Educational Philosophy Statement

Dan Storie

My philosophy of education can be summed up in one phrase: "To educate is to transform." To transform an individual from ignorance, self doubt, dysfunctional behaviors, and guilt. The highest goal of education is for a student to discover how to grow mentally, emotionally, socially and spiritually. I take on the role of inspiring and building up my students' raw skills and talents so that the students can actively build from their past experiences to a greater level of knowledge/truth. My goal is for my students to develop self worth as they become more like how they are treated rather than how they may feel about themselves. Eventually, they will come to know how valuable they are to God, as well as others.

I believe in identifying my students' greatest assets to help them achieve his or her greatest human possibility. Weather it be spiritual, mental, social, or physical, how can I help this student reach their greatest potential? Often teachers manipulate students to coerce them to act and behave as we wish, only giving acceptance based upon performance. This form of education does not produce long term behavior modification. It may alter the activity outward, but it will not transform the inner person.

I have discovered the best model of education is one that allows students to learn cooperatively; to provide an environment where students can work together to accomplish shared learning goals. Allowing students to reaffirm their knowledge with each other, then share their ideas and construct meaning from the materials they have studied, thus producing positive team interdependence. Learning then becomes a social process, where they adjust their attitudes and behaviors to gain the skills necessary for a life that works effectively with others.

My lessons are designed so that my students will be working together in small groups as they contribute to the completion of their assignments. The scriptures are true, educationally speaking, when they state that "two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! . . . Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." Eccl 4:9-12 (NIV.) A learning group becomes a sharing community and the members of the group become equally responsible for the learning of their group mates. Students become responsible for their own learning and it becomes up to them to ensure that they are learning something useful, meaningful and interesting from the course. Knowledge gained that has personal meaning will then be retained throughout their lifetime, rather than simply to be memorized for the final exam, and then soon forgotten.

My philosophy is in contrast to "Survivor" mentality, where competitive and individualistic learning uses grades to divide the students into winners and losers. A grading system should not be used as a way to weed out defective students but rather used as evidence of learning. Tests should be used to measure understanding and reevaluate weather concepts have been grasped. I wish to follow the example of Christ in Isaiah 40:11 and teach to feed my flock like a shepherd, to gather the lambs [young] in my arms, to carry them in my bosom, and gently lead those that are with young [slow].