Philosophy of Education
While becoming an educator one day we are constantly challenged with the bright and wonderful minds of our students. My personal goal for my future classroom is to enlighten students with different levels of learning and see them develop for the betterment of society. While American Creed was created in 1918, it’s contents are still being shared today. Many of which are important for students to learn and understand at a young age. American Creed lists four major core values, although two stuck out tremendously to me: diversity and citizenship.
All Americans stand behind the central values of the American Creed. “I believe in the United States of America, as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes. I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support its Constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies (William Tyler Page, The American’s Creed, 1917). Overall, the people are created to serve other people. As an educator, diversity and citizenship are the most important to me and offers me the opportunity to serve the people that I come in contact with. Personally, I want my students to observe this of me and understand that serving people is a way of life. Putting others first is a great way to share your community. I find that these specific values allow us to touch on service and education values, while being able to encompass them all in the classroom.
Waghid (2004) specifically mentions in his African Philosophy of Education is that education’s purpose is to develop humaneness. Developing appreciation for local knowledge is something I want my students to value and understand. As a teacher, I want my students to understand the impact that they are making on the society that they are living in. For future lessons I would be sure that we somehow got involved in the community. Unfortunately, some students don’t get to do this at home, meaning this time is even more crucial to be spent as school. Overall, students need to just be aware of what’s around them. Educators are responsible for teaching their classrooms about unemployment and civil wars. Locally in Toledo, we are extremely lucky to have sites like Memorial Park just steps away. These are great things to visit in order to show students that it’s real and not just something they are learning in school.
Almost all humans, no matter your ethnicity, can trace their families back to immigration. This is just a simple example of how diversity is capable of bringing everyone together. Condoleezza Rice mentions in her film American Creed that it “doesn’t matter where you came from, it matters where you are going” (Kennedy and Rice, 2018). This is such a powerful statement for educators because you are exposed to diversity everyday. In the classroom, you find students of all different backgrounds trying to find their way. You are their coach in getting them to the finish line no matter what they are going through. Their classroom should essentially act as a second home for them. So much of diversity bonds to what we believe. As an educator, teaching children about their differences from other students allows them to see it at a young age. Furthermore, they are capable to understanding that it isn’t a bad thing. As a student myself, I understand how important it is to know that there is so much diversity around you. Without being exposed to it, I can imagine I would have a different look on diversity as a whole. The thought of equality for all and ending racism, starts with American educators teaching their students about diversity at a young age.
When starting to teach diversity in my classroom one day, I would put together a fun week of showing off where you come from. For example, students would be able to bring in foods that come from their different backgrounds or even bring in activities or dress up clothes to share. I have also found that students love making art. Students could potentially do a research project of their heritage and create a work of art to encompass it all. I find that this would open the children’s eyes in seeing that diversity is not a bad thing. I would also incorporate a section of books that showcases many, if not all different backgrounds in my classroom. This way, throughout the year students would be able check in and do more research. When having things at your fingertips you are capable if learning so much.
Teaching students the art of being a citizen is crucial to their influence in public when they become adults. “As a citizen of the world, you have human rights and a voice in international matters. You have the responsibility to care for the world, so our environment can be preserved and used for future generations. You have the responsibility to care for and about other citizens of the world and to have an understanding of their cultures, histories, and ideas” (Loraine Caplan, What does it mean to be a citizen, pg.1). Here we are able to see the intertwining of the four American Creed values. You have a responsibility as a citizen to care for others no matter where they came from and have an understanding of their culture. As a teacher, students need to learn that their place on earth is important and that they are here to make a difference. It’s interesting if you think about students learning about the environment when they are seventy years old compared to eight. Eight year olds have a whole lifetime to make a difference and preserve our earth. They are going to make the biggest impact! This is why I am so adamant about teaching them citizenship at a young age. When teaching this concept to students, I would be sure to get them out of the classroom, if the school district allows. Hands on learning helps student tremendously and getting them involved in serving helps them to know where to go and what to do as the years pass by. By working together as teachers and worldly citizens, it is possible for the true potential of America to be unlocked.
Democratic education specifically identifies students as active creators in their own learning, not as passive recipients of knowledge. These students are not products of the democratic education system, but rather each of them are valued participants. This specific education starts with the premise of knowing that every child is unique. As a teacher, this is important to understand. Many times I feel as we let the standardized tests take over the way we teach. Although our hearts are in the correct place, we forget about looking at each student as an individual. In continuation, this means that not one student will learn the same as the next. As a future teacher, I find that there are many things that I will need to teach my students. For me personally, human rights is a specific topic that I see to be best fitting.
Teaching students about human rights overall creates a better well-being. No matter what race, sex, and/or religion, humans are all entitled to their rights. This allows students to realize that everyone should be treated the same whether they look like that student or not. Students then are able to take this with them in the real world and make a difference for people who may have not had the chance to learn this. After having my students in class, I want them to leave feeling confident in themselves are people and citizens of a community.
Education’s purpose is capable of being so many different things for many different people. As an educator personally, I find that I want my students to encompass learning about diversity and citizenship. To me these things are crucial for them to understand at a young age because it will carry with them as they grow into their adult years. It is our duty to serve each other in learning more information for the better good of our community and families.
Caplan, L. (n.d.). What Does It Mean To Be A Citizen. Retrieved from https://www.enotes.com/homework-help/what-does-mean-citizen-what-should-citizen-th-390938
Paige, W. T. (2018, September 05). American Creed. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Creed
Watch the Film. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.americancreed.org/watch
Waghid, Y. (2004). On the (Im)potentiality of an African Philosophy of Education to Disrupt Inhumanity. The Dilemma of Western Philosophy. doi:10.4324/9781315113333-12
Photo by Johnny Silvercloud