Reflections on my portfolio

The main idea of this portfolio is to explore and present my teaching philosophy, theory and practices I endorse and practice. My intention is to take what has learned in the education field and apply understanding of neurophysiology, psychology and developmental theories in conjunction with my background in technology, business and mathematics in order to create a teaching system that works in accordance with the 21st century world and it’s latest inventions as well as keeping the ancient parts of our brains happy, so we can develop higher brain functioning and become fully integrated self-realized individuals.

My core thesis is that the entire experience learning should be on the 21st century, rather than 20th century style lecturing paradigm. Now, the academic world has evolved to understand human behavior and needs. Many industries have learned to leverage this understanding. Industries are driven by results and they implement only what adds to the bottom line. Education in America for the most part, however, is way behind in implementing the latest development in pedagogy. If America saw the importance of education, they could start to understand it and support it appropriately and get results similar to countries like Finland.

While majority of American Education remains on the level it is, this portfolio is built to function primarily within the current educational paradigm. This portfolio attempts to not only exceed the expectations of teachers in this educational system, but it also attempts to bring the teaching and learning experience to the appropriate level of 21st century. I am very happy how much I can show 21st century understanding, skills and technologies in this portfolio. In my future work, I intend to go even more to the 21st century paradigm, still satisfying the 20th century needs to the degree they are demanded of me.

Another core idea I present in this portfolio is to correlate the developmental phases with corresponding educational phases in schools. In my opinion, teachers should understand the development phases and how most of the challenges in the classroom are actually opportunities to give guidance to help children evolve to the next level in their development. From the experience, statistics and studies, we realize that there is much more alignment to do. Particularly, if we consider individual differences in development, the teaching methods and classroom management needs to be much more differentiated than what we currently we find, allowing for more effective individualized instruction and greater choice by students, according to their abilities and interests. I’m attempting to contribute to this alignment in this portfolio.

Having gone through the best highest scoring system in the world (PISA / McKinsey) and complemented that with consciousness based education – and variety of open minded educational innovations, I still think education is far from where it should be. This portfolio attempts to lessen the gap between ideal 21st century education and what is currently there. Even after this portfolio, there are lots of additional technologies and strategies I would like to incorporate in my teaching.

In my teaching/training/coaching/mentoring career, I intend to build a proper student profile first thing to consider their strengths and weaknesses, learning styles, and what makes them get excited about learning. I intend to do this by recognizing learning patterns and implementing suitable strategies. Content, learning methods and classroom management will be customized around that. There many  ways to learn mathematics and other sets of concepts and skills. Utilizing what students naturally use is one of the best approaches to make the learning experience as comfortable, fun and extensive as possible. One of the best signs of success is to get a student so enthusiastic that they spends extra time on the topic because they love it. This is something I have experienced, experience, have seen in my students and will trigger as much as possible in the future.

While I feel that many aspects of my teaching plans bring in real-life relevance, encourage independent thought, and demand creative and evaluative skills. An example would be the zero and negative exponent lecture which is pure mathematics, but I managed to make it relevant in the real life. I look forward to using my creativity in the future in making relevant connections to bridge the abstract and mundane.

Naturally we need to meet the standards such as Common Core standards. These standards will play a foundational role in my curriculum design as a basis of semester, unit and lesson goals(see lesson plans for an example). However, teaching methods can re-create a world of learning around these goals that work much better in the 21st century. Technology is only one part of 21st century learning. Another crucial part is the new understanding of human psyche, motivation and development of brain physiology at early age as well as later when becoming a high performing adult.

I intend to lead my students through an a-ha or “whoa” experience, which is what naturally happens during an a-ha experience characterized by alpha brain waves. To make this happen, we teachers sometimes need to be well prepared story tellers, psychologists and stand-up comedians. Putting on a professional production every day pays off in results. If learning is based on a peak experience, we can also get the results we are looking for.

For reflecting on the results, see what my students and co-operative students say.


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