A Personal Educational Philosophies
My personal philosophy of education is holistic, and focuses on the role of the teacher as a facilitator of students. This personal philosophy is important in guiding my future career goals to become a better educator.
I believe that teaching and learning are concepts that often cannot be easily teased apart. Often, we learn even as we teach, as in the case of a new teacher who learns a great deal about the importance of keeping the attention and respect of children as she teaches her very first real kindergarten class. In addition, we teach as we learn, as in the case of a child who shares his family’s Christmas traditions with a class who is learning about holidays throughout the world.
Students, in my opinion, are active participants in the teaching process. Often, professional educators see themselves as teachers, and focus strongly on their teaching skills, abilities, philosophies, and plans. I see teachers instead as facilitators of learning among students. This belief takes the emphasis off the importance of the teacher as the authority who imparts knowledge to children, and instead focuses importance on the learner’s role in acquiring knowledge or skills.
My personal philosophy of education encompasses a little bit from each of the five philosophies of education. The five philosophies are: Essentialism, Progressivism, Perennialism, Existentialism, and Behaviorism. While many in the educational community tend to attach themselves strongly to one philosophy, and discount the others, I believe there is a lot to be learned from each of the theories.
That said, the philosophies of Existentialism and Perennialism have special appeal for me. Existentialism places a strong focus on the unique development of the student, with the teachers role to ” help students define their own essence by exposing them to various paths they may take in life and creating an environment in which they may freely choose their own preferred way” (Shaw, Existentialism). Perennialism also holds as strong appeal, which espouses the “the notion that some ideas have lasted over centuries and are as relevant today as when they were first conceived, Perennialism urges that these ideas should be the focus of education” (Shaw, Perennialism).
I strongly feel that the ability to learn, rather than simply rote learning of facts or beliefs, is absolutely worth knowing. Enabling students to become critical thinkers, who can learn on their own, in a number of different environments, is the most important facet of teaching. This is especially true today, in a world that is brimming with information. Individuals in our society, more than ever before, need to be able to obtain knowledge from the multitude of information in the world today. It is impossible to know everything in the world today, and this is often even true among specific specialties. As an example, who among us would be arrogant enough to say that he or she knows everything there is to know about education?
The key components of my personal philosophy of teaching follow:
- A teacher is simply the facilitator of learning.
- All educational philosophies have some important ideas.
- The ability to learn, rather than simply rote learning of facts or beliefs, is absolutely worth knowing.
- Teaching and learning are concepts that often cannot be easily teased apart.
Taken together, these components form my personal philosophy of teaching. I plan to use these beliefs to become a better teacher, who focuses strongly facilitating learning in students. I will use these beliefs as the key basis of my instructional practice. Personally, I plan to use these beliefs to empower my friends and family (and myself) to become active learners.
In conclusion, my personal philosophy of teaching focuses on the student, rather than the teacher. I see myself as a facilitator of learning, whose job it is to empower students to learn on their own. I also see a valuable role in a holistic view of teaching, with much to be learned from each of the five educational philosophies.