced by some of the ideas of Jean Piaget, John Dewey, Racherl Carson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and many others.  There are people who challenge the views of Piaget, for example, Brainerd, C. (1978a). Piaget 's theory of intelligence. Englewood Cliffs,NJ: Prentice-Hall.  A discussion of the opposing views could be a separate blog entry.

I think that learning involves change.  We can be changed when we encounter a new experience or idea that does not fit into our "mental file cabinet" and we need to shuffle the papers in our files around to make a new file in our brain.

As I project into the future and think about education over the next 25 years I see the rate of changing perspective or shuffling around new information in one's brain as well as the quantity of information available as key ideas to consider.  I am sure I will explore my changing role in the digital world in depth over the course of this year.


  1. Well said. I agree with the idea of struggling with concepts before making them your own. I've been experiencing a lot of that this past week!