Philosophy of Education
My philosophy of education is almost wholly derived from my own experiences as a student. I have always had a love of learning, but have not exactly felt the same way about school, in part because I was bored with the classes and material. My teaching methods and views of learning reflect the idea I have of how I would have liked my teachers to teach.
Major philosophical approaches:
My interest in teaching stems from my belief that teachers can have an incredible amount of influence over the life of their students, and with this privilege comes a great deal of responsibility to the student. Knowing this, it seems like a no-brainer to me that a teacher, just because of the enormous amount of time a student spends in school, should be expected not only to teach, but also to help shape the student taking into account his or her individual needs. The teacher should be expected and trained to do this because it is inevitable anyway—considering the amount of time a teacher spends with students, they will be influenced one way or another by her attitude toward them and toward education. I believe that knowledge is relative and that reinforcing the feeling of acceptance of individuality is of paramount importance to a student’s academic success and emotional well-being. Existentialism appeals to me because of its emphasis on individuality rather than imitation and learning that engages emotional as well as intellectual faculties. I like the existentialist role of the teacher as a presenter of possibilities and the amount of individual contact the teacher has with each student. However, I do not agree that math and natural sciences should be de-emphasized—many students excel in these areas and are interested in them, so they should be taught with the same fervor as the arts. Of course, they also serve a practical purpose, which I believe is important. Therefore, in addition to having existentialist notions, I give equal credence to progressivism.
My progressivist perspective stems from my belief that the purpose of public education is to help people learn to think critically, to be able to teach themselves new things. Although I am aware that education is the path to a job, I do not advocate using that as a motivation to students—mainly because I know that this is not effective, probably because young children and most teenagers do not have any idea what life is like after high school (which is why I believe that every 16-year-old should be required to work in a fast food restaurant for at least 6 months). Another reason I think this type of extrinsic motivation is ineffective is that it does not make the material being taught any more interesting to the student, so it may be irrelevant that the individual wants to learn because he or she still finds it difficult to pay attention and truly comprehend the material because of lack of interest in it. A good teacher should be...