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The school philosophy is one of the premises for achieving educational goals. Schools should have a well-established philosophy as it makes the process of sharing and gaining knowledge-focused, clear, consistent, and effective. School philosophy can be regarded as a guideline used to choose methods and techniques for teaching students (Joyce, Weil, & Calhoun, 2015). Teachers should share their school’s philosophy to achieve their and the school’s educational goals. Otherwise, young learners may simply develop mistrust, doubt, and even hostility to the teacher, which will inevitably lead to ineffective teaching and learning. Luckily, I share my school’s philosophy, which helps me be a good teacher.
First, I would like to note that I will employ Eisner’s ideas concerning school philosophy. Eisner (2017) states that five major orientations (every school has) include academic rationalism, personal relevance, social adaptation, curriculum as technology, and cognitive processes development. Importantly, schools often try to balance these orientations, but one or some of them usually stand out.
For instance, all schools adhere to some norms and regulations, including certain standards, so it is impossible to disregard such orientation as academic rationalism. At that, some schools tend to put an emphasis on constructing young people’s ability to integrate into modern society. My school is one of such educational establishments. At that, my school also pays the necessary attention to fostering students’ ability to develop and express their own views and perspectives.
These orientations are manifested in various aspects. The curriculum includes various activities associated with learners’ interaction with the real world, so-to-speak. Field trips are common, and various guests often come to share their experience, knowledge, ideas, and so on. Many classrooms are equipped with tools and technology typical of the modern world. All these things make students prepared for their future functioning within the community.
At the same time, classrooms have visuals revealing such values as the respect of opinions and ideas, the importance of developing one’s own perspective on different matters, and the like. Clearly, the display of learners’ works is a common thing for any educational establishment. However, in our school, these works are exhibited so that the diversity of ideas was revealed.
My school’s philosophy is one of the major reasons I am so committed to it. First, it is necessary to identify my philosophy and views. The most appropriate framework for this task is Ross Philosophical Inventory (Joyce et al., 2015). My philosophical orientation is two-fold as I balance between idealism and pragmatism. On the one hand, I believe that students should be trained to become successful members of modern society.
I think that during every class, they can obtain knowledge and skills applicable in the real-world setting. For example, when working with students with special needs, I always try to help them develop skills that can be used at home, in the street, in college and professional life. Art helps young learners develop fine motor skills that are crucial for various tasks they have to complete in their daily life. I also encourage them to be closer to nature and society. They are willing to explore the real world and become active members of the community. We go on trips and get our inspiration in the school park, in public parks, museums, and other places.
Apart from these practical skills, I try to help young learners be more confident. When it comes to students with special needs, confidence is often something they lack. I manage to make them understand that they can and do have their own perspective. I believe art is one of the central disciplines developing such understanding and skills. People forget about their fears or shame when creating their artworks.
Where Philosophies Align
As has been mentioned above, my personal philosophy aligns with my school’s philosophy. The school’s orientation on social adaptation aligns with my pragmatism. The school encourages field trips and active interaction between students and the real world. I often organize school trips and invite guests. As to the focus on the development of a set of skills necessary to be an active member of the society, I help learners develop their fine motor skills and use tools they will utilize in their future life. Importantly, I help them develop social skills. The ability to interact with others is one of the most important skills young people (especially those having disabilities) can develop at school.
My idealism is aligned with the school’s orientation on personal relevance. I contribute to the development of a collaborative environment where young people are encouraged and willing to share their views that may differ. The works of my students encourage them and other learners to reveal their ideas and opinions, as well as participate in the discussion of numerous issues. Importantly, I share the school’s philosophy concerning the involvement of students with special needs, other learners, parents, and community.
The development of social skills is an important part of the educational process and the school’s (and my) philosophy, but the expression of the self is also important. Furthermore, the school tries to make people ready to listen to young people with special needs and hear their opinions. I also pay a lot of attention to this. Unfortunately, people are still rather biased when it comes to students (and adults) with disabilities. We arrange exhibitions where my students display their works and share their views on different matters (works, experiences, dreams, etc.).
In conclusion, I would like to note that I am lucky to work at the school where the existing philosophy aligns with my own philosophy. I believe ideologies and philosophies play a central role in the way curriculum and instruction are developed and implemented. Teachers are guided through their adherence to certain values. They choose to teach strategies and topics that help them achieve their goals. These goals include particular academic objectives but are not confined to them. Teachers also try to develop certain qualities in their students. When it comes to my school and my teaching, they are taught to be lifelong learners who can apply new knowledge and skills in their everyday or professional life.
They are also encouraged to develop their own viewpoint on different topics. Importantly, they are taught to express and sometimes defend their points of view. These skills and qualities can help them become successful in the globalized world. We will foster a generation of individuals who are able to come up with creative solutions and make others share their vision. Hopefully, more and more schools around the world will start paying more attention to the orientations and values mentioned above as they will be able to change the world for the better.
Eisner, E. W. (2017). The enlightened eye: Qualitative inquiry and the enhancement of educational practice (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
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Joyce, B., Weil, M., & Calhoun, E. (2015). Models of teaching (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.