As an individual who is anticipating becoming an educator in today’s complex teaching field, my philosophy is one that will reflect a blending of the educational foundations in which the concept of education was first introduced to the populus. From Plato’s idealism that the everyday world of things and objects is merely a fleeting, shadowy copy of the true ideas which the soul carries which encourages students to seek a higher level of thinking (Hamm 1974, 212). Idealism also includes the cultural heritage and wisdom which each student should be encouraged to share by being knowledgeable about it, participating in sharing it and elaborating it through their own contributions in the classroom and in the community.
Because all students should be motivated to seek their inner learning potential, they must also realize that rules and regulations are essential in our society if the concept of democracy is to survive and be passed on to each new generation. Personal experiences and scientific methods through empirical, objective, and experiments with precise measurements are a common sense approach to discovering the truth and passing them on through educational processes.
According to Morris, existentialism in education is to develop the affective side of man, his capacity to love, to appreciate, and to respond emotionally to the world about him. To accomplish this goal, there must be education at the secondary level which focuses on the humanities. To assure this appreciation, education in the various disciplines such as art, biology, chemistry, geography, history and mathematics are now at the center of education in our current high schools. This cluster of related concepts provides a structured framework which helps to explain the physical, natural, social, and human realities. It should be noted that when students consider, interpret, and explain these concepts, as a teacher, one must always consider the alternative, to be aware of what these alternatives can do and be responsible for the choices as it affects the students, which will ultimately effect all mankind.
From class research, it appears that pragmatism is currently the most popular philosophy used in education in the United States. This type of expressive teaching provides an integrated approach through the blending of pragmatism, social reconstruction, experimentalism, and progressive educational movements. As I see it, when a teacher extracts the best from each of the foundations of education, he/she can commit them to a curriculum which emphasizes experiences, child-centered activities, and humanities that provides a complete learning environment for students.
In 1964, Meade developed nine primary points about education which should be the building blocks on which classroom instruction is delivered in today’s every changing and global environment. As a teacher who is trained to be sensitive to the needs of children and their interests, I expect my classroom will have enough freedom to allow children to make choices and explore on their own, thus promoting the concept of self-actualization; while encouraging students to address and resolving issues which affect the quality of life for all humanity.
Within my vision of education, students will be encouraged to improve themselves by acquisition of organized knowledge, development of intellectual skills, which increase and broaden the understanding of ideas and values found in a democratic approach through public education. Perhaps, the greatest influence on my desire to impart knowledge to others was a role model and mentor dedicated to improving the learning and education of those individuals who may have never realized the opportunity which awaited them. Building upon the works of experienced, formal education, and advanced educational degrees, this small, independent, and community oriented one-room school teacher imparted to me the ability to dream, to set a goal high upon a shelf, and to reach for all opportunities, no matter how small. Once these goals were identified, no matter how small or how adverse the situation, to always stay focused on the outcome of your goal and it would become a reality and the reward would be worth all the struggle and effort to get there.
This demanding, warm-hearted, caring, and loving teacher was years ahead of the teaching requirements that are now being established, she was dedicated to professionalism, to high academic standards, and quality testing for all students. She was truly an eclectic teacher. This is my goal, to become an eclectic teacher, with the ability to blend and network the best of what education has to offer. I would like to impart this knowledge along with a desire to my students to love learning and seek the road to which will provide the highest reward for the goal which they have established for themselves in their quest for education and internalize a drive for life-long learning.
In order to help establish this drive for life-long learning, an educational student must take to heart the information contained in Chapter 3 of the text, Teaching, Bearing the Torch. It is on page 51 of this text, an educational student begins to realize it is the teachers themselves who must push for educational reform in American schools. According to Linda Darling-Hammond, a professor at Columbia University’s Teacher College, states, “the way to improve schools is for teachers to teach for understanding and to encourage authentic assessment.” Hammond reasons why teachers fail their students is not because of the work assignments, but because teachers encounter bureaucratic processes that prohibit them from teaching. As supporting data, Hammond points out that in today’s comprehensive high schools, top-heavy administrative staff, only one-third of adult time is actually spent teaching, as a matter of fact, teachers have 6.2 minutes a week to spend with each child.
In text reading and through observation within the actual classroom, a prospective teacher must undertake an educational reform attitude. As the old saying goes, “let it begin with me.” If one is truly dedicated to the philosophy of learning and teaching then one must be committed to the establishment of national standards for teachers and students. If as a teacher, I am to use the Education Goals as a building foundation, then as a member of the teaching profession, I must at the beginning of my career have a commitment to establish national teaching standards and an accurate way to assess the students. These standards must take into account the wishes, desires, and rules that involve parents, local communities, sate and federal requirements regarding funding resources. These standards must provide for real-time with students, time which allows for a cooperating relationship to develop between teacher and student which will afford a true learning environment that includes appropriate support systems, and a caring friendly attitude to the customer who uses the public school system.