quaint little rutted bucket

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

My Teaching Philosophy (my learning log for teaching strategies class, got an A for this one! :)

Our class session on the philosophies of education (perennialism, essentialism, progressivism, and reconstructionism) was something I did not really anticipate, although it was something I found interesting.

I did further reading on the four philosophies, and found a book that covers the four themes (Introduction to the Philosophy of Education, by George F. Kneller). From what I have read, I can say that the teaching philosophy I would strive for would be something straddling the seemingly opposed lines of perennialist and progressivist, with tinges of reconstructionist here and there. “Why,” you may ask.

Progressivist education is something that I feel coincides with a lot of the principles and ideals I hold. For instance, its emphasis on pragmatism is something very admirable, although I do have some reservations about it which is filled in somewhat by perennialist education. While its pragmatic nature may, on the surface, shun the emphasis of perennialist education on studying works of literature, philosophy and history due to perceptions of being “irrelevant”, it serves a very crucial role in helping learners grow holistically. I think this is where I sort of deviate from the progressivist track, since progressivism runs the danger of giving too much weight to teaching pragmatic life skills, while neglecting humanities subjects. Humanities subjects still serve a purpose, if only to make students realize that humanity, as a global community of diverse peoples and races, has been a work in progress since it dawned on us that we can improve ourselves.

I like progressivism’s thrust of being an enabler of growth in the learner. This is something very useful, and indeed, already being taught in a good number of schools nowadays, because it gives students a head start of sorts by equipping them with knowledge that they can actually make use of in the real world. Combine practical skills with the nice things they can learn from humanities subjects, plus all the maths and sciences they can learn from progressivism, and we’re already a step or two away from the ideal learner! :) At least, that’s the idea.

Finally, another good point in progressivism is the importance of cooperation in education. Too many times, we force students to compete in an artificial world (the school), and this brings out bad things in students. Some students suffer humiliation, self-defeat and even depression just because of the immense pressures that studying puts upon them. On the other hand, some students become way too good even for their own good, making them too boastful, proud and arrogant. Why make it worse by setting the system up for them to compete in? Why not set it in a way that encourages teamwork and cooperation? In this way, people learn to work with each other, as it is in the real world. We need not inculcate a dog eat dog attitude in our kids just because our current economic system forces us to do so. We can do this by giving more cooperative class work, and giving incentives for people to try to work with others.

To give more credit to perennialism, though, it still retains its nature as something of a foundation for education. While “seeking the eternal truth” may be too far fetched and even somewhat of a tall order for perennialist education, its emphasis on being rational coincides well with the empirical emphasis of progressivism. Since progressivist education stresses the sciences and mathematics, combining it with reason gives learners the ability to make good, sound decisions.

Finally, on reconstructionism. Reconstructionism, in my view, is for the budding rebel teacher in all of us. Think of a teacher who teaches something very revolutionary that shakes the foundation of the society or community that he/she is a part of. While that may sound ludicrous and silly, a lot of teachers (including me) admit to “wanting to make a difference” as part of their reasons in their desire to become a teacher.

We all see something wrong in modern society. I think no single community of people will ever be perfect, as each will have its own shortcomings. But our attempts to improve it will not come only from policy makers, but more importantly and in the long run, from teachers like us. Beyond Rizal’s endearing statement that the youth is the future of this nation, it is in our hands as educators to mold them into people that, in the future, will define the word “success” for this nation.

As it has always been in the business of teaching, there is no single _______ (insert concept here) that is best for our current situation. In the two-ish years’ worth of time I’ve spent learning secondary education, I’ve become a more firm believer in this statement. In the case of philosophy, there is not one single philosophy that we can say truly addresses the challenges to modern Philippine education. It takes eclecticism, or the willingness to take what is good from this and that, and combine them in such a way that will hopefully, be best for all of us. Experimentation may be bad, but not doing so will never give us the chance to discover new and better things.


  • ralph..i am sooo amazed by ur way of thinking :) i'll link you ha! mwah

    By Blogger pinipig :), at 4:58 PM  

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