Tuesday, 9 October 2012

The importance in the school philosophy

Through working as a united learning community, our purpose is to produce optimistic, resilient lifelong learners with skills for future success as responsible citizens in the 21st century.
Park Hill Public School, 2012

The importance of a philosophy in education is that is defines the purpose and focus of an educational institution (Thompson 2007). When parents are choosing the appropriate school for their children to attend or teachers are finding the school that best suits their own beliefs in education, reading the school philosophy will provide an overall picture of how the staff define what subjects are taught and how they are taught, and more importantly the values and attitudes of the teaching and learning process.

Below is a philosophy checklist created by Cornell University Graduate School (2010) of information you must include in both your personal and school philosophy:

  • Teaching values, beliefs, and goals
  • Provides a set of criteria and/or standards to judge the quality of your teaching
  • Provides evidence of your teaching effectiveness
  • Explanation of the desired learning styles (inquiry based, student directed, problem solving, critical thinking, teamwork)
  • Educational purpose and learning goals for students
  • Effective teaching methods
  • student-teaching roles and responsibilities
  • student-teacher interactions
  • inclusiveness
  • Effective methods for assessing students’ learning
  • Effective methods for the assessment of teaching

Answer these questions to get started:

  • The purpose of education is to________.
  • Why do you want to teach your subject?
  • Students learn best by______________.
  • When you are teaching your subject, what are your goals?
  • The most effective methods for teaching are___________.
  • I know this because__________________.
  • The most important aspects of my teaching are______________.

Writing guidelines:

  • There is no required content, set format, or right or wrong way to write a teaching statement. That is why writing one can be challenging. 
  • Make the length suit the context. Generally, they are 1–2 pages.
  • Use present tense and the first person, in most cases.
  • Avoid technical terms and use broadly understood language and concepts, in most cases. Write with the audience in mind. Have someone from your field guide you on discipline-specific jargon and issues to include or exclude.
  • Include teaching strategies and methods to help people “see” you in the classroom. Include specific examples of your teaching strategies, assignments, discussions, etc. Help them to visualize the learning environment you create and the exchanges between you and your students.

Reference List

Cornell University Graduate School. (2011). Teaching Philosophy Statement, last accessed: 29/09/2012, http://www.gradschool.cornell.edu/career-development/put-your-qualifications-writing/teaching-philosophy-statement
Thompson, A.C. (2007). A philosophy of education, last accessed: 29/09/2012, http://www.acthompson.net/PhilEd.htm

Image: http://edutopia-ntbootcamp.wikispaces.com/file/view/Wordle_Philosophy.jpg/240112525/705x348/Wordle_Philosophy.jpg

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