About Me

CVitae ~ G.Andrew Page April 2019 | Brief Bio Video (1:21)

My Story  |  Educational Philosophy

~ A presentation on July 15, 2015 ~
Savannah Technical College, Savannah, GA (49 slides)


 My Philosophy of Education
by
G. Andrew Page, Ph.D. 


I prefer the metaphor of the
“navigator” as opposed to the more popular conceptualization of “facilitator”
when describing and defining my educational philosophy. You are not the
controlling captain but represent the individual who points out the way for a
safe and fulfilling journey. In order to support or scaffold the learning of
others, a navigator must have a true passion for education as well as the
content. It MUST be readily apparent from all students and this dynamic evolves
over time into a contagious part of their demeanor. I am a strong believer in
diversity and my background as a math educator teaching for 10 years in the
inner city of Savannah, Georgia has made me thankful for the opportunity to
make the world a more informed and equitable place to live. The experiential
learning alone has afforded me an epistemic transformation.

My dissertation and subsequent
publications embody themes of social justice, equity, and empowerment with educational
technology. We, as a society, can only advance as quickly and effectively as we
can communicate our ideas and the power and promise of technology can support
these efforts of empowerment. These passions are what brought me out of my
“comfort zone” at the University of Georgia to work in an environment where I
would not only be personally challenged in many ways, but, where the need was
greatest due to the societal disparities. While working at the University of Alaska
and Alaska Pacific University (2004-current), I witnessed the marginalization
of Native Alaskans along with the persistent poverty and disenfranchisement. I
have been very fortunate and honored to have been associated with the
opportunity of navigating the learning of those in the “Last Frontier”. We are
all teachers. We are all learners.

Each and every educator must venture above and
beyond the mundane average to meet the diverse learning needs of all students. Instead
of the learner adapting to the way a professor teaches, I strive to adapt to
the preferred manner in which each student learns. We are planting seeds that
require our utmost attention and nurture. When we give of ourselves to students
a part of us continues to live; conversely, when we deny, an element of us all
dies. It is incumbent that the navigator promotes the learners' natural
curiosity and inquisitiveness, as well as, fostering a deep appreciation for
knowledge and learning. You must not only be a subject matter expert but also
model best practices in your educational practice. It is an inherent
responsibility that I take very seriously. My philosophy transcends Maslow’s
self-actualization
to
enter the realm of what I would call “meta-actualization” where the focus is
the well-being and growth of the learner and not merely the concept of
self-fulfillment. Specifically, in terms of philosophical schools of thought,
my educational practice has been influenced by Gardner’s
Theory of Multiple Intelligences
, Bandura’s
Social Learning theory
, Kolb’s Experiential Learning, Dewey/Vygotsky’s approach to constructivism and Mezirow’s
Transformational Learning theory.

As a reflective practitioner, I have also learned
much from my students and their countless displays of personal courage and
enlightenment. It is a symbiotic relationship. Metaphorically speaking, my educational
philosophy transcends the approach of giving an individual a “fish” so they can
eat for one day and then go home with a momentary sense of accomplishment. Nor
is my philosophy about merely teaching students how to fish for knowledge so
they can feed themselves each and every day. A navigator must go beyond mere
instruction. It is requisite for the navigator to help students discover the
path to the good streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans where students can locate
their respective epistemological harvests. A navigator would also challenge the
student to explore the polluted streams and rivers so that they can make a
difference through finding a humane solution.

In more practical terms, my teaching philosophy
uses proven empirical research best practices of instruction with emerging
and assistive educational technologies that promote 21st Century learning. It involves such items as avatars, blogs, social networks, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, Personal Learning Environments (PLE’s), and many more tools of the “Semantic Web”. Most importantly, effective and “deep learning pedagogical considerations combined with the application of a
research-based practice that informs is at the heart of my teaching philosophy.
Enduring boring lectures that do not engage or challenge learners to think
critically has been an issue for me during my years as a student. It has been
my experience that making learning “fun” by promoting the natural
inquisitiveness and applicability of knowledge is what inspires students to
effectively problem solve, create workable solutions, innovate, communicate,
and collaborate for positive outcomes. Montessori, Dewey, Vygotsky, and others
write about this phenomena and framework which is integral to my educational
philosophy. The navigator must never lose this idealistic foresight, give up
hope or become lackadaisical in their responsibilities to learners. They must
encourage positive learning outcomes through a variety of tools such as project
or problem-based learning, collaborative learning, kinesthetic
learning
, and more, while at the same time applying the latest advances in empirical research so that their learning is driven by informed decisions associated with best practices. Finally, a navigator will help nurture a student so that they can one day write and reflect on their
experiences and inspire others.  Perhaps they will write a poignant
self-reflection of their worldview and experiences that have shaped, inspired,
and resonate deeply not only in their consciousness but in their future
vocational endeavors. However, a vision is, by definition, both expansive and
extreme. Revolutionary ideas are often viewed with bias and uninformed
perceptions which paralyze and promote hegemony. Even a surface level view of
our country today would substantiate this claim. The power of the navigator to
articulate a vision and inspire with substance cannot be underestimated. This
is a lesson which endures a lifetime. My approach is to transcend the status
quotient and do no more than simply prepare learners for an even-spirited,
well-protected, and antiseptic worldview as if they are in an isolation
chamber. 

It has been my experience that effectively using
the technological tools of our time to genuinely foster a collaborative
environment is not only plausible but conveys a deeper understanding and
consciousness of learning and living. This is just one of several pedagogical
approaches by which teachers may experience an initial disorienting dilemma.
However, it has also been my experience, a true transformation does not occur
without discombobulating overtones as our imagination soars with energy and
vitality.

 For me, and along the same line of thought as John Dewey, education is life and this is what it means to be human. My philosophy of education through the navigation of
learners is derivative from valid and reliable experience. My confidence and
determination for all learners to persevere and endure the daily lifelong learning struggles can lead us from debilitating hopelessness into the light of hope. 

~G.Andrew Page
March 2019


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