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Dominic Parry

Leesa Leonard

Education 1010

1 Oct 2018

My Educational Philosophy

There are many things that influence the ways in which people teach. One of the major

things that influence the way teachers approach their work, are what are called educational

philosophies. These are models of thinking that prioritize different areas of development in kids

that ought to be considered when teaching. As a potential teacher, it therefore would benefit me

to develop my own educational philosophy. What I currently value most when deciding my

educational philosophy is subject to change and will include more than one idea from already

established educational philosophies. With that said I will mostly focus on two philosophies in

particular, first is the educational philosophy of Essentialism, which emphasizes that there are

essential skills and knowledge that teachers ought to teach students (Kauchak & Eggen 155). The

other, called Progressivism, emphasizes that teachers ought to teach students along other areas of

development besides simple knowledge of content, such as social and emotional skills, in

addition to practical real-world skills (Kauchak & Eggen 157). I will also briefly mention

Behaviorism as another philosophy which I view as having important lessons to learn from.

The primary educational philosophy which I view as the most important currently is that of

Essentialism. The importance of the idea that students need to know certain things in order to

achieve success not just in their lives, but also for their nation as a whole is made apparent in the

historical account of Sputnik. When the Russians launched a satellite called Sputnik in 1957, the
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first manmade object in space, it sent shockwaves through the American education system.

Recognizing the U.S. was falling behind technologically, we adopted a more Essentialist

philosophy that emphasized teaching content important to the development of our nation

(Kauchak & Eggen 158). While this appeals to a sort of nationalistic cause, I believe the essential

skills taught that determine a nations success in the world economy and technology landscape,

also help individual students as a successful nation requires successful citizens. While I currently

believe the pursuit of Essentialism, which is almost entirely focused on academic success, is of

prime importance, there are other things that education can do that are important as well.

Essentialism does not accomplish other important aspects of a students development, which is

where I believe the philosophy of Progressivism has its uses.

Progressivism, which emphasizes growth along areas of development such as social and

emotional development as well as practical life skills (Kauchak & Eggen 157), is an additional

philosophy that I believe is important to adopt as it offers students more than what Essentialism

can offer. The primary way in which this educational philosophy accomplishes its goals, which

are to teach other areas of life development and real-world skills, is through a very open and

discussion-based classroom environment, and group related projects that teach students how to

interact and work with others in addition to the content (Kauchak & Eggen 158, 159). Adopting

the values of progressivism can serve as a counterbalance to Essentialisms focus on academic

progress, as it can foster growth in kids along more dimensions than just content knowledge.

While I currently view Essentialism, and Progressivism the two educational philosophies that

will most inform my own, I believe another educational philosophy called Behaviorism will be

useful to consider as well. Behaviorism as an educational philosophy, emphasizes the importance

of the psychological phenomena described similarly as Behaviorism, which says that humans
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learn as a result of stimulus from their environment, such as through positive and negative

consequences (“Behaviorism”). For example, if a student makes an inappropriate joke, they

could receive stimulus in one of two ways, the teacher may laugh which would be a positive

stimulus and make the likely hood of them repeating the behavior more likely, or they could

receive a disconcerting look and told that it was inappropriate for the class, thus making the

student less likely to repeat the behavior. What is considered a positive or negative stimulus is

dependent on the kid however, as sometimes attention, even what might appear to be negative,

can be enjoyable to some extent. So if in this scenario the student enjoys being told no, perhaps

no response is the best response. While I don’t imagine myself using this philosophy in any

major way when it comes to planning how I teach, it is still true that children learn behavior this

way so I believe this is something I should keep in mind in my potential future as a teacher.

When approaching teaching, there are different things with which to value, and what those

values are will inform ones philosophy. For me currently, I value the need for students to learn

certain basic skills and knowledge, as well as teaching other social and emotional skills. I also

value the psychological aspects of behaviorism as something else to consider. While my views

here are open to change, as it stands my educational philosophy is primarily informed by

Essentialism, Progressivism, and Behaviorism.


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Works Cited

“Behaviourism | Definition of Behaviourism in English by Oxford Dictionaries.” Oxford

Dictionaries | English, Oxford Dictionaries,

en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/behaviourism.

Kauchak, Don, and Paul Eggen. Introduction to Teaching: Becoming a Professional, 5th ed,

Pearson, 2014, London.