Since I haven’t taught a class and am only starting with my Education classes, I can only speculate what teaching philosophy I believe would best suit me. I think your philosophy develops from your past experiences and personal beliefs. When I think about my personal beliefs one thing I believe is that teaching philosophies may be different depending on the grades that you are teaching. I am also a strong believer that the political, social, and personal views of the teacher and school should not be present in the classroom. This is the role of the parents not the staff. The job of educators is to teach core subjects and electives without any bias.
So, where does that leave me with my teaching philosophy? I think in the early years of school, up to about grade six, a more traditional approach to teaching should be used. Based on the experience of my sister, who is a high school teacher, most students are weak in core subjects such as reading and math. Rote learning, sight word recognition and phonics was successful for many years, and although my not make you the “fun” teacher, it does give the students a solid foundation. Older students need this base in order to progress into problem solving or critical thinking. As student’s move up into the higher grades, your teaching style can adapt and adjust to allow more room for independent and student-centered learning.
In terms of my understanding about effective teaching and learning strategies, I know that all students learn differently. I know for myself, I need to watch someone do something and listen to an explanation versus reading the information on my own. I believe a more teacher guided style would be most effective. With this, the teacher is in control to explain concepts, demonstrate through examples and then have the student’s practice. This method also allows students to ask questions and interact without the classroom becoming chaotic. Basically, I feel students need structure, in order to learn. They need a calm, quiet classroom in order to process their thoughts. However, it cannot be so rigid that they don’t feel comfortable asking questions or initiating a discussion. There is always room for some flexibility.
In order to pinpoint more precisely what teaching philosophy my teaching style and beliefs aligned with, I looked at an article which summarized a variety of teaching philosophies. The article began with a general overview, looking at two styles; traditional versus contemporary and then further broke this down into educational philosophies based on numerous categories. These were Perennialism, Essentialism, Progressivism and Reconstructionism. I have never been “a fan” of labels but if I need a label, I would say my educational philosophy is Essentialism for the younger grades and a type of Progressive-Essentialism for the older grades.