Epistemological Beliefs and the Classroom

Wow! If one thing is clear from this week’s assignment, it’s that the amount of thinking that has gone into thinking is mind-blowing. Before I started this assignment, I had done quite a bit of highly specific research on various applications of certain learning theories. I had never delved specifically into the theories themselves on such a detailed level. I come away from this week feeling more knowledgeable as knowledge as a noun, and somewhat reassured in my own practice looking at knowledge as a verb.

I chose the theory of situated cognition as my theory of exploration because I feel it has great implications in the world of ELL. The idea of communities of practice and practice fields offers language learners authentic opportunities to better learn and apply language. As I look at my classroom and the methods and learning strategies I employ, I feel I go to great lengths in my attempts to create communities where my students can practice in the field of education. Though I don’t hit the mark perfectly, and this is somewhat for reasons beyond my control, my students participate in ‘near’ authentic environments, collaborate, evaluate, and reflect on their own learning and productions. My classroom is as close to a student-centered environment as I know how to create. My “focus is to support the learner to actively construct meaning” (Jonassen and Land, 2012).

When addressing integration of educational technology, I often find myself at a loss. In my current role as Classroom English instructor, I find the use of tools and production software an ill fit to the learning goals associated with my course. In using tech tools, I would expect my students to actively participate in creation and discussion. I would model and scaffold expected standards, focusing on collaboration and reflection. This style of learning is quite obscure in Korea and may challenge my students beyond the expected requirements of my course. This is not to say that I don’t use technology in some, limited fashion, but is more a statement about technology as needed and used by my students.

As an instructor, I use wikis to organize my course and keep students in constant contact with me and course requirements. I often use the monitor as a glorified white board and will sometimes use presentation software when needed. I have hope that the educational environment in Korea will allow for some use of constructivist learning theories. With this shift, more powerful applications of technology including blogging, using and creating podcasts, document collaboration and social media utilization will become relevant to student engagement and production.

References

Jonassen, D. H., & Land, S. M. (2012). Theoretical foundations of learning environments [Kindle edition]. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com/Theoretical-Foundations-Learning-Environments-ebook/dp/B001OLRNWC/ref=tmm_kin_title_0