After taking the TPI, I have to say that I agree with the results. I scored considerably lower on the transmission section (i.e., 23) which to me makes sense. Part of my philosophy is the notion that learners who have a choice in the content, process, and product they are to be involved with will be more motivated and empowered to actively participate in the learning process. Although there are times when I take the lead, I am much more comfortable when I´m in a facilitative or coaching role, as Mortimer pointed out in his “Paideia Program” (1983).
I´m essentially dead even on the Apprenticeship, Developmental, and Nurturing scales (40, 41, & 40 respectively) while a little lower on the Social Reform scale, 36 points. As an English as a foreign language educator, much of my philosophy has to do with taking learners from where they are and building on prior knowledge and experiences. This typically involves the notion that “doing and learning are synonymous” (Larsen-Freeman, 2003, p. 14). In the same vein then, learning a new language also occurs at the same time that one is increasing understandings and individual dispositions or habits of mind.
Scoring slightly lower in the social reform scale, I recognize the importance of social context within language learning. But this can lead to a complicated pursuit in determining how much time to spend on the multitude of social contexts that a particular language learner might be exposed to in the future. I am careful at how much of my time is spent on instruction and assessment as they pertain to sociocultural discourse unless the learners request it, I see a particular need, or the situation presents itself whereby discussing such discourse leads to an interesting and motivating teachable moment.
Language learning within the principles of connectivism for me is quite interesting. Content as well as language is changing constantly, so I definitely see a need to focus on both ontology and epistemology within language education. I see great flexibility in what language learners are given the choice to learn, above and beyond just the language. Typically, syllabi are stated as behavioral objectives that typically are limited to language objectives embedded with “shallow” themes (i.e., health, family, etc.). My interests center on how understandings (for cognitivists) or connections can be formed as language and knowing about language are learned as well. In other words, understandings, knowledge, skills, and dispositions all become means and ends, which are typically stated in terms of expressive outcomes – that is as an “educational encounter” (Sergiovanni, 1999, p. 81).
I agree with Siemens when he states that connections are formed at the neural, conceptual, and social “levels”. I think this serves the language learner well, especially in terms of the social aspect of network creation since now technology allows language learners from around the world to interact with each other to a much higher degree. This also opens up the “playing field” in that language learners now have at their disposal a wider range of “experts” to draw from.
Larsen-Freeman, D. (2003). Teaching language: From grammar to grammaring. Boston: Heinle.
Mortimer, A. (1982). The paideia proposal. New York: MacMillan.
Sergiovanni, T. (1999). Building community in schools. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.