Teaching Philosophy

Background
Learning Mastery is an educational model, developed by Scott LeDuc, where students learn based on the philosophy that learning-by-doing inspires intrinsic motivation within the students. The primary goal of this model is to provide students with a basis to be life-long learners (Noble, Fiely, & LeDuc, 2001, p. 19). This model also promotes the use of independent research skills. Students are encouraged to solve their own problems by seeking reliable resources. According to Harris, "developing and using higher-order information-processing skills…will be among the keys to successful learning and teaching in the future" (Harris, 1998, p. 61)

Teacher Role
The teacher's role in this model is that of a guide, but the degree to which the teacher is involved varies within each level. Students are encouraged to solve their own problems or seek assistance from more advanced students (Noble, et al., 2001). At the most basic level, the teacher is helping the students to develop investigation skills. "If students know clearly how they will use the information they eventually locate, their chances for purposeful searching, rather than aimless surfing, increase" (Harris, 1998, p. 66). In the learning mastery model, this is accomplished through lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on activities.
The intermediate level brings a lessoned degree of teacher involvement; the teacher is helping the students to identify good learning resources. "The skills of searching for and critically analyzing information across the curriculum are particularly important for science teachers as a way to develop inductive thinking process for drawing generalizations from data" (Peterson, & Koeck, 2001, P. 13).
At the advanced level, the teacher is supporting the students in good lesson plan development (Noble, et al., 2001, p. 19). This includes information on how to appropriately organize lessons and how to create effective presentations.

Structure
Mastery Learning is based on a leveled pyramid that explains what the students are learning at each level. At the lowest level, the students are learning an array of basic skill concepts (LeDuc, 2001). In relating our project to this level, the students would be learning how to create a WebQuest and the material specific to the WebQuest (for example, the water cycle). This includes learning the research skills necessary to create an effective WebQuest.
At level 2 of the pyramid, the students are to focus on mastering one of the concepts previously learned. The students are engaged in self-directed learning and assessment of the skill they are developing (LeDuc, 2001). This level is slightly modified to fit the needs of our project. Instead of the students mastering one concept, the students will need to master the skills for developing a WebQuest as well as the material being covered in the WebQuest-at least to a certain degree. Included in this level are the skills to effectively identify resources that are reliable and appropriate for younger students.
Level 3 is where the students become assistants in the learning process and teach the mastered concepts to the younger students (LeDuc, 2001). At this level, the high school students would be creating a WebQuest and presenting it in a clear manner to students online. Special attention should be given to the organization of the WebQuest and that it is presented in a way that is understandable to younger students.

Conclusion
"Knowledge is a result of the process of knowing, which can only occur as the learner uses information in the process of actively constructing what he or she knows. Knowledge results when an individual personally transforms information" (Harris, 1998 p. 58). Learning mastery allows students to achieve this through the leveled process that guides the students to learn effective research skills, how to identify a good resource, and presentation skills. Related to our project, this process also presents students with an opportunity to gain experience in teaching science to an audience.

Works Cited
Harris, J. (1998). Visual Architecture: designing and directing computer-
based telecomputing. Eugene, OR: ISTE.

LeDuc, S. (2001). Mastery learning. Available: http://www.learningmastery.org.

Noble, L, Fiely, J, & LeDuc, S. (2001). Learning mastery: students
teaching students. Learning and Leading with Technology, 29 (1), 18-21.

Peterson, C. L. & Koeck, D. C. (2001). When students create their own WebQuests.
Learning and Leading with Technology, 29 (1), 10-15.