My Philosophy of Education My own philosophy of education is rather difficult for me to explain. There are many parts of our educational system that I disagree with. The problem is that I see far too many problems, yet offer few answers. Todays educational systems seem so trendy and political. It almost seems like we should not get comfortable with any one way of doing things because policies and procedures change so often. My own philosophy is one that many people have heard of, If its not broken, then dont fix it!. This is simple, and so am I. Upon reading some of the different philosophical views towards education, I found many really good ideas. Each philosophy is presented very attractively.
And why not? The people who set forth these particular ideas were very passionate about what they believed in. Unfortunately, we could all debate about the different philosophical views of education until we are blue in the face. This still doesnt actually make any one opinion, better than any of the others. We all have opinions, what we need is common ground between them. Hopefully, that is what my educational philosophy stands for. The metaphysics, or nature of reality, of my philosophy starts with the subjects we study in school.
Subjects should be functional to todays world. Our educational system is far more diverse today than it has ever been, and our subject matter should reflect that. The reality of the subjects studied in school, should also reflect upon the reality in each students environment. Reality can change, because environments change. Textbooks and literature become somewhat obsolete after a while because our culture changes so rapidly. That is not to say that classic pieces of literature are not of use in the classroom, but each literary product presented in the classroom should hold some information that is relatively useful for all of the students. When considering metaphysics in the classroom, I believe that religion is something for outside of the classroom.
There are far too many religious beliefs in the world to accommodate all of them, so that is an area best left alone. This leaves plenty of time for other areas of development. If it is the wish of a family to have religion addressed in the classroom, then there are certain specialized schools that do just that. I believe it is the responsibility of the church to educate their youth in these areas. Lastly, writing skills are important to the metaphysics of my educational philosophy.
Writing is a necessity in order to accurately document events and opinions. Distinguishing the difference between fact and fiction can be quite difficult. But a strong foundation of writing skills make identifying reality, that much easier. The epistemology, or nature of knowledge, in my philosophy is much like that of the pragmatists. I believe that interaction with the environment is a key part of education. Education should extend outside of the classroom.
Life is a constant learning process in itself. If we compared how much time we learn in classrooms to the amount we learn out of them, there is no comparison. If an environmental science class is learning how to use a compass in the woods, then that is exactly what they should do, literally. Another part of my epistemology is problem solving. Once again I find myself siding with the pragmatist view.
There are many people who are book smart, but not so many of those people can practically apply that knowledge. Todays system praises short term memory. Far too many subjects are taught and then forgotten. If we desire to retain information then it must be useful and interesting to us. Knowledge has definitely taken a back seat to the test score. It is very possible to obtain an A, in a subject but not actually learn anything about it.
Todays society values grades, not knowledge. They are two very different things. The axiology, or the nature of values, is also a very sensitive area to touch upon. Moral values, for the most part, should be taught at home. Ethics are an important part of education (plagiarism, dishonesty, etc.).
If ethical values are going to be worthwhile, then they must be part of life outside of the classroom as well. If the gap between ethics outside of school differs greatly from that of ethics inside the classroom, the learning process can be greatly hindered. A perfect example, in my mind, is the recent tragedy at Columbine high school in Colorado. The students who went into school with their guns smoking, were obviously far beyond ethical principles, and did not know of any other way to seek redemption. The aesthetics of values is a much more simple area of education than morals.
This should be entirely up to the student. If a student has seriously considered the material presented, then perhaps appreciation for the beauty of nature and art is possible. The teacher is simply a facilitator in this situation. Teachers must also be careful not to lead students in any certain direction with their appreciation, but rather let the students lead themselves. Society as a whole will lead students in a certain direction, because it is society as a whole that decides what is right or wrong. We learn right from wrong through trial and error. Once again I seem to side with the pragmatists in believing that values depend on all of the variables present during that particular time or setting. If a person cannot conform to the norms of society when it comes to morals, or any other area, then that person will end up being an outcast or undesirable.
I think that natural consequences should be the penalty for not having morals. Either you conformingly exist, or you cease to exist. The logic of my philosophy is simply to approach education logically. For example, it does not make sense that students must pass a comprehensive exam in Massachusetts in order to graduate from high school. I cant wait to hear about the student who aces the SATs, but flunks the MCAS. Besides, there is no way to test and measure life skills, which are a large part of a successful life after high school.
Students should develop those skills throughout the course of their lives. Logic is also a key part of communication. Education should help students develop a strong verbal and written competency, as these are important parts of real life. It would be logical for school to be more like real life in order not to create some kind of sheltered fantasy land (schools) in which students hide from the world. Strong communication skills will help the progress of society.
And that is one of the important roles of school, isnt it? It prepares our youth to be productive and successful members of our society. Lastly, school must be logical in order for students to completely invest in it. If students do not see the need or usefulness for education, then they will be less likely to benefit from it. Too many students drop out of school because the problems in their lives do not seemingly have the chance of being solved with or without an education, so they simply give up. In conclusion, we as a society must make school an enriching experience for our children.
We can do this by supporting the schools and contributing to the process of bettering lives outside of school. When there are less distractions outside of the classroom, there are in fact more learning opportunities presented within it, for everyone.