The Other Side of Concept Formation
Debra C. Edwards, Ed.D., IDSA | Appalachian State University
Teaching professionals often adopt a teaching philosophy to guide selection of teaching methods,
textbooks, and even the design, delivery and evaluation of our course assignments. In the
development a teaching portfolio, a typical requirement for teachers at all levels of education, the
teaching philosophy is a standard, even primary, component. And what is a teaching philosophy
except the expression of one’s beliefs concerning what is true about teaching? An understanding
of learning theory should under gird an ascribed teaching philosophy.
There are many schemes for explaining teaching/learning theories. Some are presented as
contrasts, a few examples being constructivism vs. behaviorism, teacher-centered vs. studentcentered,
and theoretical vs. experiential. In recent decades, cognitive psychologists have
published studies of teaching methods with expected learning outcomes along with pros and cons
consistent with each theory. An excellent source for more information on specific
teaching/learning theories is an online database called Theory Into Practice or TIP (Kearsley).