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Teaching Philosophy/ Platform Statement

During my ten years of teaching, I have heard the term educational philosophy thrown
around in conversations and professional developments. I never tried to put a name to my
educational philosophy but felt confident that I could articulately speak to what I believed. I
could coherently explain what I believed to be the purpose of education, what I believed the
students should learn, and what I believed was the most effective way to teach and get the
desired results. However, throughout my graduate program, I have been challenged to do that
very thingdefine my personal philosophy. I have been forced to delve deeply into my true
educational beliefs. After extensively exploring various educational philosophies and related
theories of learning, I have discovered that my personal views most often include elements from
Essentialism, Progressivism and Constructivism, which combine eclectically to describe my
personal philosophy of teaching and learning. The ideas of William Bagley, Jerome Brunner,
Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky and John Dewey have greatly influenced my personal education
philosophy. Therefore, the following questions will be addressed from my eclectic perspective
regarding teaching and learning.
What is the goal of education?
I believe the goal of education is to facilitate growth both academically and socially. In
progressive education, educators are concerned with helping children become good learners, as
well as good people. The educational process is not viewed as being about academics alone,
and additionally, intellectual growth is much more than verbal and mathematical proficiency
(Kohn, 2011). Likewise, I believe that facts and skills are important in certain contexts and for
particular purposes. Alfie Kohn (2011) further explains the aforementioned ideas:
Progressive education tends to be organized around problems, projects, and questions
rather than around lists, facts, skills, and separate disciplines. The teaching is typically
interdisciplinary, the assessment rarely focuses on rote memorization, and excellence
isnt confused with rigor. The point is not merely to challenge students after all,

harder is not necessarily better but to invite them to think deeply about issues that
matter and help them understand ideas from the inside out. (p. 23)
On the other hand, the educational goals of Essentialism pertain to certain areas of my
educational beliefs. For example, essentialists believe there is a common core of knowledge that
should be transmitted to students in a systematic way (Diehl, 2006). As a kindergarten teacher,
who teaches a significant amount of foundational skills, I agree that some information is
essential core knowledge and is most effectively taught in a systematic and disciplined manner.
Additionally, essentialists believe education should be practical and prepare students to become
valuable members of society. Therefore, students must be taught hard work, discipline, and
respect for authority (Diehl, 2006).
What is literacy?
I believe literacy is made up of reading, writing, listening, speaking and all of the skills
that fall under each component. The components work together to strengthen and support one
another as mastery of literacy is achieved. While completing graduate coursework, I have
realized there isnt a universal and concrete definition of literacy in todays world. It appears the
foundation can be agreed onreading and writingbut in todays ever-changing world, the
definition of what it means to be literate is evolving as well. Keefe and Copeland (2011)
support this realization by noting that although there is a general agreement that literacy is a
human right, there is no general agreement about the definition of literacy.
As an educator, what is your mission statement?
I will develop my students, both academically and socially, in a safe and caring
environment. I will hold my students accountable for their learning and set high expectations. I
will differentiate instruction based on each childs needs and create meaningful lessons in order
to facilitate deep understanding of content. I will strive to give 100% in all I do, because my
students deserve to be recipients of exceptional instruction. I will use both formal and informal
data to drive my instruction and commit to implementing best practices. Each student who

enters my classroom will be given the opportunity to reach his/her maximum potential; and when
each child exits, he/she will emerge as an improved learner and person.
What is the role of the teacher?
I do not believe the teacher is limited to a single role. Part of being a well-rounded and
effective educator is demonstrating the ability to switch roles at the appropriate time. In my
kindergarten classroom, I am often viewed as the authoritarian, as in Essentialism; yet, that is not
my specific goal or the only way I intend for my students to view me. The intent of the lesson or
circumstances of the situation would determine which role I play. Many times I am the
authoritarian while other times, as in Progressivism, I am an advisor or facilitator as students
practice and explore. I believe effective teachers provide experiences and activities where
students have the opportunity to learn by doing (Diehl, 2006). I strive to consistently offer these
meaningful experiences to my students and maintain a flexible role as the teacher changing my
role according to the needs of each student.
As a kindergarten teacher, it is a top priority to teach, model, and offer an unlimited
amount of opportunities for students to practice and develop strong literacy skills. Students not
only need to be able to decode and comprehend text but also know how to use and analyze text.
Teachers must also educated parents on their vital role in supporting the development of literacy
skills within their child. I believe that when parents and teachers work together to intentionally
create meaningful experiences, at home and at school, it makes a significant impact on that
childs readiness and academic success.
What is the role of the student?
As in Progressivism and Constructivism, I believe the role of the student is to be an active
participant in the learning process. Progressivism recognizes that students cannot be compared
to buckets, where knowledge can simply be poured in. Instead, students are living organisms
that learn by doing and need to actively participate in their education with adults serving as
advisors (Eisenhower, 2011). Similarly, constructivists embrace the idea that the development of

understanding requires the learner to actively engage in meaning making (Jones & Brader-Araje,
2002). When children are immersed and actively engaged in a literate environment, where
responsive and dynamic interactions are ongoing daily, then children gain the world knowledge
necessary to be strong readers and writers (Cobb & Whitney, 2011).
What strategies and assessments do you use when teaching reading and writing?
One instructional practice I apply when teaching reading and writing is called the
gradual-release model. The gradual-release model describes a process in which students
gradually assume a greater degree of responsibility and independence for a targeted outcome.
This gradual withdrawal of instructional support is also known as scaffolded instruction because
supports or scaffolds are gradually removed as students demonstrate greater degrees of
proficiency (Gambrell, Malloy, Marinak, & Mazzoni, 2015). The scaffolding theory was first
introduced by philosopher Jerome Bruner and later developed further by Lev Vygotsky (Wright,
2010). Similarly, I use a process of scaffolding instruction that is often referred to as I do, We
do, You do by teachers and students in the classroom. In kindergarten, this strategy is perfect for
gradually guiding students to independent application of what has been taught, practiced and
The list of literacy activities that we (myself & students) engage in on a daily basis is
endless. Our reading activities focus on phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, fluency, and
comprehension skills. These skills are learned and practiced through explicit instruction,
modeling, partner practice, engaging videos, games, word work, read aloud stories and much
more. Our writing activities teach writing strategies, traits of writing and the writing process.
This is done through explicit instruction, teacher modeling, whole group practice, independent
practice, partner practice and much more. As students gain skills a gradual release takes place
and students are able to write with less support. However, guidance, consistent conferencing and
informative feedback continue to take place between teacher and student. Throughout reading
and writing lessons, and all throughout the school day, listening and speaking skills are taught

and practiced. When teaching any one of the components of literacy, consistent reinforcement
and clarification of how and why the components are connected is crucial to student
When differentiating, my preferred strategy is called the Tiered Approach. In my
opinion, this strategy is differentiation at its finest. Briefly, the approach begins with an
assessment, review of data, grouping students into three different readiness groups (I use the
labels: Enrichment, Growing, Teach Me Again.), and then planning a meaningful activity for
each group. All activities should be based on the same standard. The Enrichment group should
work on applying the knowledge through creating a productperhaps a poster. The Growing
group will work with a partner to complete an activity to reinforce the skill, give them practice,
and guide them to mastery. The Teach Me Again group will work with the teacher to learn the
skill in a new way. These three groups are working simultaneously, on the same standard, at
their own readiness level.
Also, I use a variety of assessments to acquire knowledge of where my students are
functioning academically. I use assessments that many different philosophies favor. I frequently
use common assessments, both formative and summative, because I believe they are crucial to
understanding student learning and driving teacher instruction. Without assessments teachers are
unable to truly determine where students are in the learning process. Furthermore, assessments
are also tools that help teachers determine proper intervention and enrichment for students.
Ultimately, assessments can and should influence instruction in a powerful way.
Formative assessment offer teachers a way to assess student understanding during the teaching
and learning process and allows teachers to alter and differentiate instruction based on
information gained. Formative assessment also allows teachers to gather information and insight
about how students will perform on summative assessments. Another factor that makes
formative assessment a powerful tool is that the information can be obtained in many ways, such
as, through observation, performance task, oral explanation, or written response. All of the

above assist me as I assess what my students are able to demonstrate and explain. As a result, I
am able to utilize the collected data to effectively plan for future instruction.
How do you facilitate your ideal classroom environment?
Creating the ideal classroom environment begins with building positive relationships with
parents and students. I build authentic connections with both parents and students and handle my
interactions with confidence. I display a caring, devoted, and professional disposition
consistently. These qualities and interactions allow the parents to see me as an approachable and
respectable educator. Parents are very important, as they are the people who can support me the
most regarding their child.
I begin every day by greeting each of my kindergarten students warmly. This is very
comforting to them and sets the tone for positive interaction within the classroom. I model an
energetic and urgent attitude towards learning and positively reinforce each student when I see
him or her display the same enthusiasm. My students are motivated to apply this attitude for
learning when I model it consistently.
An ideal classroom environment is also an organized one. I teach my students that being
organized with possessions/materials transfers to organized thinking/learning. A solid foundation
and thoroughly established procedure is a must, especially in kindergarten. The students must be
clear on expectations and taught what behavior is appropriate in a variety of settings and
situations. I also believe that an ideal classroom is one that a person can enter and clearly
recognize the learning that is taking place. It is a classroom where the students are able to
answer these questions: What are you learning and why are you learning it? A clear purpose
for the learning should always be defined for the students.
How will you provide academic integration and differentiation among diverse learners?
Currently, my kindergarten team utilizes an integrated curriculum focused on thematic
units. I will continue to use this program to teach the Common Core State Standards as well as
social development. When necessary, I will supplement with other resources to meet the needs

of diverse learners. I will also continue to use differentiation strategies and differentiated
computer programs to personalize education and account for the educational goals of each
student. Furthermore, I believe that accessing the prior knowledge of each student, and
supporting the child in building upon that prior knowledge to create new understanding, is a
crucial practice to employ when attempting to make learning meaningful for all learners.
What role do parents and community play in education?
In my view, the greatest assistance parents can offer is support within the home. For
example, helping their child complete homework, reading to and with their child daily, and
ensuring their child gets the proper amount of sleep are a few significant ways parents can help
their child be successful at school. Supporting their childs academic and social needs within the
home will assist in facilitating overall growth of the child. Furthermore, if the childs social,
emotional and academic needs are being met at home and at school, the child will have a greater
opportunity to reach his or her fullest potential.
Community businesses should be active contributors to the schools in their area. If they
have beneficial products, supplies or services that could aid in the students education, I believe
they should make it a priority to inform the schools of their services. I also believe that
community workers, such as, police officers, dentists, and firefighters, should accept offers to
visit schools and teach students about their professions and how their profession impacts the
As a result of completing the masters program, what are your next steps as a professional?
Going forward as an educator, I plan to encourage open discussion and analysis of
curriculum with my colleagues. I plan to facilitate and engage in discussing, questioning and
exploring educational theories and practices. In addition, because of the technological advances
of the new century, I am continually motivated to learn and stay current with the new programs
and devices. I have witnessed the effectiveness of implementing technology in education;
therefore, I will continue learning and integrating technology in my classroom instruction.

Furthermore, I have committed to being a life-long learner, which is how teachers develop a
deeper didactic understanding and become more effective educators.
In conclusion, operating with the belief of one single philosophy seems to allow for very
little flexibility in creating an ideal classroom environment for a constantly evolving society. As
a reflective educator, I will continue to be open to growth and change regarding my personal
educational philosophy, because I believe a teachers educational philosophy directly influences
each students educational experience and overall success.

Cobb, J. B., Whitney, P. (2011). Who is the reader? Cognitive, linguistic, and affective factors
impacting readers. In Historical, theoretical, and sociological foundations of reading in
the United States (pp. 79-96). Boston, MA: Pearson.
Diehl, D. (2006). Educational philosophies definitions and comparison chart [Pdf].
Eisenhower, M. (2011). Essentialism vs. Progressivism. Retrieved from
Gambrell, L. B., Malloy, J. A., Marinak, B. A., & Mazzoni, S. A. (2015). Evidence-Based best
practices for comprehensive literacy instruction in the age of the common core standards.
In L. B. Gambrell & L. M. Morrow (Eds.), Best practices in literacy instruction (5th ed.,
pp. 3-36). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.
Jones, M. G., & Brader-Araje, L. (2002). The impact of Constructivism on education: Language,
discourse, and meaning. American Communication Journal, 5(3). Retrieved from
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and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 36(3), 92-99.
Kohn, A. (2011). Progressive education: Why it's hard to beat, but also hard to find. In Feel-bad
education: And other contrarian essays on children and schooling (pp. 21-34). Boston:
Beacon Press.
Wright, W. E. (2010). Foundations for teaching English language learners: Research, theory,
policy, and practice. Philadelphia: Caslon Pub.