My Philosophy of Education
Education has no meaning if the teachers do not have a personal philosophy from
which to create teaching methods. The philosophies teachers hold greatly impact how the
students learn; the styles of teaching vary from teacher to teacher as the philosophies
vary. Some teachers focus on the classical books as the perennialists do. The teachers
who are essentialists focus on reading, writing and arithmetic. Progressivists teach
through methods that apply to real life situations. Critical theorists teach in the hopes of
changing society; the material taught is student driven and individualized. I have found
that my ideas on teaching are primarily progressive mixed with critical theory without
ignoring the basics.
The purpose of schooling is to learn how to be a functional member of society.
The other function of school is to create people who are intellectual and can make
positive contributions to society. Students need to learn a basis that is nationwide so they
can function productively, but the material needs to be taught in a way so that the
students will want to learn the dry facts. If material is introduced in an attention grabbing
way, the students will become more invested in it, picking up the facts subconsciously,
remembering the facts and the other information that interested them.
If students are not educated, they cannot participate in society and make decisions
that will benefit the society. Schooling gives children the opportunity to become
educated, so that they can make decisions in the real world and solve issues that are
relevant to today’s world. By attending school, children learn social skills on how to
interact with other human beings. Through the relationships built in school, children
begin to learn the basis of networking and making connections that may be helpful later
on in life.
In an ideal classroom environment, students would be introduced to a topic by
their teacher. However, the students should be allowed to explore the topic through
avenues that interest them. For example if a student is interested in music, the student
should be allowed to study the music during that time period and learn about the time
period through this method. With the basic knowledge all people will have the same
basic understandings; yet, based on the individual’s interests each will have their own
specialized area of knowledge about the basic facts. The students will benefit, because
they will learn about topics that interest them and see the relationship to the central idea
that must be learned from the unit of material.
In school, I enjoyed classes in which I was allowed to discuss issues that were
important to me with guidance of the teacher. I found that I learned much more when I
cared about the material, but when I did not care about the material I did not learn as
much. For example, I did not find the war of 1812 interesting at all, and I still do not
know a good deal about this war just the basic facts. I am interested in learning about
people and why they react the way they do. If a teacher would have discussed the mood
of the people and the cultures, I would have been much more inclined to want to learn
about the war and the facts, because I would have known why the people fought this war.
With a teacher who keeps the material interesting, students will learn the basic facts more
easily and with less resistance.
It is very difficult to individualize learning when there are as many children in the
classroom as there are today. In order to create this ideal learning environment, the class
sizes would need to go down from the average of twenty students to no more than ten
students per class. The lower student to teacher ratio would enable the teacher to get to
know each child and understand the child’s individual interests to tailor the material to
The source of the curriculum should be based on a body of knowledge that must
be covered and understood amongst all students, but the way the information is presented
must be tailored to the individual students’ interests. If one student likes to learn why
people react the way they do, teach this student about culture through books and such
allow the facts to work their way in. If you were teaching this student about the Boston
Tea Party, you could give the student a journal from one of the members of the Sons of
Liberty to read about the emotions of the time. The student would learn about the factual
information of the Boston Tea Party from a primary source and would gain the factual
The teacher has an important role in inspiring students to want to learn, challenge
ideas, and think critically about current world events. The teacher must push for their
students and preserve the methods of learning that they feel work best. In the schools, the
teachers must hold the students’ best interests at heart; teachers generally have more say
then the students when it comes to matters of the school. The teachers cannot let their
students go unrepresented; they must hold the students interest and involve the students
with the decisions of the school that will affect the students. Teachers must also advocate
for education, and present the benefits for society of a challenging, thoughtful education.
Teachers must advocate for their service just as businessmen must advocate for their
products; the difference is that teachers help people and make a distant impact on the
economy by instilling skills in children, while businessmen only have an immediate
impact on the economy. Teachers also have the responsibility of shaping attitudes.
I have found that a very small part of essentialism is needed with a strong mixture
of progressivism and critical theory in order to make a difference in the world through
this profession. Education can be approached in many different ways, and the impact on
students is only as good as the methods used to impart this knowledge on the students.