A Personal Philosophy of Education
Education refers to the learning processes involved in acquiring information. It is divided into two broad categories: formal education which is attained from institutions such as schools and informal/self taught education which is achieved through one’s life experience. Formal learning takes place in classroom settings and teachers are charged with the responsibilities of providing the curriculum according to the accepted plan of how learning should be conducted. Education equips an individual with basic life skills and advanced skills that are useful in one’s survival as well as making them more attractive than others in the job market. Education process begins when an individual is in the mother’s womb and continues throughout his life.
Education is concerned with the future. It focuses on growth and development of all sectors of life even if one is studying issues of the past. Learning lays much emphasis on the conscious world, and as a result it entails all the activities intended to stimulate the thinking capability of individuals fostering their learning (Gibbs & Habeshaw, 2001).
For education to be effective in its purpose, there are certain beliefs that must be considered. First, education should be aimed at providing ample opportunity for all learners and students to gain information and knowledge to the very best of their effort, interest and ability regardless of culture, race, gender, ethnicity or social class. Secondly, education should reflect on democratic ideals that reflect the democratic society that we live in. Thirdly, all forms of education should be focused on how every student should be trained and moulded into becoming responsible citizens and members of the society. Fourthly, education should be aimed at teaching individuals how to think and not telling them what to think about. This involves creation of individuals who ask constructive and useful questions. Education should therefore play a major role in nurturing the curiosity and inquisitiveness of individuals.
The belief that every student entering a classroom has something the teacher can learn facilitates sharing of ideas and opinions among students. This gives the learners a safe atmosphere and a feeling that their opinions and thoughts are valued and thus they are convinced to share their challenges and accomplishments with the teacher. These beliefs are compatible with each other since they all focus on producing students who understand the importance of serving their community, helping others as well making major differences in their worlds.
The educational aims and objectives entail all the purposes for which learning is intended. To begin with, education is aimed at the physical, spiritual and mental development of individuals. Learners are trained to be self dependent and self confident with the acquisition of education. Their personalities, characters and cultures are developed and assimilated together with the knowledge they acquire (Bobbitt, 2000). This goes hand in hand with the existentialism philosophy which is concerned with what lies and takes place within and individual. Secondly, education is aimed at making individuals capable of earning their livelihood to facilitate them to lead a happy and secure life. On top of that, they should be able to contribute effectively to the society to enable grow strong and prosper. Education should also be aimed at its conformity with the technological advancements of the recent times so that it does not lag behind as the world advances. This enables the society address their problems and challenges with the best possible answers and solutions obtained from the technological advancements.
For effective learning to take place, different learning methods are used depending on the subject being studied and the type of content being delivered. For instance, a teacher may decide to use the lecture method. It is the most common form of passing information to learners. Teachers are expected to know how to present and develop lectures in addition to understanding its strengths and weaknesses. It is mostly used by teachers when introducing new topics, showing a relationship between practice and theory, summarizing ideas and when emphasizing main points of a concept. Lecture method is suitable for both large and small groups of learners. Other methods of learning can be combined with the lecture method to add meaning to the knowledge being passed to the learners.
Group or cooperative learning is another method of learning. This instructional pedagogy involves organizing of learners into small groups. These groups enable learners to maximize their time learning from one another. Research has shown that this method of has indicated possibilities of academic achievement. Learners subjected to this learning method have: higher self-esteem, higher test score, greater comprehension of what they are learning as well as improved social skills. Teachers are expected to give guidelines and directions on what is expected of the students prior to the group work (Gibbs & Habeshaw, 2001). The learners are supposed to be mixed heterogeneously, with considerations on ethnic backgrounds, race, academic abilities and gender. They should not be left alone to have groups based on cliques or friendship. John Dewey and his pragmatism philosophy supported the idea of group work since they enabled individuals to appreciate and learn from one another.
A guided-discussion is also a method of teaching that can be used by teachers. In this learning method, the teacher relies on learners to provide opinions, experiences, ideas and information. This method is used by instructors during post flight or pre flight briefings or during classroom discussions after the learners have acquired some experience and knowledge. It is the exact opposite of the lecture method (Gibbs & Habeshaw, 2001). The teacher should facilitate the discussion between the learners on top of treating them with impartiality and urging them to ask questions. Lastly, students can also learn to use the demonstration-performance method. This method involves learning of the mental and physical skills by their actual performance but under strict supervision. For instance, one may learn how to weld by welding, how to write by writing or how to read by reading. Knowledge on how to use machines, equipment and tools are passed using this type of instructional method.
The curriculum content should aim at integrating employability and life skills as well as vocational and general education skills. This enables learners relate what they study in class with their real life situations for better survival. By merging these skills they become more marketable in the job market since they are in a better position to handle all challenges that might come along their way. Curriculum content should also be geared towards development, awareness and mobility of learners’ careers (Bobbitt, 2000).This enables them adapt accordingly to the present and future changes and requirements of their careers. Experientialists supported curriculum content which prepared learners for future careers. Lastly, the curriculum content should meet the needs of students of both sexes, and of various cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
Students are expected to define their own learning goals as well as evaluating their own achievements. This gives them to the opportunity to be responsible for their learning. The knowledge students acquire in school, from their teachers and from their classmates and friends enable them solves life’s problems and challenges as well as improving their way of thinking. They are expected to value everyone and develop skills to work with other people. Teachers on the hand should strive towards imparting knowledge to their students and help them grow up to become responsible people in the society. Teachers also act as role models to learners and therefore they should set good examples for their learners to emulate.
Education is a lifelong process that brings latent ideas to consciousness, an idea that is widely supported Plato’s Idealism philosophy. Its claim that pursuing knowledge and identifying with the absolute mind is the stepping stone to understanding the truth is an emphasis on the importance of education to man.
Bobbitt, John. (2000). The Curriculum. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Gibbs, G & Habeshaw, T. (2001).Preparing to Teach: Introduction to Effective Teaching
in Higher Education. Bristol, Technical and Educational Services Ltd.