“An education philosophy is a set of educational beliefs and core values of a person and/or organisation. It focuses on the purpose and objectives of educational planning, programmes and processes when it comes to teaching and inspiring students to learn.”
– What is Education Philosophy?, www.twinkl.co.uk
The approach I have taken with my education should be self-evident from the name of the website that hosts it – ibuiltmyown.education.
But more specifically defining the various attributes of my education philosophy is very important not just for focusing myself as a learner but for helping others to understand all the benefits they could gain from adopting an alternative and non-traditional education approach.
The point of everything that my education philosophy has produced is that I am going to pass it on.
My Educational Beliefs
I’ve always found I learn better when I am given autonomy over the learning process by diagnosing my own learning needs, identifying learning goals, selecting learning strategies and evaluating learning process and outcomes.
My MTA Portfolio, as it exists on ibuiltmyown.education, is very much the ultimate expression of that statement.
The entire learning process should be a creative experience.
The content of what you are learning and the way in which you learn it should all stimulate creative thinking.
The ability to think creatively and outside the box separates the problem solvers from the problem dodgers, who rarely ever come out on top.
ibuiltmyown.education – It’s all in the name.
Defining the goal or ultimate objective behind the learning odyssey and making it relevant to the interests and aspirations of the learner produces a learning experience that is more engaging, clearer and meaningful to the learner.
This was inception behind my MTA Portfolio and it is most directly expressed through the mission statement I declared as part of my MTA Portfolio.
Flexible and Self-Paced
Learning can be a very energy draining process that can put a huge strain on your lifestyle.
I believe it is better to break the learning process down into smaller components, so that its knowledge can be more effectively assimilated, and to make the schedule for learning those smaller components flexible, so that it is still possible to attend to other life demands.
The scope of my MTA Portfolio is vast and the only way I have been able to take on board all its learning is because I have broken it down into smaller digestible, as represented by the learning models each concentration contains.
Furthermore, my MTA Portfolio is one-hundred percent self-directed and empowered by my personal finances, the full flexibility over my learning schedule as allowed me to still earn a living around my studies and to attend to other challenges that life can throw up from time to time.
I believe it is very healthy to maintain a childlike curiosity towards all aspects of life throughout one’s life.
We should always be striving to learn more and never, ever settle for ignorance!
The self-motivated pursuit of knowledge, beyond compulsory formal education, is essential for outstanding personal and professional development. It also opens up all manner of other opportunities of life experience.
As the scope of my MTA Portfolio is so vast it might at first seem like I have tried to cover everything as part of its curriculum.
Of course, is impossible and would have been incredibly foolish to have even attempted.
Rather, with the curriculum I have constructed, I have instead attempted to build a wide, varied and 21-st century relevant foundation on which I can keep learning new things beyond the completion of my MTA.
This desire is very much expressed in the inclusion of my final projects; they are final in that they capstone their respective concentrations, but they are also open-ended in that they are springboards to ignite further opportunities of growth in my life.
For the Love of Learning
I just enjoy learning new things, it’s as simple as that. I have a curious mind and I love that feeling you get when you can feel your perception of reality change as a result of mastering new information.
It’s another reason for why the scope of my MTA is so vast, I just couldn’t help myself!
Integrative Learning Experience
The most effective learning process utilizes what the learner is already familiar with and has going on in their lives to build new experiential competencies.
For instance, with my MTA Portfolio, I utilized my interests and life commitments, such as my role as a manager or my interest in primal fitness, to further define the focus of my studies and to practically explore and solidify what I was learning in the final projects.
Big picture thinking is just the nature of the beast today. Adopting holistic approaches that transcend two or more scientific, academic or artistic discipline perspectives is how the human race is going to continue to thrive in our increasingly interconnected and environmentally fragile world. Transdisciplinary thinking should be the default mindset for students of all subjects.
With my MTA, it’s in the name – Master of Transdisciplinary Application.
Happiness is a concept unique to each person and education should teach us how to go about defining our own ideas of happiness and then how to bring those ideas into actuality.
Education should not just be about how to get a job to make ends meet. Education should much more fundamentally be about how to live a fulfilling life in which acquiring your best suited job is only one part of the process.
Personal wellbeing, problem-solving on the go and how to constructively take charge of your life should form the foundation of all education pursuits.
This is one of the key reasons why I wanted to build my own master’s degree because I felt that all my previous education had let me down in this respect and I wanted education experience that would be holistic and not just cover one specific academic.
With my MTA, I wanted to make the pursuit of personal flourishing inherent in all aspects of its curriculum.
Combating the climate crisis and transitioning to live sustainably with nature is the most pressing challenge humanity needs to overcome in the 21st century and education needs to instill this in the student from the ground up.
In the same way that education should empower the student to become aware of their subjective concept of happiness, it should also empower them to become aware of how they, as a living breathing creature, are another part of nature and how their personal happiness is tied to and is reliant upon the healthy functioning of all the interconnected ecosystems of planet Earth.
Education needs to produce graduates who are both happy and sustainable to therefore empower the happiness of future generations.
Opportunities to fail fast
We learn best from our failures in life. Once we have developed the appropriate reflective practices to identify where we went wrong in the past and how can avoid doing so in future, we can become formidable at being successful.
Education that creates the opportunities to fail fast is the best type of education because it accelerates the overall learning process.
In a sense, the whole process of building my MTA Portfolio has been one long experience of failures.
It was only by building it into forms that did not work that I was able to reconfigure it into a shape where it did work.
Application not assessment
Too much of traditional education is geared towards the concept of ‘passing the test’.
I’ve always struggled with this type of formal tested learning because the majority of what you learn in the curriculum is focused on passing the questions that will be in the exam.
But life is rarely so predictable or streamlined and often throws up curveballs that require flexible thinking and on the spot problem solving.
Applying knowledge through reflection and creative outlet is closer to the randomness of unexpectedness of real life.
This isn’t to say that there is not room for formal testing in a robust curriculum, but the emphasis needs to be centred on personal growth and dynamic application, not on memorising facts and figures.
This is why my MTA Portfolio has final projects that utilise integrated learning experiences.
The final projects are opportunities to creatively and reflexively explore and prove what I have learned in a manner that is very close to everyday life because they utilise aspects of my everyday life as part of their learning.
The best way to determine if you have successfully learned something is to teach it to other students.
All education should be packaged and taught in such a way that it will not take a lifetime to understand and can be straightforwardly conveyed to other curious minds.
But, more importantly, beneficial knowledge should be passed on so it can benefit as many people as possible.
Learning is one of the greatest riches you will acquire in life and wealth is at its best when it is used to help others.
My MTA was built from the ground up with this pass-onable aim in mind. It’s one of the reasons why I am hosting my masters on a publicly viewable website.
When something is enjoyable to participate in it instantly becomes infinitely more engaging and memorable.
But, more importantly, learning should be enjoyable; otherwise, what’s the point?
This is why education should be flexible and on focused on personal flourishing because then it enables the learner to create a learning experience that they actually enjoy doing.
My love of learning is the reason for why I’ve found the process of building my MTA Portfolio to be so much fun (most of the time).
If I did not enjoy doing it, neither would I have done it for as long as I have nor would I have created such a big curriculum and learning commitment.
Ultimately, my MTA Portfolio and ibuiltmyown.eduucation are expressions of how much fun I find learning to be.
My Values as a Person
Love of Learning – Mastering new skills, topics, and bodies of knowledge, whether on one’s own or formally; related to the strength of curiosity but goes beyond it to describe the tendency to add systematically to what one knows.
Perspective – Being able to provide wise counsel to others; having ways of looking at the world that make sense to oneself/others.
Curiosity – Taking an interest in ongoing experience for its own sake; finding subjects and topics fascinating; exploring and discovering.
Appreciation of beauty and excellence – Noticing and appreciating beauty, excellence, and/or skilled performance in various domains of life, from nature to art to mathematics to science to everyday experience.
Bravery – Not shrinking from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain; speaking up for what’s right even if there’s opposition; acting on convictions even if unpopular; includes physical bravery but is not limited to it.
Judgement – Thinking things through and examining them from all sides; not jumping to conclusions; being able to change one’s mind in light of evidence; weighing all evidence fairly.
Creativity – Thinking of novel and productive ways to conceptualize and do things; includes artistic achievement but is not limited to it.
Honesty – Speaking the truth but more broadly presenting oneself in a genuine way and acting in a sincere way; being without pretence; taking responsibility for one’s feelings and actions.
Humour – Liking to laugh and tease; bringing smiles to other people; seeing the light side; making (not necessarily telling) jokes.
Zest – Approaching life with excitement and energy; not doing things halfway or half-heartedly; living life as an adventure; feeling alive and activated.
Integrity – The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. The state of being whole and undivided.
Compassion – Sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.
Adaptability – The quality of being able to adjust to new conditions. The capacity to be modified for a new use or purpose.
Achievement – A thing done successfully with effort, skill, or courage. The process or fact of achieving something.
The Purpose and Objectives of my Educational Planning, Programmes and Processes
“I built my own postgraduate education in Sustainable Globalisation and Creative Enterprise so I can become a knowledgeable flexible thinker and proactive problem solver who can always create beneficial opportunities out of the personal, professional and planetary challenges we will all face in the fast-evolving 21st-century.”
My MTA Portfolio is very much an expression of my overall education philosophy, it’s all in the shared name of this website and this final project.
My MTA absolutely embodies my belief in DIY learning and the scope of my postgraduate portfolio is representative of how I think the broader national education curriculum should be designed, as I have already alluded to in my conception of a revamped national education curriculum for the UK.
The purpose and objectives of my education philosophy is, as the mission statement for my MTA Portfolio says, to empower me to become a knowledgeable flexible thinker and proactive problem solving.
In those two statements of knowledgeable flexible thinker and proactive problem solver, I am highlighting my belief in undertaking an education that empowers me to become a fully self-sufficient life-long self-learner capable of figuring out and overcoming any challenge that comes my way.
And considering the personal, professional and planetary challenges we will be facing in the 21st century are unprecedented, it just as well I built an education that turns me into a polymath powerhouse!
My educational planning for building my own education was largely a process of design thinking which involved…
- Ideating through mind mapping all the areas of education I would like to cover and thinking beyond the singular disciplinary focus that is often the requirement of master’s degrees
- Empathising through self-assessment to ascertain the gaps in my knowledge and skillsets
- Testing through studying various different online courses from a range of different disciplines to get a feel for each of their fields and to ascertain how I can stitch their knowledge sets together and use it to benefit me.
- Prototyping through creating modules and concentrations of MTA Portfolio
- Defining through deciding upon the majors to set the focus of my MTA in stone and declaring a mission to indicate its ultimate outcome.
My educational programmes were the structures I built into my MTA Portfolio to give each of its education strands focus and an endpoint.
So these would be my 10 concentrations, made up of their learning modules which grouped together similar courses and set texts, and all brough to a close with each of the concentrations’ final projects.
The structures incorporated into my MTA were always in flux and changed a lot during construction.
But this flexible approach is another key part of my education philosophy – embracing the change as it comes and being as constructive with it as you can.
My education processes gravitated around my beliefs in…
- Being flexible and self-paced with my learning approach to maximise the time I have in which I have to do it, to prevent myself from burning out and losing interest and to give my mind time to consolidate the knowledge and produce new ideas.
- Being highly resourceful and utilising whatever practical opportunities I have going on in my life to create integrative learning experiences and practical projects that display a strong competency of real-world application over limited assessment.
- Being ready to fail fast and not holding myself back from opportunities where I can learn from the process of failing.
- Being competent enough to pass on what I have learned because it helps me consolidate my learning; as well as giving me the feel-good benefit that I am giving something back.
- Being able to use all the knowledge I am learning to improve myself personally and professionally; as well as using that process to keep learning more about myself and the world around me. Thereby keeping me in a constant state of self-improvement and open-mindedness that enables to always be able to create and to access new opportunities.
- Being bold enough to have fun while I am learning or finding ways in which to make the laborious learning process more fun than it initially can be.