|SHARE| Notes of reflection: Learning Theory and Teaching Philosophy

The lessons of thầy (Vietnamese term for "teacher") Hoạt left a profound impression on me. Lessons were not the most organized I have encountered. His wit scattered throughout the lesson. I viewed the lesson as a priceless exchange with a distinguished educator. What I remember the most is the proverb:


The road to hell is paved with good intentions

It is when brain trumps brawn. We must critique the opinions of others in order to form our own. We also learn about Vietnam's teaching philosophy (Triet ly giao duc). Thay Hoa has stressed the importance of a liberal education that emphasizes ethics education. A kind person comes before a well-known man. However, Vietnam does not have a one philosophy of education. I have read Fareed Zakaria's In Defense of a Liberal Education, but I am unsatisfied with his reasoning. I do believe, though, that liberal education promotes well-roundedness in students. Till this time, I still question what should be the philosophy of education of Vietnam.

Or simply, what is the philosophy of education of my teaching. I have always lived by John Locke words:


Education is a gentle application of the hand turns the flexible waters into channels, that make them take quite contrary courses, and by this little direction given them at first in the source they receive different tendencies and arrive at last at very remote and distant places (John Locke)

I view myself as a tiny dot in someone's life. My students will pass by and continue their journey of connecting these dots.


Thay Hoa also introduced Learning Theories. I went on additional research on the Self-Determination Theory. It was what I am missing in my current research. I've discovered a methodology for estimating the Aspiration Index. Lifelong learning is driven by intrinsic motivation, but current Vietnamese students are driven by extrinsic motivation. My objective is to learn more about the Theory so that I can develop effective teaching strategies to instill intrinsic motivation in my students. Key takeaways of the lessons were:


The learning process as following:

  • The brain plays a role

  • The learning environment makes a difference

  • Learning is based on associations

  • Learning occurs in cultural and social contexts

  • People learn in different ways

  • People think about their own learning

  • Learners’ feelings matter

The teaching approaches are:

  • Behavioral (observable performance)

  • Cognitive (operational constructs, memory structures, and mental processes – Knowledge exists as objective reality external of the learner).

  • Constructivist (construction of mental representations by the learner rather than the teacher, knowledge is mentally constructed and subjective based on existing knowledge – internal of the learner) >>> Cognitive Constructivism – Social Constructivism.

  • Humanist (the learner as a whole person)

  • Connectionist (distributed knowledge / networking / digital age learning) (cf. Connectivist view (Thorndike - Behaviorism)

After knowing all these approaches, we develop our lesson plan with teaching activities associated directly with the approaches.


Trivia: Osen recently won the Vietnamese version of The Masked Singer. I was very impressed by her teaching methodology. When instructing, explain why first and we do not require greed in personal growth.



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