My Personal Learning Philosophy
My teaching philosophy arises out of my lived experience, and is rooted in living systems theory. The idea that personal transformation has a ripple effect that leads to social transformation. I believe in honouring and respecting the inherent intelligence and wisdom embodied within each individual, no matter their age, culture or their perceived status in society. My learning experience has taught me that each human being has their own unique style of arriving at truth, and that learning is a continual process of self discovery and self awareness.
I have a personal story to share that clarifies my my teaching philosophy and why it is a good fit for the learning and teaching model within this organization. Also, it forms the basis of why I want to teach. Although, teaching is the terminology most frequently used, I see myself as a facilitator of learning.
I am a self directed learner who is passionate about learning. However, for several reasons I failed to excel in the school system and at university. It was not until attending graduate school at Royal Roads University in my early forties that I finally came to understand why the educational system had failed to support me on my learning journey.
When I was in Grade 9, I found that I could answer complex math problems with a fairly high degree of accuracy. However, when asked by the teacher to explain my process and write it on the board, I simply could not. My process felt random and it certainly was not linear and I was not able to translate into language how I arrived at the answer. I just knew. This inability to articulate logically how I knew what I knew affected me in a very profound and life changing way. I felt it must be the result of a learning disability and the phenomena contributed to the mental models I formed of myself from that point forward. As a result of my confusion, I concluded that I must not be very bright. I felt so embarrassed, that I eventually dropped out of the academic program and enrolled in the vocational stream of students. I loved learning, but I could not understand my unique gift and no teaching professional at that time was able to offer any explanation, or support. As a result of the lack of support, I also did not feel safe in the learning environment. What I really needed was a role model to validate my way of being as having value in the world.
Eventually, I did go on to college and I rose to the challenge retaking all of those math courses I dropped out of years ago, and feared so much. By that time in my personal evolution I was able to follow a step by step process to arrive at the correct answer, and articulate my procedure. However, I still carried the belief that something wasn’t quite right. This belief also led to a nudging feeling that I did not belong in mainstream society as I felt most resonant with the artists, the poets, philosophers, writers and visionaries of society.
In my early forties while attending first year of my graduate studies in leadership, I learned through Myers Briggs (MBTI) that I was an INFP. According to Myers Briggs, people who self identify as INFP have a learning style that is introverted, intuitive, feeling and perceptive. My learning process is certainly random, non-linear, holistic and multidimensional. The information in the MBTI stated that Intuitive learners often knew the answers to math problems without knowing how they arrived at the answer. This was my aha moment! I finally understood the WHY of my math challenge in high school. The relief was enormous, and I was finally able to see and understand myself more clearly and let go of the false perceptions formed so long ago in high school.
Lastly, as a mature woman and self directed individual I do not want to memorize information as discovered, taught and instructed by a professor just because he or she works for a university and told me that certain information was truth. I do not want to be tested on my ability to memorize. As an adult learner, with a life time of experience and knowledge, I desire to learn and discover truth that resonates within my own being. I love the process of researching and discovering truth for myself, but feel great resistance when I am told what truth is and tested on my memory, verses my critical thinking and reflection on information as presented.
I understand that far to often learning environments only recognize the dominant learning styles of students. As a result, most of my life has been dedicated to teaching in community based learning programs working with a broad spectrum of society, including: indigenous peoples, youth at risk, women and adult learners. The learning journey is a slow flowering of human potential and as a result of my challenges in the educational system I am able to connect compassionately with students who often do not fit into the flow of mainstream society. I understand that each human being perceives and understands life very differently, and each learner embodies a unique gift to be shared in a safe and supportive environment. I am a facilitator on the learning journey, and share in a way that respects the individual and allows each person to discover truth as it resonates within their own heart.