Educational philosophy is a statement of an educator’s guiding principles, with regard to education problems and addressing them. These include how student’s potential and learning are most effectively maximized and functions of the educator at the classroom, learning center, society and the community. Each educator goes into a classroom with a unique set of ideals and principles on how to influence the performance of students. A philosophy of education enumerates these principles and ideals for self-reflection, sharing with the larger community, and for professional growth (Pratt & Collins, 2001).
The differences of the five teachers and my case, as depicted from the respective education philosophies included the following. The teacher with three years of experience, identifying with progressivism, placed emphasis on the need to fashion teaching in a way that addressed real-world problems. For example, he noted that he would fashion his teaching style to the needs of a special child, after identifying any in his class. If not, he would not do that. Therefore, as a teacher, I also strongly identify with the progressivism philosophy, as I have constantly emphasized on teaching students in a way that facilitates the fulfillment of their needs. For example, when asked to teach a group of adult learners, I found it difficult giving examples because; older students seemed to hold a different opinion on issues compared to my younger perspectives.
The teacher having five years teaching experience identified with existentialism educational philosophy. This was demonstrated from his insistence on asking students their areas of interest whenever helping them choose their courses. He noted that the importance of this approach is the ease students find when learning areas they have an interest (Pratt & Collins, 2001).
The teacher with 10 years of experience strongly identified with behaviorism, which defines learning as a course of acquiring new behavior. In her case, she identified that she used reinforcement and punishment to foster learning among his students, and that it worked well for her.
In the case of the teacher with 15 years of teaching experience, his style was based on essentialism, which emphasizes on testing, imposing standards, and enhancing cultural literacy. To depict this philosophy, he insisted that each of his class ends with a test session, which explores the level of learning among each learner. When the students score well in the test, it shows that the class was a success.
In the case of the teacher having 20 years teaching experience, her learning style identified with Perennialism. This philosophy emphasizes on teaching areas presenting lasting importance to students. For example, she insisted that students should choose courses that add value to their experience, and not those based on abstractions that were not necessary. However, she noted that for success, she taught the entire syllabus; although emphasizing on areas she felt vital to student. For example, she noted communication as a highly valuable skill; thus have to teach the entire syllabus (Harris & Herrington, 2006).
In the case of the teacher with a 15-year teaching experience, his existentialist philosophy insisted on testing and setting reference standards. As compared to my philosophy, I would say that his style may limit the students not talented in the areas of the tasks given by the teacher. As a result of the continual failure in the tasks, these students may feel de-motivated. Hence, I would not appropriate his philosophy, as it does not pay attention to the differences of students. However, if complemented with my philosophy, the tests would be helpful in identifying areas that can promote the success of the learners in a diversified manner. For example, he noted one example of a student who used to fail in her class, but was able to speed read better than the others. From working cooperatively with her and showing interest in her case, he discovered that the student could sing and do poetry well, which he communicated to the parents and they enrolled her for poetry and music classes (Harris & Herrington, 2006).
Personal education philosophy informs professional practice through three ways; self-awareness, empowerment, and engagement. Under self-awareness, I have learnt that during the course of class signs of boredom among students show when am almost tired. However, after sharing a fascinating story, students seem much alive; hence their enthusiasm motivates me. In the area of empowerment, challenging situations form sources of effective learning. For example, I learnt how to motivate special children from an encounter with a disabled child with a reading disorder, which had not been identified. Under engagement, it is evident that the more I engage students at class, as guided by my need to identify personal strengths, have resulted in improving my professional teaching skills (Harris & Herrington, 2006).
Through what I have learnt from these teachers, I will revise my personal education philosophy so as to emphasize on developing skills and tools of acquiring information and independence, rather than flooding them with information. I would also change to guiding these students on the development of values and knowledge, allowing their curiosity guide their learning, developing independent personalities and developing their unique characteristics and abilities.
A philosophy of education acts as an educators guiding principle on identifying and addressing problems of education. From interviews with the different teachers, their education philosophies were different, although they merged in the area of identifying the uniqueness of students. The areas of similarity include motivating students towards the best performance they can achieve. However, my philosophy differed with theirs in the area of the need to put the uniqueness of students first. Personal education philosophies inform professional practice through self-awareness, empowerment and engagement. From the interview, teachers with longer experience identified with developing students, and not flooding them with information. The areas of revising my philosophy include the need to develop the student, and guiding the student through the learning process.
Harris, D., & Herrington, C. (2006). Accountability, standards, and the growing achievement gap: Lessons from the past half-century. American Journal of Education, 112, 209–212.
Panday, V. (2005). Value Education and Education for Human Rights Editor. Delhi: Isha Books.
Pratt, D., & Collins, J. (2001). Teaching perspectives inventory. Retrieved September 15,