Sunday, January 31, 2016

Epistemology Reflection

Epistemology is the study of knowledge and how knowledge is obtained.  There are three subcategories of epistemology which help clarify how people receive knowledge.  The three categories are; objectivism, pragmatism, and interpretivism.  To be objective means your knowledge comes from experiences.  Pragmatics gain their knowledge from experiences and reason.  Lastly the view of interpretivism gains knowledge through rationality.  It is important for practitioners to know about epistemology to help others acquire knowledge or to better their own practice.  In this reflection I will determine my own epistemology, and try to clarify any misconceptions I previously had.
            Identifying my own epistemology was quite difficult.  I think I have at times fallen into both objectivism and interpretivism.  The majority of the time I am centered and practice both continuums, so I would consider my epistemology to be pragmatic.  Since I identify with pragmatism I believe knowledge is acquired through both experiences and reason.  “For the most part, pragmatists hold absolute knowledge as a worthy, but probably unreachable goal” (Driscoll, 2005, p. 13).  I truly believe not one person has the “right” answer.  There are many ways to solve a problem and communicate with others.  I am very open to lifestyles and beliefs that are different than mine.  Every person is constantly learning and growing from each encounter and/or experience they have had.  Driscoll mentions the pragmatism theory is like a hypothesis.  When I read this I immediately thought of the scientific method.  Whenever a question arises you create a hypothesis to help you work through the problem.  Most times a scientist changes their hypothesis numerous times through reason and learning from each experience they have had. 
            My epistemology impacts my teaching greatly.  I teach 5th grade and my lessons constantly change to meet the needs of my students.  I like to allow my students to work through problems with their peers.  It is very beneficial to give them the opportunity to communicate and share their ideas with one another.  Knowing that I do not know everything and one way of teaching a topic is not the only way, allows me to reflect on my practice of how to improve future lessons for my students. 
            An example of my pragmatic point of view, is when I teach fractions to my 5th graders.  This is a complicated topic for most students, and I have heard many people express how much they hate fractions.  I learned the procedures to solve fraction problems and could teach these methods to make it “easy,” but I want my students to have a better understanding of the meaning of fractions.  I provide the students with many resources when teaching these lessons.  We use manipulatives, videos, real life scenarios, and songs to help the multiple intelligences in my room.  After using these various strategies we talk about many real life problems, and students work together to better understand the topic.  When students are allowed to experience fractions using fraction tiles or candy bars the can visually see how parts become a whole.
            As a teacher, it is important to know about epistemology to improve my instruction to my students.  I am always reflecting on and in action of how to meet the needs of all my students.  I know that all students learn differently and so I need to present my lessons using a variety of strategies.  I believe being flexible and being able to alter what you are doing to better instruct students is very beneficial to all educators.  The most important thing an educator can do for any student is to create an experience for them, so that they can explain the concept in their own way.
           

Driscoll, M. P. (2005). Introduction to theories of learning and instruction. In Psychology of
              learning for instruction (3rd ed., pp. 1-15). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Introduction

Hello!  I'm Candra Nason.  I am currently enrolled in my last semester of the Early Childhood Education Masters program at Fresno State University.  I am a third year teacher.  My first year I taught Kindergarten and for the past two years I have taught 5th grade at an elementary school located in Central Unified .  I enjoy attending trainings and conferences to further my knowledge about my field.  At my school site I serve on the Positive Behaviors Interventions and Supports (PBIS) team, assist with Character Counts, and lead our Peer Mediation team.


Outside of work I spend all of my time with my family.  I am married and have two children, Riley age 7 and Daric age 3.   We spend a lot of time at the Chaffee Zoo and different parks around Fresno. My kids are involved in various sports, and my husband and I play in an adult recreation softball league.  It is usually crazy at my house and looks like I live in Toys R Us, but I love every minute of it.


The school year following my high school graduation, I began working as an instructional aide for an after school program at a school in Central Unified.  The first two years I only worked with kindergarten students which was considered an extended day for them, it was when they only attended half day.  After the kindergartens began full day, I transfered into the after school program at the same school which assisted with students in first-sixth grade.  I spent a total of nine years at this school site supporting students in the areas of math and literacy.  During the last two years of this time I began subbing in classrooms K-6. In 2013 I was hired as a kindergarten teacher.  The following school year the number of kinder students enrolled was low, so I was placed in a 5th grade classroom.

After I complete the Masters program I would like to get involved in teaching at a community college.  I would like to eventually become a program specialist for early childhood education. In most cases that requires an administrative credential, so that would be a next step.

An early school memory occurred in Kindergarten.  The music teacher visited our classroom every week.  I remember getting so excited every time he visited.  We sang various songs and created movements for each song.