Knowledge is power. This statement is the basis of my philosophy of education. I believe that knowledge is educating myself by exposing myself to diverse individuals, ideas, and situations. By educating my students on how to access knowledge in this way, they will have the power they need to accomplish their goals and become productive citizens in society. In the following paragraphs I give supporting research and personal examples of my philosophy.
In the American Creed movie, Condoleezza Rice talks about life under Jim Crow segregation when she says, “It almost always came down to, if you could be educated, then you had an armor against prejudice, you had an armor to barriers against opportunity, and so for black American families, education became the Holy Grail.” This quote reinforces my philosophy that knowledge is power for black Americans, but it can also be applied to everyone. Power in the sense of having knowledge of a situation, being able to explain and justify the viewpoint with facts. It also allows me to make the most informed decisions. By educating my students to be informed in their decision making, they will be able to have the power they need to achieve their goals.
Education is related to the democratic schooling characteristic of learning. In “Democratic Schools,” the authors say, “Those involved in democratic schools see themselves as participates in communities of learning” (Apple, 2007, p. 11). This shows the emphasis of learning and education as a part of a democratic school learning since education is the bases for everything. When I discuss a position and present facts that support my position, I become credible in the eyes of others: powerful. Another example is when elections are held, I look into the issues and politicians; I educate myself, so my vote empowers the politician to move forward with their platform. I will teach my students how to become informed about a topic and where to look for credible sources. By teaching them how to educate themselves about topics before taking a position, not only will they become responsible for their own learning, they will be able to talk from a position of knowledge.
I believe that not only are citizens responsible for their own learning, they are empowered to lift up others in the classroom or community whenever possible. In the movie America Creed, Rice supports my statement when she talks about her grandfather’s life. She says “for Granddaddy Rice that was the promise of our country that you can be and do anything you want, but you can’t leave others behind.” Everyone has the right to opportunity and sometimes help from others to realize those opportunities. For example, when Lebron James became a star athlete, he did not forget his community. He started the “I Promise” school to help the less fortunate kids in his own community. With everyone taking responsibility in uplifting others, I know my classrooms, communities and society as a whole will benefit.
Community is also a characteristic of a democratic schooling. The authors in “Democratic School” note that, “For this reason, democratic schools are marked by an emphasis on cooperation and collaboration rather than competition, and arrangements are created that encourage young people to improve the life of the community by helping others” (Apple, 2007, p. 12). It is important to help those in the community since when people work together more gets accomplished that benefit the community. That goes back to Rice when she emphasized not leaving people behind. An example of this was when Sierah Joughin was kidnapped and murdered. The community involved themselves in organized searching and later supporting
the family and causes that came out of their tragic loss. I can teach this in my classroom by having students work together on new math topics or trying to formulate a rule based on evidence. The community would be the group or class; more can be accomplished with a group as opposed to one individual.
I believe that diversity is an essential part of my philosophy of education. Being surrounded by people with different views and learning from them only opens my mind to more options. During the movie, American Creed, Rice is talking about politics when she says “if you are constantly in the company of people who say amen to everything you say then find other company.” It is important to me to be around people with different views or values because I begin to understand the person more as well as their views. Also some of the greatest solutions in America come from bipartisan work. When people with differences listen to each other and compromise, it benefits everyone since both sides own the solution. For example, in my government class, we created a bipartisan bill which passed because both sides were represented in the bill. This is important to teach my students this since it creates a better understanding of other people and their thinking. It is also a solution that is arrived through compromise and taking all viewpoints into consideration.
Diversity is also a characteristic of a democratic school. Apple and Bean were talking about diversity when they said, “These differences enrich the community and the range of views it might consider” (Apple, 2007, p. 11). This is basically the same point that Rice said about needing people around that have different experiences and viewpoints because that could lead to a solution that captures a more diverse population. This goes back to the example of creating a bipartisan bill in my government class; the bill was passed because we listened and implemented the differences and ideas of the other party. I can incorporate this into my math class by again having the students work together; they are bond to have different ideas on how to solve a problem, and together can find a solution.
With my philosophy of education, I believe in social reconstructionism. In social reconstructionism, the purpose of schooling is “solving critical problems to promote equality, justice, and democracy” (Oakes, 2003, p. 107). Students should be asked to talk about and solve real world problems that have an effect on them, their communities, country and the world. In social reconstructionism, the curriculum should be based on problems in the community that are in alignment with social and political action. Once again, having the students working on meaningful problems that have real and helpful solutions. With this curriculum, my role as a teacher is different because I would “raise students consciousness about social problems and provide the tools for social critique and social action” (Oakes, 2003, p. 107). I am not standing up at the board giving the students information and asking them to regurgitate it back; instead I am the facilitator, and the students participate in their own learning. By solving problems on a smaller scale in a school, students will be prepared to do the same in the community and country when they become adults which is the ultimate goal of school.
Once again I state knowledge is power. As I have explained my philosophy of education, I have done the research and provided supporting documentation for my beliefs which also shows my philosophy of education in action. As I begin my teaching career, I am sure my philosophy will be adjusted to fit the time and the needs of my students for which I am entrusted to educate.
Ball, S. (Producer and Director). (2018). American Creed [online film]. United States: Public Broadcasting System (PBS). Retrieved from https://www.americancreed.org/
Beane, J., & Apple, M. (2007). The case for democratic schools. In Michael Apple and James Beane (eds.), Democratic education: Lesson in powerful education, 2nd ed. (pp. 1-12). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Oakes J., & Lipton, M. (2006). Teaching to change the world. 3rd ed. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill, 104-150.Tags: University of Toledo