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Throughout my tenure at the University of New Mexico in the College of Education, I

have learned and read works by many famous educational theorists. These individuals shared

their perspectives and philosophies about learning and the role education plays in a society.

Philosophies such as behaviorism, progressivism, essentialism, existentialism, perennialism, and

reconstructionism serve as foundations for most teachers who possess their own teaching

philosophies.

I was asked to perform a philosophy inventory where I answered a series of thirty-six

questions regarding education and the role of school. When I finished the inventory, and

submitted my responses, I was not surprised by the results. I felt that the scores I received for

each philosophy aligned to my own personal beliefs about school and learning. The highest score

I received was in reconstructionism.

Reconstructionism is the idea that schools play a role in the reconstructing society.

Schools have more than a responsibility to transmit knowledge. They have the mission to

transform society as well (Education Philosophy Inventory RESULTS). Paolo Freire was a

theorist who championed that education is more than just teaching as banking in which the

educator deposits information into students' heads, Freire saw teaching and learning as a process

of inquiry in which the child must invent and reinvent the world (Cohen, 1999).

In addition to my courses for elementary education, I have also taken courses to receive

my TESOL endorsement. In these classes I also studied Critical Theory, and read some works of

Freire. Like Freire, I believe that schools have played a role in the systematic oppression of

people in poverty and color. I think that it is important for myself as an educator to teach and

expose my students to the realities of oppression, and facilitate discussions where possible

solutions can be made by the future generations. I know for myself, I felt cheated in my
education when I learned the other side of the story to many historical events not just here in

America, but worldwide. Since then, I believed this knowledge should be shared with all

students.

My second highest score of the inventory placed me in the progressivism philosophy. I

was not surprised by this result either, because I agree with this philosophy as well.

Progressivism is described as focusing more on students than subject matter. Interests of the

student are important as well as their personal growth. Progressivism also believes that the

school should help students develop democratic, personal, and social values (Education

Philosophy Inventory RESULTS). This philosophy of teaching states that learning is active, not

passive. Students are driven by inquiry and learn by experience.

I believe that it is an innate attribute of humans to question their world. Children inquire

about the world around them from the beginning of their lives. As adults, we too ask questions to

gain an understanding of our lives and the world we live in. I think that an inquiry-based

approach to learning not only feeds the desire to question, but comes naturally to students. I think

when student interests and questions are not only valued, but fostered, students will become

active learners and feel like they are part of their classroom community, as well as, their school.

I scored the lowest in the category of behaviorism. Although, I do not totally disagree

with behaviorism, I do believe that there is more to teaching and education than focusing on

behavior. According to the Education Philosophy Inventory, behaviorists deny free will and

maintain that behavior is the result of external forces, which cause humans to behave in

predictable ways. The role of the teacher is to identify behavioral goals and establish a reward

system to achieve goals (2017). I think that token economies can be effective in classrooms,
especially in the lower grades, because there are many life skills and classroom procedures that

younger students in kindergarten and first grade must learn.

Classroom management is a focus of mine this semester, and I know that the use of

positive and negative reinforcement can help me to better manage my students behavior. I also

have seen, however, how too much of prize giving can go awry. I think that if student interests

and questions are considered, then they will be more engaged in the lessons and activities, and

prize giving will not be needed as much, or even necessary.

I feel that the education philosophy inventory aligned with my personal beliefs about

education and learning. When asked why I want to teach, my initial thought is to help change the

world. I believe that if I can give my students the tools to help them not only navigate their

world, but also to find their voice in it, then I have done my job. I realize that reading, writing

and arithmetic are essential to survive in our world, but so is the ability to empathize, analyze

and question the status quo.


References

Cohen, L. M. (1999). Section III: Philosophical Perspectives in Education. Retrieved from

Educational Philosophies: http://oregonstate.edu/instruction/ed416/PP3.html

Education Philosophy Inventory RESULTS. (2017). Retrieved from Education Philosophy

Inventory: http://www.authenticeducating.com/education-philosophy-

inventory/process.php