Philosophy of Educationwhich theory best represents your philosophy of teaching, as an educator?
My philosophy is "Do what you have to in order to keep your job!" I would love to claim on the housetops what I really would like to do and be as a teacher in public education, but my district is so strict that they literally tell us what we have to do each week in order to supply data to them about students' scores. Each person in our department has to teach the exact same thing each quarter, which is fine, I guess, but the next step, I'm sure, is that they come in and hold our hands while we teach, too. Yearly evaluations are judged by principals who are so far from the trenches that they simply mark a teacher down for not doing a lesson exactly as their evaluation sheet dictates. It's ridiculous, but I have got to do what they want in order to keep feeding my family. There is no more autonomy in the classroom anymore in which to choose a philosophy to stand by!
I'm a constructivist, a Dewey disciple. And honestly, I think much educational theory springs from that, including Vygotsky and Piaget. It all goes back to the idea that we must construct our own learning. All that we learn springs from our five senses, so we must engage those senses in order to learn and construct our knowledge, using sensory experience to connect to what is already there. No one can learn about science from reading a textbook or learn about English literature from just reading theories of literary analysis. Whatever it is we learn, it is by jumping in and doing it.
I'm a firm believer in a learning platform versus a teaching platform. For students to truly learn they have to discover, learn, and draw personal connections to the information the educator wants them to learn. This simply doesn't happen in classrooms dominated by a teacher lecturing. Students have to have the ability to collaborate, create, and use critical thinking to gain knowledge.
I think that a teaching philosophy develops over time in the individual. I certainly identified strongly with the constructivists and progressives. Personally, I use a mixture of many styles but I love inquiry-based and student-driven education. I try to give my students exposure to many ideas and ways of learning.
I tend to employ William Glasser's "Reality Therapy" most often in my classroom. Essentially, my goal is to get my students to create their own goals and navigate their own steps to achievement. Consequences are real. Failure is real. But everything is a learning opportunity.