Educational Philosophy

Educational Philosophy
In today?s society education is a valuable commodity that is sometimes taken for granted. Schools focus their attention on students for the purpose of preparing them for what lies ahead. This, however, is not always an easy task because everyone learns differently and views about education vary. Michael de Montaigne, one of the great philosophers, stated, ?that the greatest and most important difficulty known to human learning seems to lie in that area which treats how to bring up children and how to educate them.? (Haselhusrt, 2007) Learning is an on-going process that takes time.
The task of teaching children can be daunting even for someone with years of education and experience. (Montell, 2003) Each school year brings forth new challenges. With that in mind teachers have to find ways to apply textbook information to experiences the students have had. When students are able to make the connection between a lesson in the classroom and real life situations, they become better learners and are more comfortable with the learning process.
Teachers should establish standards for quality work including what?s acceptable and what is not. They should demand excellence and create a list of expectations for students to follow. It is a known fact that whatever level of expectation is set by teachers is the level students strive for. The higher the level, the harder students have to work to achieve them. Goals should not be unrealistic, however, because if students feel they are unattainable they won?t make an effort.
The role of a teacher should be that of instructor, mentor, coach, nurturer and leader. Teachers should be observers and learners. They should continually be striving to learn and develop their own skills in order to bring quality education into the classroom. Teachers should always be looking out for new and challenging ways to grow and improve their teaching skills. This will help them deal with the challenges and changes that take place in education from time to time by applying their new knowledge to their teaching style.
Teachers should not be judges of students based on identity or background, but should be accepting of each student?s individuality. Every student comes to the classroom with a variety of experiences and opinions. These experiences can lead to new insights into cultural perspectives. (Kauchak, 2007) A teacher should be willing to work with and give every student the opportunity to prove they can do the work and meet the standards. It?s going the extra mile to ensure each child has a chance to succeed.
Teaching is not just sharing information from a textbook, thus teachers should find creative ways for students to stretch their imagination and to develop a thirst for learning. Such creativity could include music, pictures or activities that cause the students to think about what they are learning. Perhaps the teacher could share appropriate personal experiences that allow students relate to the subject matter. A teacher should be someone students feel comfortable with and can trust. I found that the teachers I related to, most often growing up, were challenging, caring and didn?t just tell me what to do, but showed me how to do it and apply it in my life.
Students can be like sponges. When they find something they like they soak up the information and store it. They are a mixed bag of emotions and personalities, but each brings to the table a variety of experiences that can be used to help other students learn and develop. Granted, not every student comes into the classroom motivated to learn and some will need monitoring and encouragement, especially on subjects they find boring, but overall they are fun and can teach even the most knowledgeable teacher something new.
This new information is knowledge and having that gives us the power to achieve our goals. Knowledge is something that should be pursued constantly and consistently. It just seems the more a person knows the more they are willing to strive for. Knowledge also allows a person to share more. When students know more their participation levels rise in the classroom. Knowledge then becomes the power to help students grow and become more confident in their abilities.
The question is what knowledge should students take away from the classroom? Should it be just the basics of learning that one plus one equals two or should it also include how they can apply that knowledge to everyday life, like maintaining a checkbook, paying bills and counting their change? Should it only be about the great writers of the past or should the mechanics of writing be included to teach students how to write letters, resumes and be able to fill out a job application? Students should take away knowledge that is applicable to daily life events. In a society that is technology driven students should also know about computers: how to travel on the information highway. Students should learn the skills necessary to help them achieve their goals and what it means to do so ethically and morally. Finally, they should know basic communication and interpersonal skills. Without these, how do they resolve conflicts and build relationships?
Combining these beliefs helps a teacher create a teaching philosophy. Philosophy of Education is defined at as the study of the purpose, process, nature and ideals of education. (Wikepedia, 2007) Every teacher, whether experienced or not has a belief structure of what they think the purpose and goal of teaching is.
I believe that teaching is comprised of a combination of knowledge, personality and creativity. My role as a teacher will be to impart knowledge to students through the use of instruction, a variety of creative activities, nurturing and mentorship. My objective is not to just teach about the basics of Math, Science, History and English, but also to combine those with basic social skills needed to interact with others and to become productive citizens in an ever-changing society. My purpose will be to build the knowledge base of students, teach character, develop strong leadership skills, provide a positive learning environment, emphasize scholarship and learning and develop a positive attitude towards community service. I believe that axiology is an important part of the learning process. This is the branch of philosophy that considers values and ethics. (Kauchak, 2005) Character is very important in society and students should display positive character and have high moral standards. I don?t expect this learning to take place overnight; teaching is an evolutionary process where not only the students are learning, but I am too.

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