My Philosophy

Of Education


Having a personal philosophy of education is essential to effective teaching.The type of educational philosophy that a teacher believes in affects his or her goals, curricular focus and perceived role in the classroom.So far throughout my twelve years of schooling, I have observed many different teaching styles and educational techniques.Iíve come to realize which ones work best for me as a student and which ones seemed to be the most effective for the overall class.In my opinion, a philosophy combining the theories of essentialism and progressivism would be the best.Essentialism, based on the philosophical thoughts of idealism and realism, focuses on basic elements of human culture, giving students the fundamental information they need to help them live better lives.With essentialism, a teacher is to be proficient in his or her subject matter, and is considered the main authority, providing the discipline, motivation and curriculum.I believe that essentialism is an excellent philosophy, but it doesnít cover all of my personal beliefs on education.Progressivism, however, includes the other main issues that I would incorporate into my philosophy of education.Progressivism originates from pragmatism, in which problem solving is the primary methodology.Pragmatism contends that the mind is active and exploratory rather than passive and receptive; therefore, humans do not simply receive knowledge, they make it!Progressivists believe that children learn how to think by solving problems and experimenting.The teacher should act merely as a guide to student learning, according to progressivism, but I donít believe that should be the case.I think that the essentialistsí view of the teacherís role is the better one.Progressivists think that the children should be the focal point of the school, and learning should be active and related to the interests of the child.They also believe that education is always in the process of changing; therefore, they are supporters of integrating social issues of the time into education.

The reason I chose the philosophies of essentialism and progressivism is because when used together, they include all of my beliefs on the way students should be educated.I think that the basic subjects and skills should be taught to ensure that students are prepared for life after school.On the other hand, I consider school, especially at the secondary level, to be like life itself, not only a preparation for it.I also am a strong believer in the progressivism idea that education should not merely be memorization, but rather should include the solving of problems.As I have already mentioned, I think that the teacherís role in the classroom is as an authority figure, helping students, acting as a stimulator, and motivating students to learn, while at the same time, teaching for the mastery of essential skills.I also believe, in certain situations and contexts, that cooperative learning is extremely helpful and helps students learn from each other, which is a basic principle of progressivism.My personal philosophy of education; therefore, incorporates both the theory of essentialism as well as progressivism.

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