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My Philosophy of Education

With so much change occurring with education, if one intends to


be an educator, a clear philosophy of education is essential to guide
practice. In the tumult of change, one must know where one stands.
My philosophy of education is grounded in the values that I learned at
Drake University. This explanation of my philosophy of education will
describe the role of students, the teacher, schools, administrators, and
parents. Next, having these roles described, I will explain the types of
knowledge that students should acquire while in school. Finally, I will
describe the methods that I will use to facilitate learning and how my
philosophy as a teacher creates teaching-learning connection.
Firstly, I will describe the various roles within education. The
nature of learners is a complicated one. However, I will first say that I
believe that every student is capable of learning and bringing
something positive to the learning environment. However, each
student brings inherent differences to learning and this can impact the
role of the learner. However, the learner must be an active participant
in the learning experience. The learner must take risks, make mistakes,
and persevere. Mistakes are part of the learning experience. Also, in
order to have success, the learner must embrace education and accept
the curriculum. The learner is the focus of education and thus
possesses the most critical role in education.
The role of the teacher is expansive. With respect to learning, I

believe that a teachers role is to build on a students foundation and


establish new entry points for learning. However, the role of the
teacher expands beyond learning. The role of the teacher is similar to a
parent, because we show care and love for our students. The role of a
teacher is that of an advocate, because we are a supporter and
protector of the student. More generally, the role of the teacher is that
of a coach; we are in the students life to help the student reach their
fullest potential in many different areas. Truly, in order to have
success, the teacher must also be a reflective practitioner that is
intellectually engaged and constantly refining practice. Certainly, the
role of the teacher is imperative.
Schools, on the other hand, are the similar to the teacher, but
are the environment that promotes all of the aforementioned goals
that a teacher also supports. However, the role of the school is also
larger and more conceptual. The role of school is to provide
opportunity for individuals that seek it. Also, schools are in place to
prepare the next work American work force. Clearly, though, the
schools are also a moral institution. A goal within education is to teach
students the mores of our society. Students also learn what is
acceptable social behavior. Thus, the role of school is also one that is
quite grand. Again, school holds a role that is essential to the goals
that education seeks to fulfill.
Additionally, the role of the parents is critical. I believe that the

parent is the most consistent teacher that a child will ever have
because their role extends beyond the classroom and does not end
with the school year. Consequently, the teacher should always treat
the parent with respect and as they would an ally. By establishing a
strong relationship with the parent, the parent can be an extension of
the classroom. Also, though, the parent should be invited to be part of
the classroom. This is a way of honoring the knowledge that the
parent brings and showing the student that their parent is part of their
education.
Likewise, the role of the administrator is very important. I
believe that the administrator has many roles. Their position directs
the work of teachers and the culture of the school. The administrator is
a coach that works to get the best instruction out of their teachers. The
administrator can also make curricular decisions that may instruct a
certain pedagogical change. For example, the administrator may
choose to change the mathematics program to cognitively guided
instruction (CGI) or decide that spelling time be replaced by time doing
word work. Similarly, the administrator may decide that an emphasis
needs to be placed on arts integration within a school. The
administrator also handles behavioral issues that exceed the decisionmaking that a teacher is capable of. The role of the administrator is
large.
Next, I will describe the types of knowledge that students obtain

through education. Knowledge includes an understanding of content,


but content knowledge is not enough. Students are not just
depositories of knowledge, but need to actively participate in the
acquisition of knowledge. In line with this, students must develop into
individuals who can think critically and solve problems. These skills are
part of knowledge. Students must not just learn these skills, but also
to love learning. By realizing a love of learning, our education system
creates life long learners or truth seekers. Those who develop in this
way are going to continue their engagement with education even after
leaving the formal system. This is the type of citizen that our world
needs.
Likewise, students must develop emotional, social, and moral
knowledge through their education. These different types of knowledge
are all required to be productive members of society that can
contribute civically and maintain employment. Related to this, it is
also very important that students acquire knowledge about the world.
This means that students develop an understanding of how the world
works, are exposed to various cultures, and feel confident working
within different cultures. This is the hidden content within education
that I believe is critical to success. Students must develop the
emotional knowledge of how to cope with their own emotions and how
to respect the emotions of others. Students must learn what is socially
appropriate behavior to demonstrate. Perhaps most importantly,

students must learn the difference between right and wrong. This
means that, as the world changes, these students are able to make a
decision about what they believe is ethical regardless of whether that
belief is popular opinion. Possessing these ethical opinions is part of
being civically engaged. Arguably, then, having social, emotional, and
moral knowledge is more important than content knowledge.
Having described the types of knowledge that students should
receive through education, I will now describe what methods I believe
in. This is a critical part of my philosophy of education. I argue that a
teacher should use whatever method works best for the given
classroom and content. One method is not ideal for every content area.
Whereas direct instruction is suitable for reading instruction, inquiry
learning should be used when teaching science. Also, which method
used depends on the teachers goal. Also, teachers can certainly use
more than one method to achieve a single goal. For example, if I am
teaching story problems in math, I could model my thought process
through a think aloud and then let students solve the problems
independently using whatever strategy works for them. Then, after
students have had an opportunity to solve independently, I would let
certain students model their thinking to guide the whole class. I
learned during my math methods course that allowing students to
solve problems using the strategy that they naturally gravitate towards
facilitates their problem-solving ability more than direct modeling. Also,

by allowing the students to model their strategies, you are respecting


the knowledge and experience that the students bring to learning. You
are also communicating the content through the language of the
student. Thus, I would not just use one method of instruction to
achieve my goals. Clearly, I would use both student focused and
teacher focused learning. Also, I would use collaboration as an
essential component of learning. Ultimately, I would use whatever
works best given the classroom situation and content.
Lastly, I will describe how this philosophy of education promotes
the teaching-learning connection. All of what has been described is to
facilitate the teaching-learning connection. Ultimately, it is my goal to
provide learning opportunities for students that develop content
knowledge, autonomy, and world awareness. This happens when I
provide my students direct experiences that challenge their prior
understanding and misconceptions. This happens when I pose
questions to my students that confront these misconceptions and add
depth to their thinking. These teacher moves develop both their
content knowledge and critical thinking skills. Creating the teachinglearning connection occurs when I ask my students to work together on
a collaborative project. This facilitates both social and emotional
knowledge, which they will definitely need in life. This occurs when I
demand that my students come up with a solution to a real world
problem. This is the teaching-learning connection for problem solving.

This connection is solidified when I establish positive relationships with


my students. These relationships strengthen the pursuit of every other
teaching-learning connection. When students feel connected to me as
the teacher, they will feel closer to the teaching that I offer them.
These are a few examples of how this philosophy promotes the
teaching-learning connection. It also summarizes more concisely this
philosophy as a whole. These goals will remain true throughout my
teaching career and will provide me a compass when I am having
trouble seeing north. I am a life long learner that seeks to continually
refine my craft as a teacher. I feel passionately about these goals and I
will continue to bring further clarity to them as my experience as a
teacher grows.