During the course of my life as a student, I have experienced with diverse philosophies of education and styles of learning and teaching. Philosophy of education is the branch of applied or practical philosophy involved with the nature and purposes of education and the philosophical difficulties resulting from educational theory and practice (Siegel, 2018). The key philosophies of education can be divided into three main categories: teacher-centered philosophies, student-centered philosophies, and society-centered philosophies. These consist of Essentialism, Perennialism, Progressivism, Social Reconstructionism, Existentialism, Behaviorism, Constructivism, Conservatism, and Humanism (Sadker, 1997). As a student, I have been in classrooms that have influenced my life positively and negatively. By discerning difference between the two, I have been able to make a distinction among the make-up attributes of a good teacher and those that do rather the opposite.
When combing my life experiences as a student with what I have learned thus far in this class, I have a better understanding of what a good educator is. A good teacher to me is one who can impart lessons that are helpful in both inside and outside of their classroom, one who can creates an individual rapport with his or her pupils, and one whose past students think of well into adulthood. When considering characteristics of past teachers in my life, my strengths, and my personal views on teaching, I have gathered one remarkable educator in my lifetime. My 6th grade teacher, Mrs. Orihuela
Mrs. Orihuela’s philosophy of education was student-centered, perhaps a combination of Progressivism, Humanism, and Constructivism. She cultivated our ethical compass, nurtured each one of us to reach our fullest potential, and used teaching to form our view of the world. To not be limited by the fact we are all immigrants and did not know the language but to become students who not only excel in her classroom but in life.
Prior to taking some assessments as part of my lessons this semester, I was unaware of the different styles of learning. For very long time, I struggled with the idea that there might be something wrong with me when compared to my siblings. As they seem to have a better grasp of things when being taught. After taking the Learning Style Assessment, I was surprise to learn that I am a kinesthetic learner. Therefore, I learn by doing. Now, what I thought was a problem it is not anymore, because it only means that I learn differently. If only my teachers in elementary school would have taken the time to get to know the best way for me to learn, it would have made my life so much easier. When my family and I move to this country, I not only struggled with the culture shock but with fact that teachers did not want to take the time to teach me in a corner of the room apart from my peers and have do activities to keep me busy. However, Mrs. Orihuela looked passed my limitation of language barrier but she took the time to include me and teach me in my own learning style.
My educational philosophy is one in the same with that of my favorite teacher, as I am a vivid testimony of what a student-centered education does for the pupils, and the impact it has over them throughout their lives. Although, when completed my philosophy of education survey, I was surprised to learn that I am compatible with Essentialism, Progressivism, Existentialism, Perennialism, and Social Reconstructivism. Gearing more towards a teacher-center philosophy of education. A teacher-centered philosophy of education is presently the leading style of public education in the United States (Siegel, 2018). It is the teaching of basic skills that have been proven over time to be needed in society (Thayer-Bacon, 2012).
Regardless of what the survey shows, my personal philosophy of education is that I believe that every individual has the capability to learn. As teachers, we cannot view education as a one-way street. We should not think of students as unintelligent beings just waiting to be filled with information by us, their teachers. In the contrary, we should see them as people who can weigh in to the classroom, contributing and acquiring knowledge from each other. Through experience, I learned that each student learn at a different speed, with a variety of approaches and tools that make it is possible. My personal philosophy is that we do not only need to lecture our students but provide them with the guidance they need to succeed.
Many theorists and philosophers made great contributions to our education system with their research, which proves the importance our personal philosophy of education. Amongst them John Dewey, Friedrich Froebel, and Maria Montessori. John Dewey (1859 – 1952) was an American philosopher and educator who strongly believed that the best education involves learning through doing (Reese, 2011). He is the Modern Father of Experiential Education. (Siegel, 2018). His philosophy of learning through experience went against both old-style and gradual education and concentrated on empirical education, inspiring teachers to deliver excellence instructive encounters that would affect students future decision making (Thayer-Bacon, 2012).This hands-on learning approach meant that students’ need to interact with their setting in order to acclimate and learn. Dewey executed this belief by setting up the University of Chicago Laboratory School (Reese, 2011). His ideas have been crucial in founding practices of progressive education. For example, the learn-by-doing theory was adopted by Richard DuFour and applied to the development of professional learning communities (Reese, 2011).
Friedrich Wilhelm August Froebel (1782 – 1852) was a German educationalist who pioneered early childhood education. Froebel was associated with Progressive education (Muelle, 2005). His philosophy of education was student-centered, as he considered that education should be tailored to the needs and requirements of each stage developing stage of a child. He is best recognized as the creator of the ‘kindergarten system’ (Muelle, 2005). Froebel transformed the way we think about early childhood education. He designed balls, wooden blocks, tiles, sticks and rings to prove that children learn by playing (Eugene F. Provenzo, 2009). Acknowledged around the world as the Froebel Gifts or Gaben, these objects were a vital part of his Kindergarten. The Froebel Gifts have been comprehensively replicated and modified by instructors and toys manufacturers (Eugene F. Provenzo, 2009).
Maria Montessori (1870 – 1952) was an Italian educator and architect of the Montessori method, which is grounded on idea of the imaginative capability of children, their desire to learn, and the right of each child to be regarded as an individual (Thayer-Bacon, 2012). Her educational philosophy was child-centered, as she belied in encouraging each student to his or her fullest potential (Reese, 2011). During her research, she found that some simple items stimulated young children’s curiosity and attentiveness not formerly thought likely. Disruptive children settled down through such voluntary work. The items that were used were intended precisely to encourage individual instead of collaborative effort (Muelle, 2005). Today there are many Montessori schools around the world. Teachers help students to make improvements to reach the specified knowledge and skills in each of the curricular areas (Thayer-Bacon, 2012).
My personal philosophy of education is to not only depend on theory but to instruct my students by teaching those skills they will need in life to solve problems; by teaching them skills they will need to interact and work professionally with others. It is our job as educators to teach our students to be able to perform in the life, which not only entails academic material but social skills too. I am a strong believer that it takes a village to raise a child. Therefore, it is not only our jobs as teachers to educate our children, but also that of parents, families and communities working together to reinforce and enhance the lives of our future, who are our children.