I believe schooling and education is necessary for children and for society. School should teach students about values and ideas to keep our society intact. I believe it is my job, as an educator, to share my ideas with students and have them grow from my knowledge and develop their own thoughts by critically thinking and solving problems in society. Working together to build a better democratic society is the ultimate goal as an educator. Students must be taught important American Creed values, strong collective values, and my personal philosophy of education to help them grow as individual students and citizens and build a strong democratic society.
A part of my philosophy is teaching my students about American Creed values. These are values that define how society in America is created through education. There are many American creed values that are equally important to me personally, both as a citizen and as an educator. One value, in particular, is being a strong democratic citizen. According to Whipple (2018), “A citizen is a participatory member of a political community” (p.1). Being a good democratic citizen is an important value to me because I know people who are not originally from the United States, instead they went through the process to become an American citizen and they have helped change their communities by volunteering, voting, and being an ideal U.S. citizen, even though they were not originally born here. This value is important for students in schools to learn because I can teach them that everyone can be a good democratic citizen is not a difficult task. I would teach them to be free-thinking, independent people. Another incredibly important value I strongly believe in is service. The American Creed value of service can be described from a former Marine, Jason Mangone (2013), “finding myself in a constant pursuit of re-attaining the meaningfulness of those four years” (p.1). Service is an important value to me because my grandfather has served in the army and fought in the Vietnam War and knows what it is like to put his life out there to preserve our freedom and this made me realize how much it really means to be of service. This is also important for schools to learn because it goes hand-and-hand with learning about citizenship. Without knowing what you are fighting for and preserving, service would be meaningless. To help students learn this value, I would teach them the history of wars, battles, and tensions between nations shaped our world today and why service is an incredibly important value and a part of my philosophy.
After thinking about what is essential for a democratic society, I learned there are many important things educators must teach students to help them become good democratic citizens. To begin this philosophy as an educator, I would teach students the importance of including all social groups collectively. John Dewey (1916) states as one element of democratic culture and society as, “the recognition of mutual interests as a factor of shared social control” (p.1). I believe he was correct in saying this would help groups come together and progress as a democracy. This is necessary to teach students because if they can treat each other equitably in their own social groups, it will help them develop into ideal democratic citizens. While learning this idea, students will recognize this goes hand-in-hand the importance of the American creed value of citizenship in keeping a democracy intact.
Another important thing as an educator to teach students is to help them understand why it is necessary for collaboration and team work. This is Dewey’s (1916) other element of democratic culture and society in which he says, “the existence of numerous and more varied points of shared common interest” (p.1). It would be necessary to teach students this because it will help them see how this idea keeps a democratic society together. This can be done in many scenarios. For example, students can work on a group project in class to help them realize they all have a similar goal no matter their backgrounds. They may also have a special job in which they volunteer in the community showing them how the American creed value of service is important to maintaining a strong community and democratic society. As a part of my philosophy, I want students collaborating and growing together.
My philosophy of education aligns with a philosophical tradition. The philosophy of education that best names my philosophy is social reconstructionism. As Oakes and Lipton (2006) state, “social reconstructionism is solving critical problems in society to promote equality, justice, and democracy in our social environment” (p.107).The curriculum of this philosophy is interesting because it focuses on larger social problems that can be solved through social and political action, teaching students how to get involved. I would very much like my students to have knowledge of these problems and how to take appropriate action. I think the purpose of schooling should be informing students on social issues and how they can help and that is exactly the role I play as a teacher to help them. I want my students to be active in their community and help take on social issues through this philosophy, having this be their role in schooling will hopefully make them excited to learn and participate. I believe not only students should receive this kind of education, but everyone in society. This is because everyone in society should receive the same education in helping their community grow together.
While I would like this philosophy of education to be my own one day, I never experienced a teacher or school system in my life where this was their philosophy. My school had more of a philosophy of perennialism. The school was more teacher-focused, and the purpose of our schooling was to expand our minds in thinking through what they said. The curriculum at this school was simply like most schools, ideas, truths, and intellectual achievements. The role of the student was to convey what the teacher said and think critically without being challenging. While the role of the teacher was the conveyor and the authority of the classroom who possessed the knowledge. This is personally not a philosophy I want to use in my classroom. I believe if I was educated with my philosophy, I would have turned out a much better student and member of the community for it.
This type of philosophy could also work as when it has not been used in periods of history, schooling had been questioned what it was doing wrong. To begin, it is too difficult for schools to educate all students about the entire world around them in a given school year. Yet, they are blamed for teaching the students the standards they have been given. Beane and Apple (2007) say, “Yet the idea of democratic schools on a large scale has fallen on hard times” (p.3). This is due to the fact standards are not changing as communities are and students need to be aware of the problems, as well as the educators. This type of philosophy would also help break the socioeconomic crisis surrounding the education system in that private schools are better than public. Every student is working toward a similar goal, to help their community. Oakes and Lipton (2006) agree and state, “Everyone would benefit, they reasoned, if schools could turn out productive workers and good citizens” (p.111). I also believe having a philosophy like this would help students learn about other cultures and why they are important to the world. Asante (1991) states, “Our society is a composite of many ethnic and racial groups, and all students should be able to converse about the cultural diversity of the nation” (p.31). This is important for students to understand because it does not matter where you come from, it is where you are going.
Asante, M. (1991). Curriculum.Philadelphia, PA: University of Temple.
Beane, J. et Apple, M. (2007). The Case for Democratic Schools.Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy & Education. Retrieved September 9, 2018, from http://www.gutenberg.org/files/852/852-h/852-h.htm
Mangone, J. (2013, November 09). What it Means to Serve your Country.Retrieved September 9, 2018, from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/jason-mangone/what-it-means-to-serve-yo_b_3882970.html
Oakes, J. et Lipton, L. (2006). Curriculum: Philosophy, History, and Politics: What Should Students Learn? Rev. ed. Los Angeles, CA: University of California.
Whipple, W. (2018). Democracy Work.Retrieved September 9, 2018, from https://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/government/civics.htmTags: University of Toledo