Philosophy of Teaching
A philosophy of teaching; Many fresh faced college kids by the time they are sophomores or juniors have picked a major and a career path. A majority will go into teaching, believing they have no alternative for the skills and talents they have. Others will choose teaching because they discover they love it and love sharing their knowledge with others. Of those that get a job post-college teaching, only about half stay with it, and some of those suffer burn out after the first five to ten years.
So how does one approach teaching? What is the philosophy of teaching? What is its purpose and thought process behind it? Good questions all, and the philosophy of teaching starts with, of all things, history.
Historically, scholars, men appointed to teach and record just about everything around them to other men and boys who were apprenticed to them to learn, did so because their educated brains were required at the hands of rulers and lords to learn what needed to be learned in order to rule effectively. Some of these famous scholars were Socrates, a philosopher, Pythagoras, a mathematician, Galileo, an astronomer who mapped the stars and the heavens, and many more. The students who followed Socrates and listened to his philosophical treatises did so for wisdom as well as knowledge. Pythagoras’s students craved logic and a sense of fullness in the imaginings of theory and three dimensional shapes. Galileo had few followers but even they wanted to know what he knew. What all three of these and all teachers have in common is a philosophy of teaching.
Differing Teaching Philosophies
The philosophy of teaching is a little different for every teacher of every subject, but what they share is this: to change the lives of the future generations and challenge the way others think and propose that the students push the envelope to think beyond what they’ve been taught. Each teacher develops a statement on their own personal approach to teaching others and what it means to them, as well as their goals on how to accomplish the end results of their own philosophy. For those who study philosophy, English, writing, and communications arts of any kind, formulating such a personal statement is easy. For many other fields of education, fine-tuning an expression of personal teaching views is hard, but not impossible.
The Philosophy of Teaching is a Progression
To begin, a teacher must focus on what they hope to accomplish personally as a teacher. Focusing on those goals allows the teacher to build around them and create a statement on their personal concept of learning and how it occurs. Several statements on the philosophy of teaching look for something to compare it to, in order that the readers might easily relate to the comparison. Since students learn through sight, sound, kinetic(learning through movement), and hands-on or possible combinations of some or all of these, this part of the philosophy is reflective of the personal beliefs of the teacher as to how he or she expects the majority of his or her students to learn.
Next, the educator looks to inform how they will assist students with the learning process they’ve recognized in their students and what they will continue to do to facilitate the learning process described. This is where some of the personal goals of the teacher come into play, as this is a more centralized focus on the teacher’s skills and life plan itself. This is also where the teacher describes how he or she will address uncommon situations in teaching and challenges as they arise.
The third part of the statement stresses the goals the instructor hopes to work on with the students as they learn. It moves through the concepts to the application and finally life goals for the students and what the instructor plans on doing for each of these parts to help the students succeed. As they go along, educators can revise this and other sections of their philosophy of teaching as needed when they find that certain parts don’t work or need a different approach.
Probably the thickest and hardest part to formulate for any teacher is how they plan on implementing the previously mentioned goals. Since good teachers are intuitive to the implementation process, it becomes very trying to put into words how they plan to do what they know how to do instinctively. However, a knowledgeable instructor of young and old minds alike who thoroughly knows his or her subject matter knows what they will teach and how they will teach it and when, Knowing that they can verbalize aloud and then put into print how they plan on applying the steps to teach and reach the goals they have set makes this step a lot simpler.
Finally, it’s of vital importance, whether you’re Socrates or Mr. Smith teaching an actual philosophy class, to state a plan of personal growth. The diaries and logs kept by the aforementioned famous teachers of youth and high court have their own historical passages about how they wanted to grow in the subject matter they felt was so relevant to share with their students. Yes, even Pythagoras recorded thoughts on his mathematical theories and how students could benefit from his own further future growth in his chosen field. If they could do it without thinking about it and stressing about how to express it, then a modern teacher shouldn’t have a problem with this final step either.
The Importance of Defining Your Own Philosophy of Teaching
The great thing about having your own philosophy of teaching statement on hand is that ten, twenty, forty years down the road you can pull it out, read it, and see how much success you’ve had as a teacher. You can gage how far you’ve come, and whether the time to get out of teaching for you is now. You may just find that you’re up there with the greats, and you’ve every right to share the pedestal with Socrates, Galileo, and Pythagoras. That would make it all worthwhile to have a personal statement on teaching completed now, to reflect upon later to realize its’ succeses and failures in regards to philosophy of teaching statement.