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19 Responses to What’s Your Philosophy of Education?

  1. Charise@I Thought I Knew Mama  

    This is such important food for thought! I also took a Masters degree program for teaching ELA to secondary students, and I wish they had given us this assignment. I still have a young baby, but I’ll be thinking of this starting now. Thanks!

    • Rachael  

      Thank you! And honestly, the philosophy statement I ended up writing for grad school really was very specific to teaching ELA to secondary students, so I’ve had to broaden my thinking since then.

  2. Seonaid  

    What a great post. I can join the chorus of those who did graduate work in education, although I was looking at the university level.

    I particularly like this bit: Our purposes are first things, he says, and without attending to these things, “we are more often preoccupied with simply getting through the days and weeks.” I think that most of us are called back to “getting through” by the pressures of life, and attending to purpose needs to be a guiding idea to help break out of that mold.

  3. jaime

    I think the best education is appropriate developmentally, stimulates curiousity, and rather than teaching the child what to think it helps them to learn how to think.. Those are my educational hopes for my children. I’d like them to view the world with adequate awe and curiousity and have the confidence in their own ability to think so that they are comfortable exploring the challenging the world.

  4. Erin

    I’ve never really thought about my personal education philosophy, but I love how you’ve put it. Learning is FUN and I desperately want my children to know and feel that.

    • Rachael  

      Learning can be uncomfortable, too, I think—though certainly something is wrong if it’s nothing but discomfort all of the time. I hope that my son continues to enjoy learning as much as he does at his school now.

  5. Annicles

    Great article.
    I think philosophy of education is similar to yours. It should follow the child and stimulate him or her to learn for him/herself and for pleasure. There is no end point. My children are 6, 8 and 10 years old. The school they are at has students fomr ages 4-18. Their philosphy is that they are teaching the whole child for a whole life, not just to get them to a top university.

    • Rachael  

      That school sounds marvelous! When I was in graduate school, one of my teachers worked at a school that had fifth through eighth graders in classes together. At the time, it sounded totally weird to me, whereas now, I’d love to find something like that for my son.

  6. Abbie  

    Great post! I teach high school science (for the past 8 years) and have a solid philosophy for teaching high school science… place based, experiential learning, inquiry, problem solving, time in nature… But I’m now learning to translate that for my son 🙂

  7. Rachael  

    The way that you describe your philosophy for teaching high school science, it sounds pretty applicable for young children!

  8. Melissa  

    Thank you for this great post, Rachael! Having been a Montessori teacher before becoming a parent, I have caught myself several times doing things because they’re ‘the Montessori way,’ without having thought through them and whether they’re what I think is right for *my* daughter. It’s really important to consider what our goals are with any parenting practice – thanks for this great reminder!

    • Rachael  

      Ha, thanks to you for your reminder, Melissa! It’s funny, because I’ve tended to envy those trained in Montessori methods, because it seems they have a ready-made philosophy of education. But really, any philosophy must be examined in relation to one’s own values and the needs of one’s own family.

  9. Michelle @ The Parent Vortex  

    I have enrolled my 4yo daughter in a homelearning program at a local school, where she can optionally attend two days a week and learn at home the rest of the time. Homelearning had been a rather theoretical thing for a long time and now the practical considerations of educational philosophy and the details of curriculum are becoming more urgent. Thanks for some great food for thought, I am going to track down Perrone’s book.

    • Rachael  

      I hope that the Perrone book is helpful, if you do find it. My sense, though, is that it is really focused on the work of teachers in schools. The first chapter, which is all that I have or have read, is marvelous for anyone, I think, because Perrone asks so many good questions.

  10. Lana  

    I have always been concerned about the education system in this country. It’s so robotic, how do have we done it so long? I totally agree with you – basically, you need to care enough to be involved in your child’s education & reflect upon these questions you raised.
    It’s a great challenge to pose to parents who may not have considered what pressures their children face in their education system.
    Thank you for your article!

    • Rachael  

      Sad as it is to say, “robotic” is a good word to describe some of what happens in schools today—though certainly not in all of them, nor all of the time. This interview with Linda Darling-Hammond (who I wish were our Secretary of Education—she did advise Obama during his campaign) explains the factory model according to which most U.S. high schools have functioned for about a century. Reform efforts are underway, though, and I hope that they spread.

  11. Sheila  

    I love the quote at the end: “Ensuring that children and young people can live in the world as it is, or ensuring the skills, knowledge, and dispositions that will enable them to change the world, to construct on their terms new possibilities?”

    I’m a big believer in homeschooling, despite being a teacher in a private school. People ask me how my children will be able to function in the world if I homeschool them — because the world is hard, mean, scary, and has unfair expectations, just like schools sometimes do. But I believe they will be more likely to work to change the world if they are able to recognize what is out of place with it, if they are raised with an environment that is gentle and freeing.

    My husband was homeschooled his whole life (I was only part of the time) and sometimes I’m frustrated with his refusal to accept “the way things are” when things don’t work as they should. But over time, I’ve seen him work to change things that don’t make sense. He never just accepts that things have to be the way they are. It’s led to him seeking and achieving positions of leadership, simply because he’s on a mission to change things and people sign onto that. I admire that ability in him, and I want to foster it in my child(ren).