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A teacher's philosophy of education is a decisive building block in her or his move toward children future learning. Therefore, there are five key educational philosophies used in my personal education philosophy. These include Essentialism, Perennialism, Progressivism, Existentialism, and Behaviorism (Sadker & Sadker, 1994, p.382). Each carries both optimistic and pessimistic beliefs, in my opinion. Therefore, I prefer a diverse opinion in my pursuit of an educational philosophy. My ideal educator is one, who inspires knowledge in addition to providing the required block of instruction. A certain amount of imagination, passion, and enthusiasm is necessary of the teacher. Unquestionably, this is a high demanding goal for anyone in a profession like this on a daily basis. However, considering our children future is on the line it's a small price to pay.
The three major philosophies that go with my personal philosophy of education are Essentialism, Progressivism and Behaviorism. The first, American Essentialism, is grounded in a traditional American philosophy that accepts the political, social, economic composition of American Essentialists accept as true that teachers should encourage such customary American qualities as respect for authority, determination, commitment to duty, kindness for others, and common sense (Sadker & Sadker, 1994, p.369). In the classroom, predictable disciplines are taught such as history, math, natural science, literature, and foreign language, which shape the basis of the curriculum. The teacher serves as a thinker and key role model for the students. The academic agenda is good for both slow and quick learners. Also, it is hoped that after the student leaves school, they will acquire the basic fundamental skills and knowledge to become productive members of society. However, the inflexibility of this philosophy, by itself, does not always fit the concern of all students and that is where the principles of the progressive philosophy come into the picture.
Progressivism believes is strongly grounded in individualism. My opinion is that hands-on experience is required to effectively learn many skills. For example few people would be able to learn to drive a car by just reading about it or hearing a lecture on how to drive. The practice of skills is critical in the learning process for many learners. Their knowledge increases when they are engaged in activities that have implication on them (Gutek, 2009, p.93). In a progressivist classroom, teachers plan lesson plans that stimulate interest and interaction among the students which provide for a higher level of knowledge for the group. The students are strongly encouraged by the teachers to solve problems by interacting in small group's surroundings. This develops social skills such as teamwork and open-mindedness for dissimilar points of view. Additionally, students solve problems in the classroom similar to those they will meet in everyday life. This provides students with the skills needed to become an effective problem solver in preparation for adult lives. "A critical component of successful training is the effective transfer of knowledge, skill, and abilities from the learning environment to the actual job. If students only perform the skills in the classroom and do not utilize it on the job then the training was wasted" (Buhler, 2002, p.146). Progressivists believe that this approach to education is an everlasting educational process of enduring expansion (Sadker & Sadker, 1994, p. 372).
With the set of courses addressed, I believe it is essential to talk about classroom management. This is where the philosophy of Behaviorism comes into place. Skinner, the father of Behaviorism, believed that proper motivation does not come from within, rather it is the reinforcing opportunities of the environment that serve to strengthen or reduce behaviors (Cooney, Cross, & Trunk, 1993, p. 220). Basically, it depends on the skills of the teacher to make a classroom environment where the challenge of learning creates a suitable conduct in the classroom. By positive reinforcement, students will conduct themselves well toward each another, sit quietly and listen, and interact when required. Discipline is just as important as learning the course work (Sadker & Sadker, 1994, p. 212).
However, in the current American society, there is one more viewpoint to be considered when you designing a personal philosophy of education. One that goes outside the established role of the classroom discussed beforehand. The important factor is the elimination of parents from the residence. Many households are run by a sole parent or both parents are needed to supply incomes just to sustain the necessities. This situation in my opinion is contributing too many of the problems facing educating our children. Many students are not arriving at school prepare to learn the basics, of reading, writing, and arithmetic. The goals of economic viability, good citizenship, and the other social virtues are even harder to achieve when these children have not had the opportunity to learn the basic mores of our society (Martin, 1995, p.356). Consequently, we as educators are dealing with this problem and still trying to educate the students. Dewey could not have said it better "The sole goal of education is growth" (as cited in Gutek, 2009, p.92). Students grow to be the best that they can be. There is no easy solution to this problem and teachers cannot solve this problem along. The solution to this problem must start with the parents excepting responsibility for the upbringing of their children
Basically, I believe the views that I have selected from the different philosophies of education correspond to what would be my approach to teaching. In addition, this different approach allows for you to have common characteristics over the six branches of philosophy. Existentialism, moral principles, metaphysics, and reason would be covered just by the very nature of its philosophy. Teachers serve as role models for the learners to instill American qualities and when combined with the science, metaphysics and common sense everything fall into place. Behaviorism is also covered under the moral code, as it develops the guiding principle for appropriate behavior of students. Four of the Progressivism branches covered includes: axiology, epistemology, aesthetics, and common sense. Epistemology is an examination into how we are to be taught. The function of progressivism is to search for ways to accommodate the learners' individuality: for that reason, this will comprise learning styles and educational values. Progressivism's last branch is common sense and it is what the students, will remember most because, what is learned in the school has meaning to the real world. History is an art as well as a science so there is many opportunity to discover the reasoning by both inductive and deductive methods behind the actions of our forefathers and how it affects us now.
Accordingly, my personal philosophy is build from those five pillows. I do believe that to be an educator, the individual must have the patience, the love, the desire, and stubbornness to face all the challenges that I previously mentioned and to make a difference in our children, our future. All children I believe can achieve their full educational potential under the right circumstances. The dream of my prospect classroom reflects all of these points. It is my expectation that, as I teach the knowledge required, I will also manage to motivate and inspire my students to reach for the sky.