For our week four discussion we were given three loaded questions to answer:

  • What is the connection between philosophy (including your own, as determined via the PAEI), theory, and our common values (derived over the last three weeks)?
  • Which philosophical and theoretical position(s) best supports our common values? How?
  • And, why should we care? In honor of Ms. Tina Turner, what’s philosophy got to do with the design of eLearning experiences?

The discussion for the week started off slow. If everyone else was like me, they went back everyday, reread the questions and thought some more about it before posting. We all stated our PAEI scores and discussed how our common values relate to philosophy. Some of us believe that our values create our philosophies, where others think that philosophies create our values. I almost believe it’s a, which comes first, the chicken or the egg? type question. They are very inter-related. A few of us tried to state which philosophies our values fell into, but there was never a consensus and in fact, all five philosophies were named at one point.

My best contribution to the group was:

“I don’t know if this answers the question, but last year in APS, we were told of this new “workshop” model for teaching English. Most of the teachers complain about it. It’s not really teaching and anything else you can think of. In reading these few chapters I’ve decided that APS has changed there philosophy, while most of the teacher haven’t and this is creating problems. If we don’t recognize what our philosophies are and how those relate to the philosophies of companies or school districts we may work for, we may just be creating more headaches for ourselves. If we know the similarities and differences, we can kinda meld them together when needed to fit everyone’s needs. I think APS would have less resistance if they approached teachers about philosophies and the differences and even made them take the PAEI, then to just say do it.”

I believe this was my most effective contribution, because it was the most concrete response to the “Why should we care?” question and based on the comments and discussion after, I think it was more stimulating than some of the others’ “Why we should care?” answers.

I think some of the most valuable parts of the discussion stemmed from questions brought up from others:

  • What is the difference between philosophy and theory?
  • How philosophies effect our teaching? Is it possible to teach using someone else’s philosophy?
  • Can philosophies be flexible?
  • How is technology changing education?

These were the main points in our discussion. I’d never thought about the difference between philosophy and theory, but when it was asked I realized most of us had similar ideas, but had just as had a time putting it into words. Essentially, philosophies are your beliefs that lead to which theory (practice) you will use.

Another key point, was the discussion of the changing philosophies or flexible philosophies. Many good points were made in this context and we all had a variety of opinions on this one. From no, your philosophy can not change, to it changes with every situation. I think when it comes down to it, there are aspects of our philosophies that are steadfast and will not change, but there are other parts that if we are to be effective need to change (or at least we need to be open-minded) to fit the situation.

I’ve held off on writing this blog, as this was a big discussion for me. I really see the value of philosophies and that we can have the same common value, and different philosophies to get there. I really wish I’d had this philosophy discussion before I taught last year, but then again, maybe I wasn’t in the right place and now this means something to me and last year it wouldn’t have. I’ve combated my teaching friends with philosophy discussions this week, trying to explain everything I’ve gotten from this discussion, but it’s not the lightest subject matter. :-)

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