Michael Fantauzzo

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Teaching Philosophy:  A Teachers Point of View

“Information is the currency of democracy.”

“Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.”

“If ignorance is bliss, why aren’t more people happy?”

“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”

Thomas Jefferson

The wonderful thing about democracy is that it empowers people to make choices.  Thomas Jefferson believed that people, free from government intrusion, would naturally choose to lead rewarding and productive lives in harmony with each other and nature.

I also believe that people are naturally curious and that learning should not be coercive or forceful.

In this spirit, I have challenged you to discover the benefits of both self-directed and cooperative learning.  The challenges we all face today, and will face tomorrow, will only be addressed when informed and motivated individuals work together to discover a constructive solution.  This classroom is a microcosm of that ideal.  We, the generations before you, have entrusted to you, the power to make choices that will not only benefit yourselves, but others as well.  This is a tremendous responsibility.   It is one of the driving reasons why you are being given such independence in your learning; it is a crash course in preparing for the future.

 What we know and believe about learning…

  • Learning results from experience.  We must do to learn.
  • Learning is a life-long endeavor.  You are learning even when you are outside of a classroom
  • To learn responsibility and independence, you must be given responsibility and independence.
  • Learning takes practice.  10,000 hours or 10 years of practice are required to become an expert.
  • Everyone’s brain is essentially the same.  All humans have the same potential.  This is true of EVERYONE in this room.
  • Requires the appropriate mindset:  Those who accept growth and embrace challenge and realize that failure provides feedback for development are more likely to be happier and more successful in life.
  • Teachers are no longer repositories of information.  The information revolution has changed that.  Our role is to collaborate with you to engage thoughtfully with information to improve the quality of your life and that of the world.
  • Learning should not be coercive. We will work with you to identify your strengths and your needs(not your weaknesses) so that what and how you learn here can allow you to lead productive lives (happy? fulfilled?).

For more information on my work in the Fellows program see my report,  Asynchronous Online Collaboration in AP Language/Composition and AP US Government/Politics.