Approaches to Philosophy of Education

Each educator must develop his or her own personal philosophy of education. A tremendous body of educational theory exists, however, making it difficult to choose a specific school of thought. For example, some educators base their theories on different approaches to grouping students for instruction, various forms of curricula, methods of evaluating student progress, or the objectives of instruction. Phrases such as "cooperative learning," "multiple intelligences," and "whole learning experiences" abound in the literature. Instructional methods range from free exploration to direct instruction. Models of learning range from transactional to transmission. Synthesizing even a small fraction of the various educational philosophies into a personal philosophy would easily take years of effort. A worthwhile direction, however, is to use as a foundation theories that have stood the test of time. Therefore, a valid approach to a philosophy of education would be to start with the works of John Dewey. Dewey was an education philosopher whose child-centered philosophy continues to influence modern education; such a philosophy using practical methods of guided discovery represents the best approach to the education of young people.

Both theory and practice have their place in today's classroom. Theory helps instructors to develop achievable goals for teaching. Practice is the implementation of these goals. Teachers must be willing to reevaluate their theoretical approaches



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