In this presentation, I will describe my philosophy of education.
I don’t think that there’s a single view that completely describes my philosophy of education. I can say that in one way or another, I do apply all of the different views in my philosophy. However, I believe that the views that most closely compare to my personal views are a combination of the essentialist and the existentialist views.
Essentialism puts emphasis on the need for certain basic ideas, skills, and body of knowledge in the cultivation of human culture and civilization. This view has the belief that it is more important for students to learn from the established fundamentals of education.
Essentialism was founded by William Bagley who was a professor of education at the Teachers College in Columbia University from 1917-1940. He published the book The Essentialist’s Platform in 1938, and just as the basic principles he stated in this book, I also believe that an immature student has the right to be guided by a well-educated, caring, and cultured teacher but that good workmanship, persistence, accuracy, and thoroughness are also required on the part of the student.
Essentialism, on the other hand, advocates that students should be made aware that they are free agents and are responsible for creating their own selves and purposes. As this view proposes, I also believe that teachers are responsible for exposing students to the various paths that they can choose but that eventually, the students must seek the answers from their own selves and not from external sources. This view asserts that education must be expressed in terms of affirmation, eventual commitment, personal responsibility, acceptance, and awareness.
There is no single proponent of this view, as several philosophers advocated for it. These philosophers included Saren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Albert Camus among others. Their definitions for existentialism were different from each other, but the underlying principles of this view are that mankind has free will; that life consists of choices that create stress; and that negative consequences to decisions cannot be avoided. This view also asserts that some things are irrational and cannot be explained and that one must stand by their decisions.
I believe that a combination of the essentialist and the existentialist views describes my philosophy of education well. I believe that students should be taught the basics as these will serve as their foundation for future learning. This basic learning encompasses not only academic knowledge but character formation as well.
With the times changing so fast and advancements in both technology and education continuously being developed, I believe that knowledge on the basics of education will enable students to cope with all of the complex knowledge that they will encounter later in life. For example, basic math is needed whether the student wants to become a Math teacher or a NASA engineer. Similarly, the basic skills in reading are necessary whether one ends up being a company CEO or a famous Hollywood actor. In addition, I believe that being exposed to basic knowledge and skills allow students to discover and explore their talents and capabilities, which they can use when deciding on the path that they want to take in life.
This would then be related to the existentialist view. As a teacher, I believe that by teaching my students the basic knowledge that is necessary in education, I am helping them decide for themselves what they want to do with their lives and how they would find meaning in their lives. Also, I believe that teachers won’t always be around to guide and teach their students and that students are bound to encounter all sorts of things once they leave the school. However, by being equipped with the essential knowledge that they need for further learning, these students will hopefully be able to properly handle the different things they will encounter in life and which they may encounter for the first time. By providing them with knowledge about the basics of education and about traditional values and by helping them realize their own worth, they will hopefully be able to make sound decisions both for themselves and for the people around them.
Albear, G. D. (n.d.). Essentialism. Retrieved from http://www.library.eiu.edu/ersvdocs/4458.pdf
Basic existentialism. (2009, June 3). Retrieved from http://www.t-