Teacher Development

What Is Your Educational Philosophy?

While lesson planning this summer, educators might also take time to reflect on their core beliefs about learning and teaching.
Girl sitting at a table next to stairs working on her laptop

Over the summer, teachers reflect on the year and often redesign and perfect their teaching strategies and plans. In essence, they get back to the basics of what they believe is the best way to inspire learning in their students -- in other words, they revisit and refine their philosophy of education.

A school district might ask a teacher or principal applying for a job about her or his philosophy of education. In this post, I've decide to share mine, and I am curious to see if any of my beliefs resonate with you. So here they are:

1. Students need to learn.

Students want and need to learn as much as they need food, clothing, and shelter. An educator's primary job is to fill that primal need for learning by creating engaging and relevant learning experiences every day. The greatest gift a teacher can give students is motivating them to experience repeated learning success.

2. Students need to be active participants in learning.

Students learn best by doing, and active teaching encourages active learning. Teachers should treat students as active participants in the learning process, providing them with skills, such as:

  • How to study
  • How to take notes
  • How to memorize
  • How to express themselves effectively

These skills will help them be part of a high-performance learning team. Also, students need to be encouraged to explore and research information beyond the confines of the classroom and textbook.

3. Learning is a physiological activity involving the whole body.

The best way to engage a student is to have a solid classroom management plan and a well-planned lesson that is grounded in relevant, purposeful activities designed to enhance that student's knowledge and skills and leave her or him wanting to learn more. Teachers should be strongly aligned with student-centered and student-directed learning that embraces exploration, discovery, experiential learning, and the production of academically rigorous products.

4. Students need timely feedback to improve.

Teachers gather data on student performance to adjust the learning environment and instruction so that they can target students' learning needs. Teachers administer pretests to find a starting point for learning and post-tests to determine the students' increase in performance level as well as the teachers' effectiveness.

5. Students need structure and repetition to learn.

A teacher should be able to organize a standards-based lesson sequence, successfully implement the plan, and then evaluate student learning. A teacher should be able to create an exciting learning environment that makes it difficult for students to not learn. A teacher should know how to include all students in learning at their own level, and a teacher should be able to inspire the students to push themselves to the next level.

6. Students need information, knowledge, and skills.

Having access to knowledge resources is as important to a child's education as the actual curriculum content. Relevant and current information must be at the teachers' and students' fingertips to provide answers when the questions are still fresh. Information "on demand" is more valuable than information "just in case."

7. Students need tools and resources.

Students should know how their taxon and locale memory systems work. Students should have skills and strategies to be able to work effectively in the different levels of the cognitive domain as defined by Benjamin Bloom. Students should be aware of their own learning preferences, and teachers should assist with creating a plan to develop other learning skills. Educational tools are a means to an end. For example, technology used appropriately can greatly magnify the students' capacity to learn and the teachers' capacity to teach, inspire, and motivate.

Please share your philosophy in the comment section below. Also, if you wish to analyze mine and give me feedback, I would appreciate that, too.