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Running Head: Personal Teaching Philosophy

Personal Teaching Philosophy


Lauren A. Harvey
Wesleyan College
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Abstract

“Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses

their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the

genius of each.”- Plato (Goodreads Inc, 2018). When first exploring my personal philosophy of

teaching I felt a connection to Existentialism. Throughout my time at Wesleyan College I have

gained an even deeper understanding of my personal philosophy. Course studies, observations

and field studies have given me the opportunity to know only increase my knowledge and

connection to Existentialism but I was afforded the opportunity to practice my theories. I have

been given the chance to see the philosophy of other teachers and gain from valuable experience.

I have been given the tools, skills and knowledge I need to be a successful educator and build

meaning relationships with my future students. It is now my responsibility to guide their learning

down a path of organic learning while being a constant positive influence in their lives.

Coverage of Teaching Dimensions:

Existentialism was the personal philosophy chosen in my first paper stating that the

existence of the individual person as a free and responsible agent should determine their own

development through acts of the will (Duemer, L.S.,2012). As I mentioned in my initial paper,

every individual has a choice. A student must choose to learn as the teacher cannot force the

information successfully. Fortunately, children have a natural curiosity of the world around

them. They have a desire to learn. Children are hungry for information and will instantly absorb

anything given to them. However, this information must be presented in a manner that is suited

for their level.


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My personal theory of education at its core has remained the same throughout my time at

Wesleyan. However, through my courses of study, observations and field experiences I have

developed an even greater sense of what this philosophy means and how it looks in my

classroom. Students should play an active role in their learning. From class rules and procedures

to the work they do. During Science Methods I learned the importance of the 5E’s of inquiry

based learning stated by Chitman-Booker and Kopp (2013). Allowing students to explore their

content gives them the sense of ownership in their learning. A natural engagement is created.

Once the first two E’s have been achieved the other three ( explain, elaborate and evaluate) will

fall into place.

Integration of Experiences, Beliefs, and Values

“I am not a teacher, but an awakener.” -Robert Frost (Goodreads Inc, 2018). I stated in

my paper before that teachers are and should be major influences in a child’s life. Children

should be taught basic moral values as well as traditional education. It’s important to know how

education and philosophy are intergraded. To be an effective classroom teacher you have to

understand your own beliefs. I had to fortunate opportunity to be placed twice with the

wonderful Jana Mann as my host teacher at Vineville Academy. From her, I gained more than

just required hours and scores. From Jana I received hands on experience in an environment that

felt safe to explore. She created for me the atmosphere I hope to create for my students. She

allowed me to take charge of my learning and her classroom. She pushed me with constructive

feedback allowing me to improve on my weaknesses without making me feel small and

inexperienced.
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When I wasn’t directing the class, Jana made sure I was getting what I needed from

observations as well. She modeled for me the very philosophy I hoped to embody. Jana kept her

students informed of the reasoning behind their learning. She exposed them to concepts higher

than their current grade while keeping them in their zone of proximal development. She takes

the time to show personal interest in her students and values their personal preferences. She

engages her students in learning by means of music and motion. Students often review recently

covered concepts as well as repeat instructions in song. We know this works due to the fact that a

majority of the students are bodily-kinesthetic learners. This type of intelligence retains

information well when associated with an activity such as song and dance (Marchena Cruz,

2017).

Incorporation of Theories and Readings:

I noted in my previous paper that the classroom should be a safe zone allowing students

to explore options, actions, new concepts and themselves. Students should be given the chance to

learn via self-discovery. The teacher should provide guidance and stimulation. Students want and

need to learn as much as they need food, clothing, and shelter. An educator's primary job is to fill

that primal need for learning by creating engaging and relevant learning experiences every day.

Pai-Hsing Wu said (2018) “The greatest gift a teacher can give students is motivating

them to experience repeated learning success.” The best way to engage a student is to have a

solid classroom management plan and a well-planned lesson that is grounded in relevant,

purposeful activities designed to enhance that student's knowledge and skills and leave her or

him wanting to learn more. In Harper’s (2012) opinion, teachers should be strongly aligned with
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student-centered and student-directed learning that embraces exploration, discovery, experiential

learning, and the production of academically rigorous products.

Moving away from a testing culture and testing for real learning would promote the

goals of my Existential classroom. This type of assessment creates a product that would contain

all of the student’s work. This type of product allows the student to see their own work in its

entirety. Seeing the amount and type of work they’ve done over a period of time builds

confidence. In addition, they also have something tangible to gauge their own development.

Another form of assessment that I would use in leu of traditional forms of grading would be

student self-evaluation. These types of assessment would work to enhance the students’

learning, self-esteem and academic success as this approach is also proactive, student-centered

and non-competitive.

Providing constructive feedback to my students along the way on informative

assessments allows students to see the areas they need improvement on instead of just marking

the answer wrong. I will also use the informative assessments to further guide the learning. The

results will inform me of concepts that students may need to revisit in a different format. I can

also use that data to create small groups for center based learning. These groups would then be

focused on common missed content areas allowing students to continue to feel the safe zone and

explore further by working together.

Conclusions

“The word philosophy is derived from two Greek words. The first word, philo, means

‘love.’ The second, sophy, means ‘wisdom.’ Literally, then, philosophy means ‘love of wisdom’”

(Lynch, 2016). My personal philosophy is at its core, to create a love of wisdom in children
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through the means of Existentialism. My goal for my future students is to teach them traditional

education by sparking a natural interest and curiosity while giving them some control over their

own learning. I also want to be a positive and consistent role model for my students in hopes to

make them well rounded individuals. It is my job as an educator to provide the support,

environment, materials and nurturing my students need in order to truly succeed. My time at

Wesleyan College along with my host teachers has provided me with the skills and knowledge to

do so in an effective manner.
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Works Cited

Chitman-Booker, Lakenna and Kopp, Kathleen. (2013). The 5E’s of Inquiry-Based Science.
Huntington Beach, CA. Shell Education Publishing.

Duemer, L.S. (2012). Existentialism as a framework for qualitative research: understanding


freedom and choice in educational organizations. Journal of Philosophy & History of
Education, 62 171-179. Retrieved November 29,2018 from EBSCO online database
Education Research Complete.

Education Quotes. (2018). Goodreads Inc. Retrieved from


https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/education

Harper, Jennifer. (2012). Student-driven learning : small, medium, and big steps to engage and
empower students. Markham, Ontario : Pembroke Publishers Limited. p129.

Lynch, Matthew. (2016). The Edvocate. What you need to know as an educator: Understanding
The 4 Main Branches of Philosophy. Retrived from https://www.theedadvocate.org/need-
know-education-understanding-4-main-branches-philosophy/

Marchena Cruz, P. (2017). Enseñanza & Teaching. Exploratory study of the relationship between
the musical, visuospatial, bodily-kinesthetic intelligence and drive creativity in the
process of learning. Vol 35, Iss 2, Pp 55-75.

Wu, Pai-Hsing. (2018). Science Education. Learning Benefits of Secondary School Students'
Inquiry-Related Curiosity: A Cross-Grade Comparison of the Relationships among
Learning Experiences, Curiosity, Engagement, and Inquiry Abilities. v102 n5 p917-950.