My philosophy of education is shaped by both my personal learning experiences and a set five core standards that I feel are central to any successful learning experience. My personal learning experiences have been diverse; from kindergarten through college, I have had both positive and negative learning experiences. The positive learning experiences will stand out as examples of how I can help others learn. The negative experiences are models of what I will avoid if I have the opportunity to teach or train others.
The first of the five standards that I believe lead to success for both teachers and students is the foundational knowledge. Ensuring that students have the basics of the subject ingrained before moving on to more complex and comprehensive material is one of the most important aspects of the learning process. If a student does not know basic anatomy, then learning the diseases of one of the organs of the body will not be effective.
Having sound instructional strategies and appropriate curriculum materials is the second standard that is essential to teaching and learning success. For example, I intensely dislike participating in group educational activities. I always have. I much prefer to do work on my own, whether it is as a student in college classes, an employee at a conference, or any other academic or professional activity. I do see the value in group activities, but I really do dislike them. I have always assumed that most other students feel the same way. However, after taking many college courses, I have realized that most of my classmates enjoy group activities and prefer group effort over individual work. While this still amazes me, and I still don’t have any comfort level at all completing group tasks, I do understand that perhaps my students, staff, or mentees, should I have them, would benefit from more paired, small group, and large group interactive activities in my classroom or workplace.
The third standard that I have noticed is crucial to my own academic success and to that of others is assessment, diagnosis, and evaluation of learning activities. Students are not always aware of these factors as the educational process is underway, but the instructor must always be assessing, diagnosing, and evaluating all of the students to ensure that the learning activity is a productive one and that the individual students are actually understanding the material and developing from it.
Creating a comfortable and welcoming environment should be a part of any learning process, and it is the fourth standard that I believe leads to teacher and student success. Uncomfortable chairs, cold rooms, rigid teachers, and outdated materials all lead to an uncomfortable learning environment. It has always been difficult for me to concentrate in these types of situations, and I strongly believe that the body and the mind must be in a comfortable state in order to get the most out of any learning activity.
Finally, for the fifth standard that is central to a successful learning experience, I believe, is that of professional development. This means that teachers and instructors need to continue to learn and nursing professionals need to continue to learn. One of the most important aspects of professional development is participating in an ongoing community of co-workers and other health care professionals. Learning from mentors and leading mentees are both great ways to connect and discover new and better techniques, theories, and procedures.
Overall, most of my learning experiences have been positive. There have been times when projects or exams seemed overwhelming, but upon successful completion of them, I had a tremendous feeling of accomplishment. I plan to continue to my education, either formally or informally, via the methods listed in this philosophy of education.