What Is Your Teaching Philosophy?

What is your teaching philosophy? I remember going over this question in the C&I (Curriculum and Instruction) 104: Introduction toCurriculum and Instruction Introduction to Education Course Textbook PIcture Education class while I was a student at Illinois State University. This is supposedly a common interview question for those interviewing for a teaching position and is good to consider and think about as it will help guide your teaching direction and style. I took the class in 2005 and the textbook used was Teaching Today: An Introduction to Education (Seventh Edition) by David G. Armstrong, Kenneth T. Henson, and Tom V. Savage. The website for the textbook was/is http://www.prenhall/com/armstrong. Chapter 11: Social and Philosophical Perspectives of the text kind of makes things slightly complicated and goes into defining and explaining different methods such as:

  1. Reconstructionsim
  2. Progressivism
  3. Experimentalism
  4. Essentialism
  5. Perennialism
  6. and many others

Some of the methods above are focused on a humanities curriculum, others are more hands-on learning and problem-solving curriculum and some are liberal such as having students challenge or think about school rules and appraising elements of society and some reject memorization and focus on problem solving and having a science and math curriculum and others the teacher is a learner facilitator and not just dispensing information. Progressivism and essentialism are basically opposites.

Some may feel it is important for the teacher to present as a professional or authority on the subject matter and should display their diploma and dress like they care or put some time into the wardrobe. It sends a message to students and helps them see the teacher in a position of respect. Some would say in certain school the teacher may not want to present has condescending to the students as this may turn them off to learning and wearing jeans occasionally is acceptable. Some just like dressing causally in jeans and would argue there are nice jeans that do not look casual. I like wearing gym shoes as they comfortable, but they are probably not acceptable for teachers, at least most of the time.

It mentions resources including;

  1. a ‘philosophy of education’ page on wikipedia
  2. Philosophy of Education Society (http://cuip.uchicago.edu/pes/)
  3. International Studies in the Sociology of Education (http://www.triangle.co.uk/iss/)
  4. comments on the null (what is left out) curriculum at http://www.teachersmind.com/eisner.htm
  5. Historical and philosophical foundations of education: A biographical introduction (2nd edition) 1997 Gutek, G.L.
  6. Philosophy in classroom teaching: Bridging the gap. 1999 Jacobsen, D.A.

All of this is great, and it helps show how education has changed and evolved. Most people/teachers/future teachers would probably take an eclectic approach and take and adapt from many elements and philosophies as the school Clip art Students Drawingenvironment warrants. You are probably not going to use a lot of those terms when answering the question. Your teaching philosophy could simply be a belief that ‘every kid is a good kid’ and they have a right to an education and are all teachable. Some teachers have found that children will misbehave if you do not provide them with some sort of activity with extra problems in case they finish early. You do not want the class to become unruly so you always want to provide warm-up exercises with extra problems right when they walk into the classroom. This helps focus on and facilitate learning more. Warm up exercises may be more for upper elementary and lower elementary may be more routines and having a coloring assignment right when the children walk-in.

I would say another good teaching philosophy is to make an effort to show compassion and empower students. Let them experience success even if it means adding some easy problems to tests, offering extra credit, saying encouraging comments, and catching them while they are good. Focusing on the positive. As a teacher you have an opportunity make a difference for the better in the lives of your students. You can encourage them and kindle an interest in a subject matter or do the exact opposite with careless words or not thinking highly of certain students. It is important to see the good and potential in every student and to work with that and build that up. Also worth noting is that some students have stronger inclinations or natural abilities in certain subjects and if you can identify that and encourage them in something they are good in it can lead to good things. Sometimes you may have to put in extra time explaining things to certain students and you should always do that. It shows you think highly of them and can encourage them rather than turn them off from school. You have to always try to have compassion as a disinterested student may have issues outside of school and could just use a little encouragement to help make a difference for the better in their schooling and life beyond the school years. It no longer about scolding children with a ruler, but encouraging them and catching them doing good and seeing the potential they possess. After all, every student is capable and able to contribute and learn.


Teaching Today: An Introduction to Education Seventh Edition David G. Armstrong, Kenneth T. Henson, Tom V. Savage Copyright (c) 2005, 2001, 1997, 1993, 1989, 1985, 1981 by Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458. Pearson Prentice Hall, All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. ISBN: 0-13-183782-6

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2 thoughts on “What Is Your Teaching Philosophy?

  1. Other possible teaching philosophies are ‘all students can learn’ and or ‘every student has a right to an education’ and or ‘students appreciate encouragement.’ Teaching is a profession that allows teachers to positively and sometimes negatively affect students for the rest of their lives. Sometimes a teacher is unaware how a comment may change and inspire a student. It is important for teachers to think highly of students and encourage and uplift them. If a student is having issues share good points first and try to offer hope in feedback. There is a saying about teachers to the affect that Some teachers are to be forgiven (because they are so bad), some are to be forgotten (as they are hard to remember and are average) and some are to be remembered (as they went the extra mile and inspired students).

  2. Another philosophy is to find individual strengths in students and encourage those. Not every student will be great in art or softball or math. That is acceptable. Each student has value and can contribute. A teacher is like a conductor of an orchestra. Not all the students play the same instrument. Students have different learning styles and strengths to work with.

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