Free human dialogue, wandering wherever the agility of the mind allows, lies at the heart of education. If teachers do not have the time, the incentive, or the wit to provide that; if students are too demoralized, bored, or distracted to muster the attention their teachers need of them, then that is the educational problem which has to be solved- and solved from inside the experience of teachers and students.

Theodore Roszak

Key words:Learning, Students, Classrooms, Technology, and New

I believe in building communities of learners. I believe in free human dialogue and the wanderings of agile minds. I believe in trust and inspiring students and providing them with the academic and social skills that will enable them to fulfill their human potential as responsible global citizens.

Education should heighten student awareness and engagement in social, environmental, and intercultural activities, and that technology should be used as a meaningful and effective part of this educational process.

Human beings learn by sharing. We learn by communicating. We learn by being honest in our dealings. We learn through expression. We learn by being open and passionate and curious. We learn when we are engaged and involved.

My name is Jabiz Raisdana. I am a teacher, a father, a husband, and an artist. I am an avid reader, writer, blogger, and photographer. I dabble in amateur filmmaking and strum the guitar now and then. I am here to share my thoughts on education in hopes of finding employment at a school that shares my educational philosophy.

My philosophy is a simple one, and in this age of jargon, unfortunately not an original one; I want to provide an inquiry-based, constructivist approach; teaching students how to learn by instilling processes for lifelong learning. My goal is to instill a sense of didactic expedition.  I want to empower students to not only seek answers, but be able to raise essential questions, by creating less of a classroom and more of a community, a place where both teacher and student set forth to share knowledge and increase understanding. As a life long learner myself, I hope to learn as much from my students as they learn from me. An atmosphere of trust and acceptance is essential for learning. I strive to construct a community where students feel comfortable expressing themselves and exploring the world around them.

My goal is to make learning enjoyable for all students through creativity, artistry, and a love of learning. I utilize technology as a tool for learning, and I am open to new teaching possibilities. Although I believe in, and often defend the use of technology, I do not feel that simply integrating technology into a stale classroom will magically engage students.

On Technology:

The 21st century school cannot rely on trite snake oil sales pitches about the magical powers of school- saving technological tools. A school is only as successful as its teachers and learning communities. In a healthy environment, web 2.0, 21st literacy skills, and hardware tools such as one-to-one laptop programs may enhance learning, but no amount of technology will ever replace best practices and passionate dedicated teachers willing to take risks and connect with their students face-to-face.

Gone are the days of a few scattered computer labs designed to “teach” students computers. The 21st century school must transform the very concept of the classroom into the recording studio, the photo processing center, the communication hub, the connected writing community, the virtual library. The 21st century classroom must be a place to network, to create, to publish, to share. The new classroom is not set up in rows with the teacher as expert, occasionally deeming it time to “use” technology; the new classroom is a place where the teacher guides the students in developing their own critical questions and lines of inquiry that engender real-world, active learning. The new classroom does not integrate technology into an outdated curriculum, but rather infuses technology into the daily performance of classroom life. Technology is not a supplement, a novelty added to enhance classroom learning; the use of technology in the classroom just becomes part of the learning itself.

In this new classroom, the teacher is not the sole expert or the only source of information, but rather the teacher is the lead member of a network—guiding and facilitating as students search for answers to questions they have carefully generated. There is little danger of a student surfing the net or using Facebook while the teacher is instructing because in the new classroom the student is engaged with his or her own learning.  So the twenty-two laptops are being used in twenty-two different ways on any given day. One student may be updating her blog, while another is checking to see if her peers in Bangkok have added anything new to Twitter, another may be editing her podcast on Garageband and adding it to a wiki, while still another is setting up a Skype call with a collaborator in a different time zone. It is important to note that some students may be quietly sitting in the corner engrossed in an old fashioned text.

Daily and total access to computers allows students to realize that technology is not something they “do” when they go to the lab or when the teacher has checked out the laptop cart, but rather technology is something they can use everyday in class to help themselves learn. In this new classroom, students will begin to understand that their computer is not simply a novelty to take notes with, but it is their binder, their planner, their dictionary, their journal, their photo album, their music archive, their address book. In short, they begin to see how to use their machine and the world that it connects them to as any professional adult does. It no is no longer a toy, but a necessary part of their learning.

Here is a great quick speech given by Chris Lehmann that pretty much sums up my thoughts!


85 thoughts on “Philosophy

  1. avatardaibarnes

    I genuinely wonder whether or not a school with a similar stimulating philosophy is out there. You need a Head with vision and confidence in kids to use tech as a tool, not a toy (although playing and doing and learning, but learning what?

    Enquiry based education is really a good move; but will the pupil’s want to drive their curriculum? Will they have the questions? We, as teachers, will always provide structure. A kick up the arse. But is it OK to let children drive themselves? It’s certainly not simple. And teachers certainly would have to be retrained. My 16 yr old has just got straight As in his exams. His favourite teacher is chalk and talk old school medieval history. He and I fight about what constitutes a good education. The system has worked for him but it fails so many. Me and learning became friends later in life.

    Have you seen futurelabs project on enquiring minds:

    It is definitely worth a read. They try and nail down a structure and development process for putting enquiry/inquiry at the heart of education. Very impressive. My schools response on the working party looking at independent learning was to shy away from anything radical and tag on to some valid but low impact theory.

    If you find the school you are looking for then let me know. My suspicion is though that they will be few and far between because those of us who understand the true power of ed tech as a classroom tool, the netbook generation, are not the type to aspire to lead a school. Even if we got there, could we find the teachers we’d need?

    No reason to stop trying. There is little more inspiring, to watch or to experience, than learning that makes sense to the learner. It is energy.

    1. avatarVonnie

      Jabiz, I am truly emotional reading your entries thus far. Seriously… your passion as a teacher and a humanitarian is almost infectious. My 15 yr old boy has struggled year after year with the very issues you have so accurately summarized here – and you have captured the very core of what the educational system needs in order to truly improve the classroom experience for our children. It’s as though you have laid out every concern and wish and desire I have as a parent… and I know my 15 yr old would share that sentiment.
      Every year, we go through the same bumps in the road… because the system is broken, the teachers are disconnected, the classrooms are stale and the very opposite of empowering… and it seems to be getting even worse instead of better. Particularly for those children (largely boys, but not always) who find sitting and reading and taking notes not only taxing, but counter-productive. Teachers are so defensive that it’s all but impossible as a parent to engage with the school to find some measure of compromise that would promote effective learning. My son has 3 years to go (he’s in grade 9) before he graduates from the public school system, and the best advice I can give him at this stage – given the experiences he has to draw from – is to do “his” best and take heart in the fact that he will find learning a great deal easier once he is able to attend a post secondary institution, because although the workload may be demanding, the atmosphere is typically far more empowering. (Perhaps a different topic, but it’s been experience that the Teachers in post secondary are far more engaging and are held far more accountable for their lack of ‘effort’).
      I’ve probably rambled – but reading your blog has been like a breath of fresh air. A teacher – who gets it! Yes!
      I’m truly grateful that we bumped into one another on Twitter, and I will visit your blog often. Thank you for sharing this with the rest of us, and truly hope you find employment with a school that needs you… because you are one of those rare teachers who will truly make a difference in a child’s life.

      Best of luck to you, friend. :)

  2. avatarmurcha

    It was reinforced to us many times at the recent ACEC conference that it is passionate dedicated teacher willing to take risks and connect with their students face-to-face who will always have the most impact on students. However, web2.0 tools are available to make this learning even more powerful and allow students to self direct their learning. So, although I do follow the Victorian Education Learning Standards, of my Australian state, I can also use ‘teachable moments’ and the self directed learning that so often stems from this, to give the students the knowledge to become life long learners. I love blogging and using it in my classroom. The most successful blog posts are those prompts written by students seeking the answers from fellow global students.
    I think structure and some form of framework needs to be in place as students to not have the maturity or hindsight to know what the need to know. But where possible, allow students to enjoy the equivalent of the ‘unconference’ type sessions in the classroom, that educationalists seek and enjoy. This would be especially so, of the older students. In years to come, teachers will become facilitators and students continue to seek their own knowledge and learning as they use the internet and online personal learning networks more and more from home.

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  5. avatarmonika hardy

    i love what you wrote. i love your philosophy. it’s exactly where we need to be. (did you read disrupting class?)

    i’m doing that with 26 kids just now. not the whole school….but we’re hoping to do it so well – that people will glob on.

    i think the structure, the filters, the teaching that currently exist even in “21st cent” classrooms – is wasting kids’ time. i wish more people could see that. realize that the kids need to own the learning.

    glad i found you. can’t wait to read more of your thinking.

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  7. avatarSangeeta

    I Am stirred !!! Reading your blog makes me wonder if you can think it can be attained too.i a a parent of a 7th grader and she finds her studies boring and wish people like you can bring some ray of hope

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