I came across My Educational Philosophy, which I wrote over ten years ago; 2005. I have decided to review and update my philosophical views on education at this time–June 25, 2014–based on my teaching experience for the past nine years.
My Updated Educational Philosophy is as follows:
“My philosophy of education is centered on the student. I strongly relate to the adage of serving as the “guide on the side,” rather than the “sage on the stage,” as is the case in teacher-centered, direct instruction philosophies.
Also, I believe in involving students in the educational process by focusing on their individual needs. I am very uncomfortable with the teacher-centered philosophy of perennialism, in which multiculturalism and gender issues have no place in the curriculum.
It is my belief that individual differences need to be recognized, respected, and even celebrated. I also believe it is important that personal beliefs about education be explored and be a dynamic and evolving process. However, I do find the philosophies of progression and social reconstructionism form most closely to my fundamental beliefs about teaching.
“With respect to progressivism, I agree that students learn best through real-world experiences that are meaningful to them. I believe that while some students may be able to learn from the “Great Books” and established “lists” of what is necessary to be culturally literate, students may not necessarily relate to this material. My personal experiences contribute to this philosophy in that the most meaningful learning takes place when students are motivated, interested, and directly involved. It is my belief that the way to achieve this is by giving students a voice in the learning process, and by assisting them in finding connections to the curriculum with their own lives and interests.
“As previously mentioned, my philosophy of education also incorporates ideas of social reconstructionism. Students should be given opportunities to relate their learning and critical thinking skills to social challenges and problems outside of the classroom. Not only do students have the potential to make a difference within our society, but they can also grow as individuals in the process. This approach has the benefits of empowering students and building their self-esteem and problem-solving skills.
“In working with individuals and groups in my former career as a businessman and investment mentor, I have developed a style which is also similar to progressivism. When facilitating a class or group (or even when working one-on-one with a client), my approach was not to lecture but to rather allow opportunities for participants to share their own experiences, opinions, and questions. Although I had an “agenda” of information which I intended to communicate, I found that by creating a non-threatening environment often provided opportunities in which I could connect my own curriculum with the client’s existing knowledge and experiences. It is my experience that people are much more receptive, and relative information is much more meaningful, within this type of environment.
Love and Logic
“In conclusion, and relative to my philosophy on classroom management, I find myself incorporating aspects of Lee and Marlene Canter’s assertive discipline model. While I do not agree with a strict behavior modification program, I do feel that positive reinforcement for appropriate behavior is very appropriate and effective. This can be done in the form of a statement such as “I appreciate the way you got to work on your assignment so quickly.” This communicates to students that not just negative behaviors are noticed and given attention. I believe that positive reinforcement can be significantly more effective than a focus on negative consequences for inappropriate behaviors. In addition, I also implement elements of “Love and Logic” into my classroom management skill sets.”