The philosophy that I feel the strongest connection to is Progressivism. In my educational journey the teachers that have made the most significant impact have been progressive. From K-12, I had two teachers who used the progressivism method and the lessons that I learned from them are still with me today. The progressive teachers express more individuality and creativity than others. Progressive educators relate material to real-life experiences that the learner can relate to. They generally conduct group activities rather than individual assignments.
Progressivism opposes many of the concepts and practices associated with essentialism. My personal philosophy adopts ideas from both. Essential ists believe that children learn from traditional basic subjects such as reading, writing, history, math, and science. Progressives believe that learning is stimulated by tuning into problem solving skills. I believe that students learn most effectively when both concepts are utilized together.
Many teachers that I have encountered were essentialist because this is what they were taught. The essentialism philosophy had been the dominant approach to education in America from the beginning of our history. However early in the twentieth century essentialism was criticized as being too rigid to prepare students adequately for adult life. Dewey was a major figure in the Pragmatic movement that later became known as progressivism.
Every educator has their own thoughts and ideas about education, educational processes, and what they feel is the best way to educate students of today and tomorrow. These philosophies are built on the individual's personal experiences and beliefs. My philosophy is like that of many new teachers, eclectic. There are ideas of many philosophies that I agree with and just as many that I disagree with. Teachers are as diverse as the students they teach. I believe that it takes a combination of several philosophies to reach each student in a classroom.
Harris-Stowe State College's Conceptual Framework advocates for effective teachers for a diverse society. Their roles include the user of technology, counselor, skilled instructor, communicator with parents, and diagnostic prescriber to name few of the criteria that would make for an effective teacher according to Harris Stowe's framework. Successful teachers also have to utilize strictness, motivation, compassion, patience, honesty, and flexibility to educate the students that are a part of our diverse educational arena today. Teachers are not just responsible for their student's educational growth.
They have to be responsible for the growth of the whole child. Teachers shape the minds and personalities of the future. Some teachers many not realize it but they make a difference in the lives of their students. The knowledge, compassion, and wisdom that are passed on in the classroom will be with them for a lifetime. In conclusion I believe that the purpose of education in the 21 St century is to equip students with the power to think effective and objectively.
By taking the time to listen to students I feel that teachers can learn also. With any luck, throughout the school year the student and teacher can grow together and create a mutual learning environment.