My Philosophy of Education

I am a firm believer in the concept of lifelong learning.  Therefore, I consider both formal education and practical experience to be essential for personal growth.  Immanuel Kant and John Locke would both agree with me that knowledge is pointless unless it is appropriately utilized (De Tal Gussie and Jingeleski).  Thus, I am convinced that it is education alone that is necessary to solve all problems of the world.  Learning is the preliminary step in the right direction  that is, to resolve all world problems.  I trust the fact that learning can improve personalities, and refine human behavior as well as attitudes.  As Immanuel Kant has stated, Man is the only being who needs education.  For by education we must understand nurture (the tending and feeding of the child), discipline, and teaching, together with culture.  According to this, man is in succession infant (requiring nursing), child (requiring discipline), and scholar (requiring teaching) (Kant 1).  In other words, mankind can barely survive without education.
Of course, the home and the early childhood education center happen to be the most important places for the socialization of the child.  As a matter fact, both the home and the early childhood education center are responsible for developing the child  a complete individual.  The child represents the future of my nation and the world at large.  What I want children to be is therefore identical to my vision of an ideal society.  As an early childhood educator, I would want to provide the best possible education for my students so they would create the ideal society we all have collectively envisioned.  But, even if I were to teach primary school, secondary school, college or university students, I would have the same vision in mind.  As Kant suggests, knowledge of God is necessary in order for an individual to develop into a purely reasonable being (De Tal).  Because it takes well-rounded educated persons to create an ideal society, I would want to ensure that my students learn about God as well as science in order to develop wisdom  a resource available in abundance in all of us, yet accessible to only a few that have sought knowledge of reality.  Socrates would especially appreciate this portion of my philosophy of education, as he did not only desire for students to learn about everything they did not know before, but also to cultivate wisdom (Burgess).  
I further believe that all students are capable of learning.  Even so, every student is a unique individual with learning needs that differ from the needs of his or her peers.  Hence, it is essential to teach students with respect to their developmental stage.  At the same time, however, I would not overlook the fact that some students could be slower than the rest, while a few may even be gifted.  Locke explains the difference as follows

I confess, there are some mens constitutions of body and mind so vigorous, and well framd by nature, that they need not much assistance from others but by the strength of their natural genius, they are from their cradles carried towards what is excellent and by the privilege of their happy constitutions, are able to do wonders. But examples of this kind are but few and I think I may say, that of all the men we meet with, nine parts of ten are what they are, good or evil, useful or not, by their education. Tis that which makes the great difference in mankind. The little, or almost insensible impressions on our tender infancies, have very important and lasting consequences and there tis, as in the fountains of some rivers, where a gentle application of the hand turns the flexible waters in channels, that make them take quite contrary courses and by this direction given them at first in the source, they receive different tendencies, and arrive at last at very remote and distant places.

Thus, I would like all my students to get to love learning as much as I do.  Locke would agree that the pursuit of knowledge is a responsibility we need to fulfill for the sake of God as well as ourselves.  Furthermore, I trust Lockes view that the acquisition of knowledge should become a good habit, as all bad habits and wrongdoings are a result of ignorance (Gussie and Jingeleski).  In fact, I believe that it is only lack of education that is keeping humanity from taking the next step in its evolution.  The wars, the famines, and poverty around the globe are teachers that are prompting us to move ahead with enlightened minds.  The world requires a greater number of motivated-to-learn, educated people.  For this reason, I am confident of the fact that I can add value to my world as an educator.
Needless to say, my personal successes in life  in academic institutions and elsewhere  have clearly proved to me that there is no success without learning.  Additionally, there is no failure in education.  Socrates would agree that knowledge is meant to help in the cultivation of self before it can be applied to improve society.  To put it another way, self-understanding is essential (Burgess).  For example, I understand that my personal successes in life, good influences, and love of learning have motivated me to take up leadership roles in future.  I envision myself as a high achiever.  Hence, I would not only endeavor to perform brilliantly at my educational institution, but also as a professional after completing a higher degree.  Had I not envisioned myself as a high achiever, I would not be motivated as I am to perform brilliantly.  Likewise, organizational behavior theorists discuss self-efficacy as a significant component of high achievement in the workplace.
Knowing myself, I value my need for continuous learning.  This need has led me to believe that educators must continue to conduct research on the art and science of teaching, and develop themselves so as to help their students learn as effectively as possible.  Educational research is conducted on the premise that an expansion of knowledge in the area of classroom teaching should automatically lead to improvements in the classroom, not only with respect to teaching styles but also the academic progress of students.  Then again, I agree with Kant that learning cannot be forced rather, each individual has freewill to apply learning as he or she deems fit (De Tal).  Just as I cannot force my students to accept my vision of an ideal society as their own, I cannot force all teachers to practice what they learn through research.  However, I trust Socrates view that each human being is essentially divine (Burgess).  In other words, I believe that all people, be their students or teachers, are capable of performing good deeds and being conscientious at all times.  So, even if a teacher or student engages in wrongdoing, or if he or she fails to fulfill his or her responsibilities in the academic institution and beyond  it is possible for others, including myself, to encourage and support the individual to return to the right path.  In fact, in Socrates view, this kind of societal support is vital (Burgess).  The following statement of Socrates, with the image of human beings in darkness, serves as a great lesson in this context as it shows how dangerously ignorant humanity tends to be and the importance of supporting each other toward enlightenment

And now, I said, let me show in a figure how far our nature is enlightened or unenlightened --Behold human beings living in an underground den, which has a mouth open towards the light and reaching all along the den here they have been from their childhood, and have their legs and necks chained so that they cannot move, and can only see before them, being prevented by the chains from turning round their heads.  Above and behind them a fire is blazing at a distance, and between the fire and the prisoners there is a raised way and you will see, if you look, a low wall built along the way, like the screen which marionette players have in front of them, over which they show the puppets.

Seeing that ignorance is dangerous, I believe that it is necessary for an educator not only to provide support to his or her students but also to fellow educators in their quest to improve their teaching practice.  On a similar note, as early childhood education cannot be complete without the environment that the child is exposed to outside the classroom, I am confident that the advice and support of parents helps to make early childhood education more effective.  For students beyond early childhood education, I believe that it is especially important to support the formation of peer groups.  After all, we cannot create an ideal society unless we have experienced ideal relationships to prod us toward the light.    


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