Going Back to Look Ahead

In just sitting and thinking about where I want to go with my post this week, there is so much to consider when thinking about theories of knowledge, my own teaching philosophy and classroom practice, and any shift in my beliefs over my teaching career. Weird though, my first visit is not even to myself. Actually, I think back to my own teachers. I wonder, what direction they went with their own philosophy? That time period also saw a shift in technology available as well, and bless them for doing their best with it, and trying to make it an important part of the learning experience for their students.


A couple of years ago, the staff that I was a part of was challenged to come up with a “why” regarding our place in that specific school. It was a good chance to reflect on my own teaching philosophy, something that had changed a few times since getting into the profession. Taking into account the school and community I was serving, the climate of education, and the changes in the industry since I entered it, I arrived at the following “why”: To provide others opportunities so that they can do and become their best. What I liked about this shift is that it moved some accountability to the learner, and moved my role into more of a facilitator. The wording also makes me consider the changing climate of education and society… what can I do to keep student learning relevant to the world they live in?

Behaviourism – establishing routines – beginning of the year, time management, organization/structure

daily routine watch
Photo by Yury Zap on Adobe Stock


Cognitivism – Gagne’s 9 Events of Instruction; GRR; graphic organizers for writing and math; scaffolding in math, t-charts in various classes; differentiation to meet different student needs when it comes to organizing knowledge or information.

Hands on Storyboard movie layout for pre-production, storytelling drawing creative for process production media films. Script video editors and writing graphic in form displayed in maker shooting
Photo by smolaw11 on Adobe Stock

Constructivism – Social Learning Theory (Bandura) – collaborative learning – anytime group work is done and students are given freedom in how they demonstrate their learning. In Art, students were given freedom in how they went about learning about and creating dances for the three related outcomes – groups, learning opportunities, and how they chose to present or share their work; Thinking Classroom in math; Minecraft in various classes allows for interaction via a different medium

Photo from techspot.com

Connectivism – Right now the idea of connectivism (Siemans) is more relevant to my own learning – professional development (formal and informal) through professional learning communities (Sask Math Teachers) and connecting with other professionals than what the students experience. However, the more comfortable I become with utilizing connections that I have to increase my own learning, the more likely I am to find ways to apply connectivism to the students in our classroom. It is only a matter of time.

Shifting Beliefs

Over the course of my career, through my own discovery and experience, and the change in direction from decision-makers, I have learned the value of relationships and connections. In turn, this has led my teaching practices to evolve to a more constructivist approach, with some elements of cognitivism, and even less behaviourist components. It would be naive to believe that the changing needs of society, and what is available for students (and myself) to use in classroom environments has not affected my teaching practices as well.

Looking to the Future??

Happy kid playing outdoor against sea and sky
Photo by Sunny studio on Adobe Stock

Pondering where this will lead education, students, or teachers in the future, it is difficult to not picture a more connectivist approach to teaching and learning. Personally, I cannot see a complete abandonment of behaviorism, cognitivism, or constructivism in education. Rather, in an effort to keep up with changing technology and a “smaller” world, education will need to evolve to meet the needs that these changes require.

One thought on “Going Back to Look Ahead

  1. Thanks for your post Bart. I found it interesting that you brought up how our own instructors must have struggled with technological change. For me high school was in the mid to late 90s, so the arrival of the internet must have drastically changed the way they found and shared resources. One of my high school English teachers was 65 years old (it was her last year of teaching) and she had been on the job for 43 years. I can’t imagine the difference between 1956 and 1999. Email, video in the classroom, cassette players, and CDs all would have been non-existent. I wonder if it made for a better or worse teaching environment. On one hand it would be up to you and your colleagues to develop and share resources, on the other there wouldn’t be nearly as many distractions or demands placed on your time.

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