Determining Your Educational Philosophy Part IV: Philosophy of Essential Skills & Information

In this article various philosophies will be examined in an effort to assist with developing an educational philosophy. As an Educator it is essential to possess a philosophy which will be applied in the classroom.

Educational philosophies are as unique as each individual educator, although each philosophy shares common components: a philosophy of the learning process, a philosophy of students, a philosophy concerning knowledge, and a philosophy of essential skills and information. Examining each of these components will help you form your educational philosophy. This articles highlights the philosophy of essential skills and information.

There are numerous views on what skills and information should be taught and are essential to learning. Constructivism, for example, is the perspective that students build their knowledge as they link new experiences to previous experiences. Teachers with a constructivist view may focus on teaching reasoning skills, problem solving, and effective communication. These students may be “learning how to learn.” A constructivist history teacher may accomplish this by taking the students to a historical site and allowing the students to explore history by going on a self-paced tour, reading the markers as they please, and discussing what they learned at the conclusion of the trip. By allowing the students room to explore on their own, they learn more than just the facts; they also learn to reason.

Teachers who advocate learning by transmission may focus on the basic skills of reading, writing, arithmetic, and oral communication. These teachers may believe that this is the best way to prepare students. A history teacher with this viewpoint would lecture from the text and test the students on what they have learned. They would be more likely to provide a factual, question-and-answer approach to learning, ensuring that the required information is provided to the students within the required period of time. A third perspective may focus on ensuring that the curriculum is specific and meaningful, so that all of these basic skills are mastered. For example, a history teacher with this vantage point might schedule a Vietnam veteran to be a guest speaker.

What is your perspective on knowing and teaching essential skills for student development? Building this philosophy in your educational philosophy will benefit what information and the method you use to teach your students.

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