Creating A Personal Teaching Philosophy

Have you ever wondered why you teach?  Is it because you like helping people understand new concepts, ideas or theories? Do you like seeing that “Ah-Ha” moment in learners where something you said made all their previous learning on the topic make sense? You reasons may be much deeper than you realize.

All of us teach for different reasons, but I don’t think we know why we teach and what makes teaching important to us.  Creating a personal teaching philosophy will help you understand your teaching motivations and may even help make you a better and more satisfied teacher.

A few months ago I wrote down my first personal education philology, which was the beginnings of my personal teaching philosophy:

“Teaching is about learning, which is a life-long and continuous activity. Education need not be formal to be valued.  Education is about moving forward and making a difference in the world – through applying knowledge and teaching learners how to apply knowledge”

It was, admittedly, a bit rough, but it had the core ideas of what I believe education and teaching means to me.

At the time I wrote the above philosophy, I was enrolled in a Masters of Education course that looked at the development of learning; thus I read research papers on the many contributing factors of learning, such a psychology, philosophy, sociology, and politics.  This had a tremendous impact on my teaching philosophy, but it also made me realize that with a few refinements, my original philosophy held the essence of my ideals.

By the end of the course, my personal teaching philosophy had changed to:

“Education, teaching, and learning is about making a difference in the world – through applying knowledge and teaching learners how, when, and why to apply knowledge.”

I’m fairly satisfied with my philosophy because it is rooted in useful and transmission of knowledge; however, my philosophy is evolving and the greater my exposure to education theories, and application of the theories, the more refined my philosophy will become.

Having a philosophy is all well and good, but a philosophy without application is of no use.  I can now look at my lesson plan and ask myself if the lesson meets the requirements of the philosophy.  If it doesn’t, then am I being honest with my learners and myself if I were to deliver that lesson without changing it to meet my philosophical standards?  If it doesn’t, then I must either revise my philosophy or my lesson plan.

That is not say that my current teaching philosophy is etched in stone.  It is a fluid philosophy that matures and changes as I grow and evolve as an educator.

Do you have a personal teaching or education philosophy you would like to share?

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