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What is the importance of a philosophical framework for a teacher? I need to understand the relevance of philosophy to education and educational practices.

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litteacher8 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2008

write15,967 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Teachers develop a philosophy whether they know it or not.  I think it's helpful to identify your philosophy so that you can evaluate your decision making and how your philosophy actually affects your decisions and whether or not you support certain ideas.

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Ruth Williams eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write2,181 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and Science

Your personal philosophy as a teacher is what drives your classroom experience. How you think students learn, what you think they should learn, how they should be expected to behave, participate, and etc. This all drives your curriculum and instruction. Teaching without a philosophy is bound to be less effective than having a guiding philosophy. However, as you grow and mature in your teaching abilities, your philosophy should grow and mature too.

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kamiegoldstein eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write21 answers

starTop subjects are Literature and History

An educator's philosophy of education should be one that services his or her students. This philosophy is the approach an individual educator takes toward his or her classroom. Can all your students learn? You must believe that they all can and teach with this in mind. Your philosophy of education should apply to any classroom situation, any subject, and any individual student. It will be a guide and a goal for you to work toward.

If an administrator asks you for your philosophy of education, have one well articulated. This will serve as a statement you may be asked in an interview. Be prepare to have one at the ready. An administrator will be seeking to learn whether or not you really have a career plan for teaching in a classroom that is reasonable. Your philosophy should show that you have an idea what pedagogy is and can be.

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2010

write4,539 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

Being a teacher in a classroom is like being the leader of a small country, full of differing points of view, assorted needs, diverse talents and abilities, and conflicting goals.  Your job is to figure out what kind of a leader you will be, given that you have a job to do despite any objections or deflections by the students.  You must find a way to get them all working together toward a common goal; and you must help them achieve both individually and collectively. And, of course, you will have limitations and obstacles to contend with along the way.  This is the task of an educator and the elements which you must consider as you develop (and continue to develop) your philosophy of education.  Best wishes on your journey.

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mwestwood, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

bookM.A. from The University of Alabama


calendarEducator since 2006

write16,150 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Being a teacher is much like being a parent.  One must be stalwart in his/her purpose.  Malcolm Forbes stated, "Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one."  As post #4 has so well said, the students are more important than the particular lesson because if a teacher can instill a sense of curiosity for learning, the student then will acquire knowledge. 

Ironically, it is so often something that a teacher mentions that is not in direct line to a particular lesson, that a student is affected by long afterwards; something that indicates that teacher's perception of the world of learning.

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brettd eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write4,576 answers

starTop subjects are History, Social Sciences, and Literature

It's hard to imagine a teacher in a classroom without a serious sense of purpose.  Being a public teacher is difficult enough from day to day, and sometimes the philosophy is the only thing to remind you why you are there.  It helps us keep our eyes on the whole forest as opposed to the individual trees.

For example, with difficult students, I like to remind myself of two key components of my philosophy:

"No student is unteachable, and no student has reached his or her full potential"

And if I get too full of myself, or too focused on the subject:

"The student is more important than the subject"

Rather than focusing on every student learning everything I have to teach them about history in the span of a year or two, I try to teach them why I love the subject, in hopes they'll learn it on their own for a lifetime.

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write35,413 answers

starTop subjects are History, Literature, and Social Sciences

To me, having a philosophy of education is important because it allows you to adjust (relatively) easily to a variety of new and unexpected situations.

For example, think about how many things happen to you in class every day that you could never have planned for.  A student says or does something that you haven't really experienced before.  The administration decides to do something that disrupts one of your class periods.  A student wants to ask questions that are interesting but not exactly on topic.  How do you react to these things?

If you have a clear sense of who you are as a teacher, it is easier to respond.  When the student acts up, who are you?  Are you a strict disciplinarian or are you more of an understanding teacher?  When the other studen asks the questions, what is your goal for class -- are you going to get through that lesson no matter what, or are you going to respond.  If you know these things, you can at least respond to the students in a way that is consistent with who you are trying to be.

If you have no philosophy, you are aimless.  You react to every situation as if it were some isolated thing with no real relationship to all the other stuff that happens.  You will end up acting in very inconsistent ways and students will not know what to expect from you.

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clairewait eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2010

write2,328 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and Science

A philosophical framework, often called your philosophy of education, is simply, what you believe about the educational process, and how you plan to approach your classroom/students given what you believe.

I think there are two ways to approach this question: cerebrally and practically.  A "philosophy of education," cerebrally speaking, is never going to remain stagnant once you enter the teaching world.  As a senior in college, your level of experience with teaching likely does not exceed student teaching and internships.  This is a great time for you to think about how you wish to approach the classroom, your students, the curriculum, and the entire educational process because you are the most unaffected by some of the negative sides of teaching as you will ever be.  (I often wish I could find my first "Philosophy of Education" essay.  It would be interesting to see what I thought the profession was all about with my college idealistic mindset.)

Personally speaking, developing your philosophy of education will at least give you a beginning goal.  Then, understand, with every single year of experience, your philosophy will likely change.  You will start to realize what it is really important to you in a classroom, and what things you are willing to sacrifice.  If nothing else, just for you personally, this will help you keep the big picture separate from the details.  (When you experience a particularly difficult day, you might forget about the big picture and allow the details to really get you down.  Refocusing depends on your ability to remember your goals.)

On a practical level, however, writing your philosophy of education and keeping it updated, is a great idea.  First, it will definitely come up in interview questions, in one form or another.  It might even be an exact question on an application.  Next, most teachers are required to obtain a number of Continuing Education Units (CEUs), or classes, each year to keep their teaching licence current.  Additionally, most public schools require individual teachers to write "growth plans" each year, with specific goals detailed within.  At the end of the year (especially for new teachers) principals or supervisors will use these growth plans as a means of evaluating their teachers.  I found myself, in my first 2-3 years of classroom teaching, using my philosophy of education in many of my CEU classes as well as in my growth plans.

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commoncents | Student

The importance of a philosophical framework for a teacher is necessary in order to understand the relevance of philosophy so that we may become educated ourselves; the importance of philosophy is prophesied in the asking "why is it important?" and "to whom is it of importance?" and perhaps, "is even it important?" Whether we are capable of asking ourselves in an authentic way with people we genuinely wish to discover truth, then we are doing philosophy in education.

Through the admission that we are ignorant of answers to these and many other questions make philosophy relevant or not in education and educational practice. If we are always checking our own assumptions behind the questions we ask (and if we have a great mentor to guide our thinking) we find many golden nuggets revealed in not the answering of the questions. Even if we somehow arrive at the same answers that we find in the tradition of philosophical thought in Western history. We still have to ask ourselves if we are truly knowing of something, and if we are truly knowing something, are we then safe to call ourselves educated?

Philosophy in education deals with how one aught to be educated in the world -- and if one can even spell out their own framework of philosophy for education that can be communicated by words alone. If you have ever had a great teacher, you probably have found it difficult to explain how it is that they are an amazing teacher and how we are able to recognize them as great teachers. Nevertheless, we have them -- and we are inspired and lifted from their teaching in ways which reveal the world and who we are within it. A framework of education in philosophy is a great question, and one that we must wonder whether or not it is being evoked enough in our educations.

epollock | Student

A philosophy might be a positive thing or it might be a negative thing for a teacher. If someone is set in their ways and is inflexible, then maybe their philosophy is not the greatest one. I think it's a delicate balance between thinking your doing a great job and test results which say you are not.

jindalshelly | Student

It's hard to imagine a teacher in a classroom without a serious sense of purpose.  Being a public teacher is difficult enough from day to day, and sometimes the philosophy is the only thing to remind you why you are there.  It helps us keep our eyes on the whole forest as opposed to the individual trees.

For example, with difficult students, I like to remind myself of two key components of my philosophy:

"No student is unteachable, and no student has reached his or her full potential"

And if I get too full of myself, or too focused on the subject:

"The student is more important than the subject"

Rather than focusing on every student learning everything I have to teach them about history in the span of a year or two, I try to teach them why I love the subject, in hopes they'll learn it on their own for a lifetime.

Yes I completely agree with your thought work. It makes sense and has given me insight on my question.

Shelly