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RUNNING HEAD: The Philosophy of Teaching

The Philosophy of Teaching
Jason Burton
J. Bilz
EDUC 101
November 14, 2013



The profession of teaching has been around for over two hundred years. The profession has
changed rapidly as time has passed. However the change is consistent, there are many practices
that were practiced in early educational times that are still practiced in schools around the world
today. There are many different types of teaching philosophies practiced across the educational
world. Each teacher’s philosophy differs from one another while also having similarities. As the
paper goes on, there are examples of all the different aspects of the teaching profession as well as
everything that comes with it.


The profession of education has been a stable yet ever changing profession since
organized schooling began in 1837 (invention). Teachers around the world have varies teaching
philosophies that they base their career around. There is no philosophy any better or worse than
any other philosophy, however each is different in their own way. Although there is many aspects
of the teaching profession, a teacher’s personal teaching philosophy is viewed as the most
important aspect of a teacher’s career.
There is a false belief that a teacher’s job is to simply present material to students and
have them retain it. Short afterwards testing them over the material and that is their grade. There
is so much more to teaching than just that. There is the way the teacher presents the information.
The way the students retain the material, knowing that each individual student is different. Then
there is the way a teacher finds out if the student did in fact learn the information being
presented, whether that be testing, group work or other ways of evaluating.
As a future teacher, the philosophy to practice is the philosophy that education’s main
purpose is to better the students in all aspects of life. This ties in making the students well
rounded students educationally, making them ready for the workforce, maturing them for life
outside of schools, and helping them socially evolve into well rounded human beings.
What is Education?
Education in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s varied greatly from the educational world
today. Times were simpler and more direct. Education was viewed differently and in some ways
not as in depth.


The education reform of the 1800’s cited the beginning of change for the world of
education. Not until the 1840’s did an organized education system exist. Education reformers like
Horace Mann and Henry Barnard, working in Massachusetts and Connecticut respectively,
helped create a statewide common bond among the diverse population (Chesapeake).
Few areas had public schools or paid for by taxes. Wealthy parents sent their children to
private schools or hired tutors to come to their homes. On the frontier, 60 children may attend
small one room schools. Most children simply did not go to any form of school. In the cities,
some of the poor children stole, destroyed property, and set fires. Reformers believed that
education would help these children to escape from these bad decisions and get back on the right
path in their young lives.
In the early 1900’s, the wealthy children attended private academies. These schools were
houses with a few rooms set aside for classrooms. They were small, with only about three or four
children in each grade. One teacher taught several grades in just one classroom setting. In the
private schools, girls and boys were separated from each other and went to separate academies
Some of the subjects that girls learned were reading, spelling, history, arithmetic,
geography and penmanship. Sometimes they learned manners to help them present themselves as
lady like. They also sometimes were taught to dance and how to walk like a young lady.
The public schools on the other hand, were free and mostly attended by the kids who
were not so wealthy. Boys and girls attended the same school. The two genders also had classes
together. There was a class for each grade level with about 20 to 30 kids in each class


Many theorist have come up with philosophies to better explain the methods of
education. The four basic educational philosophies are humanist, progressive, social efficacy, and
Humanist believe the philosophy of education is to share knowledge with students in
order for them to become well rounded individuals. Also to fulfill their roles in life.
Social efficiency is the belief that education is to train students to become productive
citizens in the workforce. These believers wanted students to gain the attributes needed at school
to give them a promising job that would become their career.
The progressive philosophy is the belief that a schools objective is to guide students in
their own self-discovery of knowledge. These theorists felt that the human brain could gain and
retain all the knowledge that on individual needs to know as long as they were guided in the right
Reconstructionist believe that educations sole purpose is to promote social awareness and
change. Social awareness was believed to be an undervalued trait by this group of believers.
They felt if school made students socially aware of the surrounding world, then the students
world succeed in life.
What is School?
School’s purpose can be viewed in many different ways. There are those who believe that
a school’s primary goal is to get students ready for college. Those who say school’s objective is
to get individuals ready for the work force. Then there are those who believe that the mission of
schools are to make students well rounded individuals. With that being said, schools main
purpose is to better each and every student in all aspects of life.


Kids at a young age begin to evolve on a rapid pace as they advance through the school
system. They change from year to year. Both for good and bad. A schools goal should to make
sure kids grow as students academically, as individuals maturing for the workforce, and as social
interacting people in the diverse world that is known today.
Educators also need to focus on the fact that creating a positive learning environment is
vital to the future of students. The environment of a classroom can greatly better or worsen the
education a student receives. A positive classroom learning environment covers the physical and
nonphysical aspects of learning environment.
The physical aspect of a positive learning environment covers the way the classroom is
set up for its students (eric). An ideal classroom will have the desk organized in a specific
fashion with the students attention focused to the teachers lecture point of the class. The walls
will be covered with decorations that attract student’s attention, but yet don’t distract students
from the information being presented. A positive environment will display all the necessary
aspects to promote a great learning environment to the students.
The nonphysical part of a positive learning environment is just as important as the
physical. The nonphysical aspect shows how the students relate to one another and the
attentiveness of the class to the learning space. A teacher’s job is to make sure those two things
are evident to all students on a day to day basis.
The most overlooked aspect of teaching is the student teacher relationship in the
classroom. Student’s opinions of teachers can vary from student to student, however the
importance of a good relationship between the two can be crucial to the students learning. A


teacher should not be the best friend of a student, but they should not be the enemy either. A
good example of a proper teacher student relationship is a restaurant manager to their coworkers.
There should be a clear leader of the group, but the leadership should be portrayed in a positive
manner to get the most out of their workers. That is the same in the classroom. A teacher should
be in charge, but they should not look down upon the students in a sense that they do not respond
well. If there is not a balance between the two then the learning environment will not be either
successful or pleasant.
As a future educator aspiring to teach history, there are many factors that come into play.
When and how will the information be presented to students is a major factor when planning out
a curriculum. Other factors that play into effect are the teaching methods to reach the different
learning styles as well as those with special needs.
To educate those with different learning styles a teacher must present the material
multiple ways. By presenting the same material in multiple ways, each student should be able to
find a way to relate to the topic and understand to an extent. Another advantage to presenting
material multiple ways is that a teacher gets to find the most effective way to present the topic in
the future.
Timing can also be a huge factor in the teaching profession. A teacher does not want to
overwhelm their students with a large amount of information that they cannot retain. By
spreading information out over a set period of time, a teacher can prepare the right way to
present material to student without rushing for time or forcing the students into too much work of
their own.


The Nature of Method or Best Practices
Every individual has a different method in learning. There can be many different ways a
student can retain the information whether that be one method or multiple methods. The three
major learning methods are visual, kinesthetic, and auditory.
Auditory learners learn best by hearing the information out loud in a classroom session.
These types of learners need their instructors to verbally announce the information to get the
point across. They don’t learn as well by viewing things in front of them rather than having a
instructor explain the topic to them.
Visual learners learn the most effectively by visually seeing the information in front of
them. They strive in learning when they have handouts or other materials explaining the topic.
Visual learners usually excel in classes such as math when all class methods are demonstrated in
front of the class.
Kinesthetic learners learn better by interacting hands on with material. These learners are
better off working in groups and doing project related work to learn. Hands on learners strive
better in classes that are more interactive rather than a quiet learning environment.
One major problem our education world is facing today is the amount of learning
disabilities to the general public. The types of learning disabilities vary from mental retardation
to physical disabilities that prevent students from experiencing a normal educational experience
In public schools around the country the amount of mentally disabled children have risen
over the recent years. The amount of lower level classes to help these slower students learn at


their pace has also risen. Many local schools around the area have shown an increase in special
education related classes as well.
Cultural diversity is a major issue in schools around the globe. With the relocation of
individuals around the world evolving at such a rapid pace, cultural diversity is an issue in every
school system. In earlier educational times, cultures were divided into separate school systems.
Now the way school systems are changing, races and ethnicities are intertwined together on a
daily basis.
With the ever-growing multicultural educational environments, it is the responsibility of
future educators to continue to grow as individuals with an open mind. As educators, the
objective is to make the different ethnicities work together in a positive and peaceful
Along with cultural diversity, another issue for educators is the tasks to relate to students
with different family and financial backgrounds. Separating home life and school life can be a
big problem for troubled individuals. The job for educators is to find way to relate to these
students and help them accomplish their academic goals.
School and Society
The role of schools in society are a huge role. Schools impact the community on an
everyday basis. Throughout the community, the school is talked about at the dinner table, local
businesses, or anywhere individual conversation takes place. Whether the conversations consist
of school issues, improvements, athletic success, or just the local school gossip, the school is
talked about constantly throughout the community.


Families can use the school as a way to celebrate their success both with their children
and with others in the community. Schools bring families together in ways that nothing else in
this world can. Whether it be an actual school function or an event to promote a school activity in
the community, schools bring families and communities together both to celebrate an
achievement or to promote growth. Schools can make families happier and better-rounded.
To conclude the mass amount of information already presented, teaching philosophies
vary from teacher to teacher. This means nothing in relevance to the amount of success a teacher
has or can have. The teaching philosophies is simply a way of comparing teachers to one another
to distinguish differences. A teacher should remain open minded to change when it comes to
bettering in the profession. As a future teacher, the philosophy to build on is this, helping
students grow in all aspects of their lives inside and outside of schools. Teachers can help create
the future one student at a time.


Reference List
Multiple Writers (2008). Early National Education. Retrieved from

Robert Sommer (1969). The Behavioral Basis. Retrieved from
id=ed036112 (2010). Who Invented Schools?. Retrieved from

Bilz, J.A. (2006). Teacher Development Series: Teacher training in curriculum and
instruction, unpublished manuscript. Writers (2007). American Elementary Schools in the 1900’s. Retrieved