Developing and detailing my philosophy of education is an intricate task. It would be easy to write a “standard” philosophy of education which incorporates catchy buzzwords, heartfelt beliefs and strategies. Such a philosophy would include discussions on student driven learning, integrated curriculum, multi-sensory approach, exploratory learning environments, and multi-modal learning strategies.
A “standard” philosophy would continue explaining the importance of teachers acting as facilitators and not lecturers. It would expound upon the importance of establishing enabling and terminal learning objectives, developing structured lesson plans, relating content to real word application, administrating summative and formative evaluations, comparing results to measurable goals, and delivering clear learning expectations.
This “standard” philosophy would conclude by stressing the goal of establishing a safe, open, dynamic, and reflective learning environment which promotes critical thinking skills, encourages individual, participation, allows for differentiated instruction, and fosters cooperation.
I would explain how educators need to be patient, compassionate, nurturing, demanding, motivating, respectful, and understanding; and educators must be role models, caregivers, peers, and authority figures all wrapped into one.
However, all of these theoretical and practical terms and strategies do not capture the true essence of what a philosophy of education should encompass. By definition, a philosophy of education should address the nature or meaning of education, elaborate with a specific set of ideas about the subject, and contain a personal perspective of how to approach the subject.
Education has been said to be the great equalizer. For many years, I interpreted that statement as education afforded individuals opportunities and pathways to success, despite facing adverse environment. But in reality education is the great equalizer to ignorance. Education creates the foundation for opportunity and success from interpersonal relationships and familial bonds to social tolerance and technological advancements.
Educating others has been called a thankless and underappreciated job. However, it is more than a job and no one should teach just for the sake of having a job. There are few, if any undertakings which are more important. Whether at home teaching your own children or in the classroom teaching other peoples’ children, education is a noble and rewarding pursuit and a privilege with a great responsibility.
As an educator, education is my philosophy of life; not a philosophy within my life. This lifelong philosophy is demonstrated in two different but complementary ways; my continued commitment to improving my own education and my desire to help inspire, train, teach, and collaborate with others.
A philosophy only provides a guide or outline for determining appropriate action. Believing and following a philosophy while simultaneously allowing for input and change ultimately determines the long term success of individuals and their respective philosophy.
Lance Fein, Ed.D