Understanding Learners-Me

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Assignment 2
Understanding Learners: Me as a Learner

Being a father of four gorgeous children I have always felt that I was an educator, a teacher, a leader, a mentor, as well as a learner long before I entered the teacher preparation course. I never realised how much children could teach me, especially about myself. When I would see the reflections of myself in my children I would, at the time, just consider them to be cute imitations. I would love it when my four year old would run his fingers through his ‘beard’ when he washed his face in the morning just as I did. But I would not be so pleased when my three year old would raise his voice to tell his older brother off. I would even have the nerve to admonish him after my wife telling me that he is only copying me. Through my children I have learnt a lot of behaviour management, especially my own behaviour, and they have taught me to be a ‘reflective father’. After only a semester into the course I now see everything in a different light. When things happen now, similar to the examples I have just mentioned, I cannot help relating them to Bandura’s social learning theory, or Vygotsky’s social constructivism (Churchill, 2007). In fact Pavlov, Skinner, Bandura, Piaget, Vygotsky and others now all live with me in my interactions with my children. The educating or teaching I performed on my children were only limited to my superficial understanding of the roles. I believed education to be the process of growing or increasing, through teaching, the individual’s knowledge, understanding, skills and abilities in things that were required to equip the individual for life. Teaching was the main means of this process for the actualisation of the desired growth, and learning, to me, was simply the acquisition of knowledge, understanding, skills and abilities; the end result of teaching. I did not deny, of course, the fact that a person can learn things without a teacher or being specifically taught. In a nutshell teaching was the means and learning the end in the process of education. That’s was how I saw things before I decided to formally enter the profession of teaching. And as such I was very concerned for the education of my children. My children never went to kindergarten. My wife and I thought we would be able to teach them more than they would’ve learnt at kindergarten. So we decided to give them a ‘head start’ for when they entered primary school, which is what actually happened. Two of my school aged sons are both a year ahead of their peers. After being examined by the school, one of them skipped prep and the other started prep at four years of age. They are now in grade two and three. Although they are ‘doing well’ and heading towards becoming ‘ideal students’ (Wadham, Pudsey and Boyd, 2007), according to what is generally accepted and expected of them, I now look back and admit that I would not have hurried them up so much. I admit that I treated them like empty vessels and used what Freire calls the ‘banking approach’ (1993), but I do not believe I have been too oppressive in my pedagogy. I was only a concerned father trying to help my children with basic literacy and numeracy. However, as my own philosophy of education is taking shape, I now have a different approach with my children. Even my wife senses the change in tone. Before I would make sure my son excelled in NAPLAN, and now I critique everything about what they are doing at school. Concern for my own children’s education was the biggest factor that lead me to wanting to become a teacher. I was convinced that they were not getting the best out of school. I just knew that I had to become an educator to make sure they ‘reached their highest potential’ and not suffered as I had. My own schooling experience overseas was a nightmare. After primary school in Australia my family moved back overseas where I completed my secondary education in a school which was based entirely on the factory-model or the...
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