Philosophy of Teaching
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Philosophy of Teaching: Seven Activities

The art of teaching is a matter of personal style.  Each teacher has his or her own convictions, beliefs, and unique philosophical biases.  These activities will help you find your personal educational philosophy by exploring fundamental questions about your teaching: Why you do it?  Its significance?  And the belief structure that you bring to it?

One method of clarifying your personal educational view is to ask others about theirs.  By comparing and contrasting educational beliefs, you will be in a better position to understanding yourself as a teacher.

  Objectives:

  • To explore your personal philosophy of education

  • To gain insight into the philosophies of coworkers

  • To gain greater awareness of the intangibles of teaching.

Activity One: Ground Work Write a short answer or response to the following questions and statements.  Your responses will help you begin the philosophical exploratory process.  Note: You may want to probe these questions with your mentor or a peer discussion group.

  1. Why did you want to become a teacher? List the reason(s) below.

  2. List personality traits that support your success as a teacher

  3. What motivates you at work?  Write down your five key motivations.

  4. To what extent does work define who you are as a person?

  5. List your work goals.  In other words, what do you want to get out of a teaching career?

  6. How does teaching align with your core values?

  7. Has teaching been a vehicle for you to discover personal meaning? Explain?

  8. Why would parents want to enroll their children in your class?

Activity Two: Shared Insights After you have pondered the “Ground Work” questions,  meet with two or three other teachers and share your insights. Get their feedback.  Ask them to challenge, support, or add to your viewpoint.

 Activity Three: Your Story Tell, record, or write a story or incident that characterizes a success you’ve had in teaching.  Be certain to explain the meaning it had for you.

Activity Four: Gaining Perspectives  Meet with two or three experienced teachers (seven years or more) and ask them the questions that follow (record their answers):

  1. What does teaching mean to you?

  2. What aspects of teaching do you like the most?

  3. How has teaching changed your life?

  4. What principles guide you in your teaching?

  5. How has your view of teaching changed over the years?

As a follow-up, find connecting threads in their answers.  In short, draw some conclusions about their educational perspectives.

Activity Five: Surveying Develop a short survey of three to five “Why-Do-You-Teach” questions.  Then ask a sampling of co-workers to complete the survey.  From their responses, draw some conclusions about teaching philosophy.

Note: Keep your inquiries short and direct so those taking the survey will not be a burden.

Sample question: “Give one to three adjectives that describe your teaching philosophy.”

Activity Six: Memories Interview three very experience teachers (twenty years or more) and ask them to give you their most poignant memories of teaching?  Are there any common denominators behind their memories?  If so, what does this tell you about the value and meaning of teaching?

Activity Seven: Reflections Journal Keep a “reflections” journal where you jot down your internal responses to different situations and incidents at work (both with students and staff).  Use this journal as a philosophical barometer; check it occasionally to see if a philosophical attitude is emerging.

  

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