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Educational Philosophy

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What is philosophy? According to the book, Foundations of Education, philosophies are fully developed bodies of thought each representing a generalized worldview (Ornstein & Levine, 2003). Many people have their own philosophies and worldviews so it is hard to say that everyone has the same educational philosophies. I never fully understood what a philosophy was or even acknowledged the fact that every teacher has a hidden philosophy behind their teaching strategies. My instructors never came out and said that they follow a certain philosophy or even practiced it for that matter.

My idea of a perfect teacher is one who inspires learning in addition to just relating the required curriculum. Teachers need creativity, enthusiasm, and motivation to be a successful teacher. All philosophies are different with a few similarities between them such as pragmatism and existentialism, which share similarities with each other. As I have been exposed to the philosophy of education, I realized there is a reason for these philosophies. A teacher's philosophy of education is a critical element in his or her approach to guiding the students along the path of enlightenment.

My personal philosophy is closely represented by the practice of progressivism which is rooted in pragmatism, which has respect for individuality. A pragmatic philosophy towards education makes education more relevant to the needs and interests of the students. John Dewey believed that people are social animals who learn well through active interplay with others and that our learning increases when we are engaged in activities that have meaning for us (1897).

The metaphysics of my philosophy are that reality is the interaction of the individual with the environment or experiences. It will always change just as society

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does. If reality is continually changing, then a curriculum claiming to be based on permanent realities is foolish (Ornstein, p. 105). That is why I believe that curriculum should revolve around the students not the school boards.

Progressivisms see epistemology as a process of examining a constantly changing universe. Knowledge comes from a social interaction. It results from experience. We learn from our mistakes. We are, at best, problem solvers. Problem solving is the most effective method for directing change towards desired outcomes. Every time a human experience is reconstructed to solve a problem, a new contribution is added to humanity's fund of experience (Ornstein, 2003). I myself have a quest for knowledge and I would like to instill that in my students.

The axiology is changing constantly since the environment is changing. Meeting the needs of the growing students in important to me. I also believe that classes should be open-ended, flexible, and permissive. If a student has a concern then they should come to the teacher, who acts as a facilitator rather a dictator, and utilize the open-door policy. If the student is not ready for the next lesson then they should progress, as they feel comfortable. Students should be allowed to develop naturally and there should be close cooperation between the school and home.

I believe that the students arrive in your classroom with an array of knowledge. What is already known is present in the mind; the teacher's job is to bring this latent knowledge to a level of consciousness. Progressivists believe that reality is always changing. I believe that reality changes day to day.

I strongly believe in taking a pragmatic approach to teaching. Values and situations are relative to the student's daily approach to life. Progressivists center the

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curriculum on the experiences, interests, and abilities of the students. Concerning this point in regard to the curriculum, I would utilize lesson plans that arouse the curiosity and push the students to a higher level of knowledge. In progressivism, teachers are facilitators. It is like they are there only if the students need them. We, as educators are there to provide support and structure to the classroom.

Realists have a different philosophy from mine. They believe in strong curriculums and strict subject matter (Ornstein, 2003). Their values are based on eternal and universal events. I believe that curriculum should be free and easy to learn. The students should dictate the guidelines like they are at a Hull house type of school. This is to a certain degree, of course. The teachers have the final say so. I did, however, like the idea that knowledge leads to a better living, personally, socially, economically, and ethically. Where would you be without and education? Those who have furthered their education are apt to receive a better job and higher



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