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Published: Thursday 31st of October 2013
From the very dawn of human civilization existence, there was considerable interest in education. The idea of a teacher being one of the most ancient professions is still quite widespread. When a child is born, it lacks almost everything that is needed to operate within the society to which he or she belongs. This is the moment when the actual teaching process begins. Children start mastering speaking, reading and writing skills as well as acting, following specific rules that are commonly accepted by other representatives of their culture.
That is why the ultimate goal of getting any education is to obtain maximum knowledge that will be helpful in one’s future life. This involves getting specific skills and learning rules that allow a person to become a valid member of society. Another essential aim of education is to teach people to think for themselves and provide them with adequate ethos and morals that are common for their cultural environment. The teachers usually prefer to educate their students using a particular philosophical and ideological basis. The philosophy of education still appears to be quite debatable and causes much controversy even these days. Specific disagreement is quite common in educational circles. Despite this, the fact that philosophy gave a tremendous push to the development of education is undeniable. Dozens of schools and educational traditions follow the rules that were set by the profound thinkers and philosophers of the past. The educational philosophy of my own is not based on a single philosophical tradition but appears to be a mix of several of them. More than that, it certainly bears marks of my own experience, life views, and ideas that were invented and promoted by the great thinkers that lived long before me. The ultimate goal of mine is to work with children of elementary school age. The minds and life views of children at that early age are clear and unpolluted by the society that is why the chances of influencing them the right way are rather high. This will give them a chance to form adequate skills that will be helpful in their future life.
Plenty of various opinions about what is an appropriate educational philosophy exist today. They may indeed vary as different philosophers brought something of their own in the educational process. This also influences the students as they bear the traditions of their alma maters. I think that many schools have wrong policies paying too much attention to the final tests and other tools aimed at controlling the quality of knowledge. This attitude appears to be wrong as it dismisses the initial purpose of education which is to teach people to analyze things themselves, to have their own opinion about them and have a willingness to continue exploring things to get a broader view than the one given in school. Each child needs love, care, and understanding to free their ability and the will to express the best sides of theirs. Another important thing is to prepare them for the modern life and all the changes that it has in store for the future generations. My desire is to teach children to look for their own answers to questions and not to take everything they hear for granted. My idea is to raise thinkers who could progress and bring something new to the world, not just bearers of someone else’s ideas and thoughts.
My opinion is that the ultimate goal of any school is not only to teach a person to live in his/her native society but also to be a part of a global one. The education itself should be diverse and open-minded to produce people who will fit the society based on respect, freedom and equal rights. Another essential aim of any school is to teach people to act as a part of the whole human civilization, not as a separate individual. Some thinkers, such as John Dewey, stated that bringing up a child according to social standards helps to evoke knowledge and skills that are a part of a person’s heritage. This means that a person has to follow specific rules and traditions inherited from all the generations that came before to fit into the society. What is more, many researchers believe that schools should not only provide the learners with knowledge itself but also with guidelines how to use this knowledge the right way. It is essential to remember that there is a big difference between an educated member of society and a productive one. Knowledge is useless without experience, while experience can hardly be progressive without an intellectual basis. Undeniable is the fact that the school is to create a right atmosphere for their students to inspire them in their studies and to ensure the personal development of each student.
My philosophy grows from an idea that every student is a unique participant in an educational process having an individual approach to studies. That is why it is vital for each of them to get treated the right way. Each student is gifted with diverse abilities and talents, and the aim of the teacher is to show them how to utilize these most productively. This will be quite useful for their future in both personal and professional aspects. In this light, I may highlight the three main influences that marked my own philosophy. They are the educational philosophies of Neo-Thomism, Existentialism, and Idealism.
It was Thomas Aquinas who mainly influenced the philosophy of Neo-Thomism. It is based on the idea of God’s existence and, moreover, the necessity of gaining faith and devotion as the only way to be in harmony with God. The divine is considered to be the ultimate entity that is responsible for the creation of all life and things in this world. Also, there are certain levels of knowing God and all of them can be gained through distinct degrees of faith and following the commandments. What is even more interesting is that such a philosophy contains a particular perception of a human being. There are several elements of which we consist. They are the spirit, the soul, and the body. All of the three are chained and inseparable. Following the philosophy of Neo-Thomism, I think of a human being as of something that is created for a particular purpose and gifted with self-dignity and pride. More than that, I stick to the idea that we are all godlike creatures brought to this earth to carry on moral and spiritual values. The idea behind the Neo-Thomism philosophy is that we are the ones to spread the values that we inherited from our Creator.
My own philosophy is also deeply rooted in the philosophy of Idealism, one of the most ancient philosophies in the history of humanity. Despite the fact that individual branches of Idealism differ from each other in the ideological issues considerably, two essential points unite them all. One of them is the soul of a person as the basic and the most important element that ensures human existence. The other is the idea that all the most essential things in the universe are not material.
The main idea of Idealism is the domination of mind over the body. In this light, Idealism considerers that nothing materialistic exists without having the same spiritual equivalent. Idealists believe that a human being is wise and intellectually advanced only because of the powers of spirit that lives inside. Everything we think and do is a recollection of our inner spiritual experience. This comes from the idea of reincarnation and the power of the universe to keep our spiritual memory alive.
The powers of education work only in those cases when they get delivered to consciousness. According to the ideology of Idealism, the primary responsibility for the success of education is laid entirely on the teacher and the eagerness with which he or she promotes pride of inheritance among students.
Such a philosophy is very similar to the one that I promote. I believe that the highest aim of education is self-development and spiritual growth. That is why I think that teaching moral principles and values is essential in such kind of education. The stimulation of intellectual abilities, the will to control yourself, the sense of responsibility for everything you do, as well as the preservation of moral values, – these are the main aspects on which a splendid educational system should be based.
The attention to individual values and spirituality common to Existentialism is by no means important. The teacher’s role is indeed vital for a student and his or her success in future life. That is why the teacher has to do everything possible to make studying as comfortable and efficient as possible. I see myself as one of the teachers capable of bringing up students who are self-confident and responsible for everything they do.
The role of a teacher in the process of studying may be very different. First of all, the teacher has to love children and be quite positive about everything he or she does. This can be helpful for those of them who wish to change the world for the better. One of the ultimate goals of a teacher is to create a suitable and positive atmosphere for all the students, no matter what are the differences in cultural, ethical and ideological aspects. Only such kind of environment can ensure the success and productivity of the whole educational process. The main thing is that a teacher should be a leader and a guide the students to reach the highs of knowledge and spirituality.
In fact, the education program should not be old-fashioned and conservative. It has to be suitable for all the students and acceptable for those who wish to use it the right way to be successful in the future. More than that, the teacher should be an example for the student, as it is inevitable that they will associate themselves with the one who teaches them. Finally, the teacher has to show the responsible attitude towards the educational process to teach students similar behavior. This also includes the sense of respect for individual peculiarities and life views of every human being.
A perfect school, in my opinion, has to follow several rules that will allow students to get the most and the best from the whole educational process. First of all, rules should be equal for every student. Secondly, there should be the atmosphere at school that inspires students to work as one team trying to do something together. Students have to be guided to respect each other, as well as themselves. They should try as hard as they can to use the knowledge they get for some practical purposes.
It is equally essential that the whole structure of educational process should make students understand and respect the differences between people and to appreciate such a diversity. Every educational program has to make a student’s character stronger. One cannot dismiss the importance of studying such things as respect, self-confidence, trust, and care while developing an appropriate curriculum. The absence of these aspects results in one’s failure to be successful in the modern world. Such kind of studies is to be carried out by those teachers who are good at behavior modeling. With every lesson, the teacher brings something new to the students helping them make their personalities stronger. The teacher of that kind has a crucial role in bringing up successful members of society.
I am a defender of Perennials as this is the philosophy that I sincerely adore. This educational philosophy aims at teaching students the vital issues that will help them throughout their life. The ultimate goal is to teach students specific values that will impact them. Perennialism aims at teaching students with well-tried and proven techniques that have rarely failed throughout the history. These methods are considered to be the most effective when it comes to teaching students thinking for themselves, developing their imagination, and be critical about all the things around them.
No educational system can be successful without an absolute scale of evaluation. Evaluation is essential both for students and teachers. In the first case, students can see if they are successful enough in their studies. In the second case, the teacher can evaluate his or her teaching techniques and draw certain conclusions which may influence the whole educational process. Additionally, the teacher may find out the gaps in the students’ knowledge through some sorts of assessments. This is also equally useful both for teachers and students. The correction of mistakes is a trendy kind of assessment, as it gives students the opportunity to see their mistakes from a different angle.
One cannot underestimate the role of students in the educational process. First of all, they have to be interested in the whole course of their studying. Besides, they are to have an active life position when it comes to education. Top students have to be responsible for all the wins and failures that occur during their studies, that is why it is necessary to estimate one’s abilities before setting specific aims. A good teacher has to teach students not only to absorb knowledge successfully but also use all the knowledge and skills to solve real-life troubles. An excellent student also has to explore the world around to get more knowledge and information. This boosts a set of useful skills and widens the field where they can be applied. Actually, no knowledge is helpful unless it has a practical use.
If a student is self-disciplined, responsible, positive-thinking, and respectful, there are more possibilities in life for him or her. Little children are eager to explore the world around them, and this is a completely natural behavior. Children instinctively try to get as much useful knowledge as possible. However, with time this motivation seems to fade away quickly. This is especially relevant when children switch their habitat: from the place where they grew up to a school when everything is new and unknown. Another thing that a good teacher has to do is make this passion for learning burn during the whole process of education.
In most cases, children lose their interest for exploration and passion for learning due to particular problems they face at home. This causes low grades at school as well. A soon as the teacher gets suspicious that a child is experiencing some abuse at home, there are no doubts that specific steps should be taken to put an end to it. This is not only a question of successful studying but also a matter of the psychological health of a child. Abused children in the majority of cases seem to have specific deviations such as aggressive behavior, anger, social isolation, and fear.
Undoubtedly, any information about abusing children has to get reported to the corresponding authorities to prevent any deviant behavior. More than that, children have to be educated at school as to how to behave when they know that someone of their schoolmates is under abuse. In many cases, children are afraid to tell somebody about such kind of problems and prefer to hold everything in because they fear of punishment or shame. That is why the teacher has to be the one a child can trust and tell if something is wrong at home or school. It is also necessary for every school to have some department that deals with such kind of cases.
It is necessary to say that a teacher has to be a competent professional when it comes to teaching philosophy. The philosophical theory of mine is based on three main elements. They are the surrounding, the interaction between people, and emotional response. According to my views, a child gets more success at school and in the future life when there are strong ties between a teacher and a student.
Every child deserves to be respected and loved, and that is why I, as a teacher, have to treat them in the right way to create an emotionally healthy atmosphere. The more democratic the school is, the more freedom students will have to fulfill their potential. Students are to be responsible for what they learn, and teachers are to be responsible for what they are teaching. A teacher acts as a guide to the students, that is why no one of them should get neglected and everyone should have a freedom of speech. More than that, one cannot underestimate the importance of feedback from students which is crucial for every teacher. And there are plenty of ways how a teacher can get it. The evaluation of students’ knowledge is essential not only for the monitoring their knowledge but also for assessing the effectiveness of various educational programs. This helps to keep pace with modern educational trends and to create new possibilities both for children and for teachers. I believe that my philosophy will not only be inspiring for myself. It will light a fire of exploration in the souls and mind of my students. I am as passionate about teaching as every teacher should be, and the success of my students is the most potent motivation for me to get more professional at what I do.
The feedback is critical to me as a teacher, and I can get it in so many ways. Homeworks, tests, and other kinds of evaluation are handy for this purpose and not only for students. Through such kind of tests, I can evaluate my own success as a guide who leads the students through the world of science and education. This is how the majority of teachers see these assessments, and this is one of the aims for which they were designed. In case my students fail to obtain this or that piece of knowledge, I can trace these failures and will surely find a way to perfect my skills as well as improve my students’ knowledge. That is what I call positive feedback in the course of the educational process.
In conclusion, I should say that there are two outcomes of any evaluation during school studies – fear and need. I fear that I will not be successful in teaching my students and fail in delivering the knowledge to them. The ultimate need of mine is to know that I help my students be successful in their future life. My past failures don’t get me sad, as they have given me the motivation to perfect myself and to improve my teaching skills as well as widen the range of the techniques I use in my practice. More than that, I try to involve my students in the educational process and to inspire them to be as active as possible using role plays and discussions. I also try to develop their creativity to incorporate a wide range of exciting activities. Practice shows that the more a student is involved in the educational process and the more possibilities he/she has to influence it, the more productive, educated, and successful this student may be in the future.