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Philosophy of Education

Amber LaFerriere
Philosophy of Education Paper
Oklahoma State University

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Philosophy of Education

The ideal purpose of education in the United States is to prepare students to go out into
the world and to give them opportunities to grow and learn how to have a fulfilling and
meaningful life. Elementary education is an essential part of the education system and is critical
for achieving the ultimate purpose of education. Students cannot be handed great works of
literature and be expected to see the beauty and worthiness of them without first learning to read.
Students cannot be expected to be able to create and use a budget without first being taught
simple mathematic functions such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Students
cannot write meaningful and effective stories, essays, or poems without first learning to write the
alphabet. The skills taught in elementary education are the building blocks to all forms of higher
education as well as a greater understanding of life and the world around us.
As a teacher, my responsibility in facilitating student achievement is to help them
understand the real world and find something that makes them passionate. I do not believe that
there is specifically one role as a teacher. A teacher must be a supporter and a challenger, a
facilitator and a motivator. A teacher needs to be able to support the learning of his or her
students, but (s)he should not spoon feed information. While some aspects of teaching involve
dispensing information to students and having them absorb it, I think that the best and most
effective learning practices are when the students are involved in their learning and the teacher
facilitates. A child is more likely to understand that multiplication is essentially finding out how
many items there are if there are X items in every group and there are Y groups through the use
of manipulatives rather than just being told that 3X3=9. However, a teacher needs to be able to
challenge students as well without frustrating them to the point of losing interest. A little
frustration from time to time can be excellent motivation to understand how to solve a problem;

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Philosophy of Education

however, constantly assigning tasks that the student deems impossible without the right
assistance and encouragement (being a motivator) could not only deter a student from a certain
subject, but to learning as a whole. Just as I do not believe that there is only one role of a
teacher, I also do not believe that I belong solely to any one teacher philosophy. I think that
students need to have a strong grasp on the classes in the core curriculum which relates to the
essentialist philosophy, but I do not think the curriculum should be limited to these. Elective
courses are essential to developing student interests. I do not believe these courses water down
the curriculum; I believe they enhance it. This supports the philosophy of progressivism. If a
teacher can discover a subject that a student really loves and is passionate about, (s)he can use
this to his/her advantage to help the student enjoy a class that is less enjoyable for him/her. For
example, if I knew a group of students disliked science, but loved art, I would try to find ways to
incorporate art projects into the science curriculum. Instead of just learning the parts of the water
cycle, we could make a diorama that shows them the process. I think that the role of the student
is to be an active constructor in his/her learning. A teacher can lecture to a class all day, but if the
students are not interested and engaged, they will not retain anything. I think this supports the
philosophies I most relate to because the learning style is student centered rather than teacher
centered.
I think the role of the family in education is important, and in elementary education, it is
even more so. It is important that parental figures help students practice and apply the skills they
learn in school as well as continue to invoke a sense of curiosity and interest in learning. Parents
should motivate their children to learn in place of the teacher when the children are outside of the
classroom just as the teacher must care for the students in loco parentis inside the classroom. The
community also plays a role in helping children and teachers achieve their educational goals. A

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Philosophy of Education

supportive community will be able to help offer opportunities for teachers to expose their
students to new ideas and experiences. A strong community will rally around their schools and
teachers to help give the children the best education possible. In a weak community, the schools
and/or teachers may be left to fend for themselves.
Teachers are lifelong learners. There are new strategies, concepts, and policies created all the
time. While professional development days can be a great help in giving teachers the resources
they need to stay up to date, this may not be enough. If there is something that I feel strongly
about learning that is not offered at my districts professional development days, I am willing to
go out of my way to learn it whether this means suggesting a workshop be lead at my district,
attending a workshop elsewhere, or taking a class to learn more about it. If teachers lose interest
in learning, how will they be able to interest students in it?
Education is essential to the development of a productive and successful life. This journey
begins for many in elementary school. It is here that students are first exposed to the ways of
education that will follow them for 12+ years. This is too great of a task to leave on the shoulders
of just a few. Education takes a community. It takes teachers who are willing to give their
students their all and engage them in the learning process. It takes students who are willing to
open their minds and dive into education. It takes parents who are willing to encourage their
children at home to value education. Finally, it takes a supportive community who is willing to
assist the schools in offering the best education possible. Education involves many hands and
collaboration, but one goal remains clear: education is what grows and shapes the future.