Janice Friesen's Learning Story


When I was over 40 I decided that it was time to go back to school and do a Masters Degree. By then I had been working in the field of elementary education for a long time (20 years on and off) and so I knew what I wanted to learn.I entered a program at the University of Missouri to get a Master’s Degree in Educational Technology. It was a very unstructured degree, so I could choose the courses that I wanted to for the most part which was GREAT. There were only a few required courses and one was Introduction to Educational Theory. This was the very first course I had EVER taken that was based on a constructivist philosophy of teaching. For the first few classes we were taught the background about Behaviorism (the philosophy that I had learned and used in my teaching), Information Processing, and Consrtuctivism and given readings and rich resources to work with. The professor said she was creating a Virtual Library and we should choose one of these theories and create an artifact for the library which demonstrated the theory. For the first time I had to think and figure out what I cared about and also plan how to communicate that to someone else. It was SO different than any course I had ever taken before. I know it was frustrating for some people who were more used to being told facts and given tests or assignments where they would restate those facts proving they had learned something. I learned so much and gained a passion for learning at the same time. It changed the way I think and the way I teach.