Imagine you are a teacher without a philosophy of education. On other words, you are a teacher who doesn’t have an idea of how education should be carried out. Do you think you can be effective in delivering lessons/lectures to the innocent students in your class? If yes, how? But if your answer is no, then follow me through this article so that we can learn how to construct our own philosophy of education. However, I recommend you read my previous article on the philosophy of education. It tells you how important it is and the relevant theories to guide you in choosing one. Read it here.
Your philosophy of education describes your beliefs and attitudes on what and how education should be done. This includes your beliefs on what should be taught, why, and how it should be carried out. It also includes your views on how the relationship between the teacher and students as well as other stakeholders should be. This is important because it helps guide you on your processes of teaching your pupils.
Why Philosophy of Education?
Why do you think the philosophy of education is important? It is important because it provides you with a guide on how to go by education processes. This makes your activities and behaviors clear such that you can become effective.
There are a number of reasons why it is imperative for you to possess a philosophy of education. They include but not limited to the following:
- It provides you with a roadmap in your teaching processes.
- It helps you to understand and transmit the values and beliefs of the society that are considered ethical and moral to your students.
- It provides you with knowledge of the nature of your students and their behavior.
- It teaches you not to be judgmental and bias in your dealings with your students and other stakeholders of education.
Overall your philosophy of education proves valuable in your ability to choose appropriate classroom management philosophy and strategies for your classroom. This is why most scholars believe that teachers who don’t have a philosophy of education are not effective in delivering the goals of education in the classroom. Now stop and ask yourself: do you have a philosophy of education? Are you effective in your classroom?
Philosophical Foundations of Education
In your quest to making your own educational philosophy, you have got the following philosophical foundations to choose from:
- Perennialism: This suggests that you should teach your students ideas of Western civilization, arguing that they are true and ever-lasting. Proponents recommend students study Great Books on Western Civilization and subjects such as reading, writing, mathematics, language, history, arts, and science.
- Essentialism: With this morality, righteousness, and virtues are paramount. That is, you should teach morality and intellectual standards to your students. All in all, your aim is to produce responsible students who have acquired life-long capabilities and can transmit essential parts of societal culture to future generations.
- Progressivism: Here, the belief is that education is meant to transfer the identity of the society to the younger generation and that humans are social by nature. Therefore, you have to encourage group learning in the class as this philosophy suggests that humans learn better in groups.
- Constructivism: The knowledge, skills, and experiences of the individual are highly valued under this philosophy. So, you should encourage individual autonomy and initiative in your classroom.
- Existentialism: Here, the belief is that the individual is responsible for his/herself and should make choices on his/her own volition. Hence, you only have to be a facilitator in your classroom and allow your students to study differently and different materials since no one curriculum can meet the needs of all your students.
- Social Reconstructionism: The belief here is that society has to be changed for the better. This philosophy encourages service and experiential learning. Your classroom is like that of the existentialist. This class should encourage students to study and analyze the various aspect of a topic/subject.
- The Eclectic Approach: Here, educationists try to combine different principles from the other philosophies to make a whole new philosophy. Your belief is that those different principles are the best aspects of the other philosophies which are in line with your personal beliefs.
For more information on these philosophical foundations, you can refer to this article where I have explained them in details.
Components of Philosophy of Education
You might be wondering about what should be included in the philosophy of education statement. You must know that there are no laid down rules governing the construction philosophy of education. This is probably the main reason why most teachers don’t have one. Even in the mix of this challenge, I recommend that your educational philosophy should include the following:
- Your view on teaching: One of the first things to do is to define your conception of teaching. Thus, what do you mean by teaching? Who is an ideal teacher? What do you do to become a good teacher for your students? Here, you need to explain
- Your view on learning: Here, you try to identify your definition of learning. What do you mean by learning? What should your students learn? How do your students learn? What are the learning styles of your students? What will you implement to make sure everyone’s need is met in the classroom? What motivates your students to learn? Answers to these questions will help you understand your conception of learning. This is very important in selecting an appropriate philosophy of education.
- Your expectation on your students: What are your demands on your students? What goals have you set for your students to achieve at the end of your class? Should they be able to think for themselves? Should they be able to make changes to their society? Should they learn the values and ideals of past generations? Or what? If you are able to answer these questions and reflect on the answers, it will help you in choosing a philosophy of education that reflects your beliefs.
- Your plan for the implementation of your philosophy: Here, you reflect on how to implement your philosophy. How do you intend to operationalize your philosophy? How will you organize your learning environment to make good use of it during the implementation?
- Your plan on your professional growth: How will your philosophy facilitate your professional development? How will you fill out the loopholes in your teaching process? Remember that is necessary to help you improve on your teaching career. With this, your education philosophy will be of immense help.
Processes of Stating Your Philosophy
In order to get it right in identifying and making your philosophy of education, I suggest the following can be useful for you:
- Identify your beliefs about teaching and learning: First of all, it is necessary for you to understand and identify your beliefs about teaching and learning. But how do you do that? I suggest you can assess your beliefs through the attached questionnaire. Find the form right here.
- Identify your demands on your students: Now, come out with your expectations about students’ achievement in your classroom. What is the meaning of successful learning among your students? What is a failure in your class? How will you help to fail students to catch up with their friends? Make it clear in your statement. Note, your demands/expectations should be reasonable and achievable.
- Specify your implementation strategies: What are the strategies you will follow to achieve and meet the goals of your philosophy? State them clearly and simply. Describe how you are going to use them both in class and within the school environment.
- Assess your professional growth: After the implementation of your philosophy, how will you grow professionally in your career? How satisfied would you be if your implementation is successful? Think of that and state that in your philosophy statement. This will always motivate you to carry on with the implementation even if the going becomes tough.
- Decide the format of your statement: What is the appropriate format for your statement? How will you structure it? How will the various components fit together? Think consciously about this.
The philosophy statement should not be less than two pages. Don’t use technical terms- everyone should be able to understand it. Anyone who gets the opportunity to read your statement is able to practically see the happenings in your classroom. The language should be presented in present tense form according to Ohio State University.
It is clear from the above that having a philosophy for education is key for your teaching career. We have also seen the step by step process to guide us in developing one following the components identified above. We finally recognized the various philosophical underpinnings that should inspire our educational perspectives. Please, share your point of view with us in the comment section below.