Philosophy of education is made up of statements that an individual considers as of importance and worthwhile concerning education. Philosophy involves the unconscious and conscious search for wisdom which always guides us in how we focus our future (Klemke, Kline, & Hollinger, 1986). It also involves specific guidance on how it should be practiced by both the teachers and the public at large. I am going to discuss my personal philosophy about the purpose of education and classical educational philosophy that is a close match to my philosophy. In this paper, I will highlight the aspect of Rousseau’s view of philosophy and pragmatism philosophy which are close to what I believe about the educational philosophy. I will address the roles of teachers and how prospective grade six teachers should be prepared. Before discussing the role of my grade six students, I will give my vision of the way schools should regard the curriculum, instruction strategy and assessment. To finalize my paper, I will critically address the issue of at-risk student in my classroom who is doing below the grade level and has a poor school attendance by giving my own interventions that I hope will facilitate a positive learning experience for this child. I will conclude my paper by highlighting the main points discussed in this paper.
Purpose of Education
The main purpose of education should be to mold individuals who then help in shaping the community in which they live. Education should help an individual to discover himself/herself. It should help one to make free informed choices to which he would then attach a sense of responsibility. Education should have a lasting experience that would be evidenced by an individual’s growth and development in entire life. Education is an extension of an individual base knowledge towards new skills that are useful in one’s life.
Importance of Schools
School brings together learners and teachers who form an exchange of knowledge and skills. Schools act as platforms from where a warm and safe environment necessary for teaching and learning is provided. Despite the conditions at home which are very diverse, learners are able to move on with and cope well in a school setting. It provides supportive relationships, creates positive self-esteem and resiliency.
My Educational Philosophy
I hold a view that education should aim at molding an all-around individual who is able to fit in any society that has a standard moral culture that is widely accepted. My view matches that those of the pragmatist philosophers such as Rousseau who believe that education should be learner-centered (Donald, & Orlich, 1968). The learner has a lot of democracy for choosing what is meaningful to them and the teacher respect that choice (Klemke, Kline, & Hollinger, 1986). The elements of critical thinking and problem-solving take a central role in acquiring knowledge and applying it in other situations by the students. The teacher is a guide and a facilitator and does not apply an authoritative approach in teaching.
The Roles of a Teacher
The role of a teacher is to guide advice and offer encouragement to the students. I am in a view that as a teacher, one should facilitate learning by providing a warm environment where all students of diverse backgrounds get motivation and peace. Since I believe in a student-centered approach to education, a teacher should cultivate mutual trust while implementing a core curriculum with meaningful materials. The teacher should use creative ways of delivering the content in order to inspire and enlighten the students. Allow the students to learn from their chosen examples by formulating ways that will involve learners in collaborative groups. Stimulate and inspire the students learning by using different teaching techniques, such as discussions and real-life demonstrations. A teacher should be a role model to the students by being a good manager of emotions, resources and time.
Teachers play an important role in improving a student’s skills and knowledge which are useful in problem-solving and personal development. Another important role of a teacher is to encourage the students on seeking help from fellow classmates. This promotes the spirit of cooperation in attacking a problem which can give rise to a better understanding of concepts taught in class by a teacher. Foster resiliency among students by focusing on their strengths. One should make sure that students have faith in your teachings and that their welfare is cared for by the school and fellow students.
Teachers should ensure that all students participate in fruitful learning and are given equal opportunities to succeed in their studies. The teacher should engage the parents in creating a vision of better learning for all students at school. As a grade six teacher, it is important to create and maintain a sense of belonging among teachers and students. Students feel appreciated when they know that their teachers have respect for them and their families. Teachers should act as a resource center for the student whenever they need consultations concerning classwork and life issues as well.
How Prospective Grade Six Teachers Should Be Prepared
Prospective grade six teachers face some challenges as they prepare to deliver the curriculum to these children. I suggest that teachers should be ready to communicate well with the students. They should be ready to speak the word of success to all students. They should prepare to face and appreciate diverse cultures, students with different levels of intelligence and emotion control (Donald, Orlich, 1968). They should equip themselves with the skills which can creatively develop a school climate that encourages every student to prosper.
The Roles of My Grade Six Students
I expect my students to be punctual and be disciplined. They should be active, not a passive learner in my grade six class. Since I expect them to be from diverse backgrounds, mutual respect for fellow students and teachers would be of paramount importance. They should actively participate in all the projects that I give out and ask questions where they don’t understand or need help.
My Vision of the Way Schools Should Regard the Curriculum, Instruction Strategy and Assessment
My belief is that each and every child deserves a quality education that will be useful in future life. Building on this belief, I would therefore take a child-centered curriculum as an ideal curriculum. This curriculum recognizes the character of the individual as the main focus of reference. Schools’ curriculum should aim at meeting the needs of each child (McNeil, & John, 1983). McNeil and john, (1985) state that since the experiences of children are dynamic, the goals of education should also change to be in line with each child’s expectations’ (p. 89). Education is a continuous process that is very dynamic therefore a more open-ended and flexible curriculum is preferred. I hold a view that school should consider the students, choice in developing the content to be taught to a specific group of student’s interests. The curriculum should act as guidance to solving school personal problems that cannot be handled by the teacher at a personal level. The curriculum should aim at building on the learner’s strong points rather than focusing all energy on the deficits (McNeil, & John, 1983). The social well-being of the individuals who can fit confidently in society is a highly expected overall goal of the curriculum as a whole. There are some universal truths that should be taught in schools at all levels; every person can succeed in life and each person is unique and it is due to that uniqueness that every individual is important in society.
There should be a democratic atmosphere in the way school affairs are run so that every party feels like part of the school. This will create a sense of belonging which in turn develops the collective responsibility environment (McNeil, & John, 1983). Character education should future prominently since I propose the use of projects and discussions as ways to engage learners rather than the lecture method. It should reflect the abilities of learners at different levels of education. The curriculum must create a clear connection between education and their future.
There should be a variety of methodologies in delivering the content to the learners. The teacher should provide a warm environment to facilitate discovery by the students. My suggestion would to avail the necessary models for the real-life structure to work out in a mathematical problem. The teacher presents the problem and allows students to come up with solutions which the teacher verifies and gives the correct solution and systematic steps in arriving at the solution (McNeil, & John, 1983). The teacher should give guide the students on the application of the skills they acquire by their own insight on different sceneries. The teacher should view the classroom as a laboratory where students’ ideas are discovered and verified through a question-and-answer technique from both sides. The students engage in activities designed by their teacher which promote active participation by each child in achieving the groups’ goals.
My vision of an ideal assessment should be objective. It should focus on the whole process of learning skills of problem-solving. It should provide feedback to enable evaluation of teaching and learning as per set objective. The needs of a student must be included in the entire process of assessing to establish whether there has the development of knowledge (Klemke, et al.1986). I also think that assessment should accurately reveal the true abilities of an individual child. I would use the set objectives which should be “SMART” this is abbreviated for specific (precise and clear), measurable (it can be measured and able to calculate), realistic (real-life situation), achievable (attainable at the given grade) and time-bound (a specified duration).
At–risk student’ is a student who is at risk for school failure (Slavin, 1996). My major focus as I teach my grade six students will be to identify the at-risk student as early as possible so that I can be able to offer the necessary help. I would ensure that the underlying reasons associated with several student characteristics such as single-parent family, low social economic status, ethnic minority background and parents with low education do not remain as a major hindrance to students’ achievement (Slavin, 1996). I would be keen to understand all my students’ lives at home and the environment in which they live. I would establish the major cause of each underperforming student in my class in a view to formulate the intervention strategy which would be most suitable. For the purposes of this paper, I would like to discuss single-parent families and low social-economic status risk factors. The child would do below grade level due to the stigma of being raised by a single parent for example single mother. The low social-economic factor which may force the family to receive government assistance may mean that the child might be missing some luxuries his/her peers get (Webb, Metha, & Jordan 2009). These two risk factors if experienced by a single child might lead to negative self-esteem, low motivation, poor coping skills and poor peer relationships leading to poor school attendance.
Interventions motivating for At-Risk Student
- General Instruction
I believe that all students can perform well in all the subjects taught at school if a proper environment is created for the students to like the subject. The first intervention in helping the low achieving students according to me is showing understanding and letting the students know that I care about his/her performance (Webb, et al. 2009). I will create time to ask the student about the home environment and use an approach that will not offend him/her. Students learn skills especially in mathematical through following instructions (behaviorist approach) and by interacting with a teacher or peers (constructivist approach) (Klemke, et al.1986). Using these two baselines, I would take the at-risk student through the steps in finding an answer to a given problem systematically and help him/her to see the result of each step. I would also teach him/her to apply that example as a skill to master another academic discipline. I would also focus on making the student construct concepts of simplifying what I teach in class and also what he/she learns from the interaction with the environment (Woolfolk, 1998). Encourage the discussion of mathematical solutions between the student and other students. I will be involved in motivating the student by giving him/her some tips on coping with life.
- Cognitively Oriented Instruction
Cognitively oriented instructions are modeled in aiding students to improve the quality of their thinking, become independent learners, and “develop proficiency at accomplishing complex, higher-order, academic tasks” (Jones, 1986). I would implement this approach in mathematics by teaching the student using meaningful examples which are in a social context and teaching him/her how to work out problems systematically.
- Grouping Structures
I would organize my class into groups during which I would present each group with a task that would require the participation of all group members. This will in return ensure that all the group members, including the at-risk student, have actively participated in contributing and receiving help. I will give clear instructions that will ensure that all students focus on the task and are aware of the need to participate in the group. I would encourage the students to share roles in a rotation manner on a weekly basis so that each student participates actively and feels like an important part of the group (Slavin, 1996). I would be communicating my belief to the student at all times that all students can succeed.
- Donald C., Orlich, S. S. (1968). Educational philosophy as mythology: a critical analysis of school philosophies. International Review of Education, 14 (1), 102-107.
- Klemke, E. D., Kline, A. David, Hollinger, Robert (1986). Philosophy: The basic issues (2nd ed.). New York: St. Martin’s Press.
- McNeil, C., John D. (1983). Curriculum: A comprehensive introduction. Boston: Little, Brown and Company.
- Slavin, R. E. (1996). Research on cooperative learning and achievement: What we know, what we need to know. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 21(1), 43– 69.
- Webb L. D., Metha A., Jordan K. F. (2009). Foundations of American Education (6th ed.). New York: Prentice Hall.
- Woolfolk, A. E. (1998). Educational psychology (7th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.