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My experience as a teacher and guidance officer has led one to think about education and develop a philosophy that centers on the learner.
I believe that education is preparing the learner for life and not just life – but a well-balanced, well-adjusted life. I also believe that students should be able to cope with and deal with life’s challenges, they must have a purpose to life, a code for right and wrong, a passion to fight against injustices and at the same time appreciate beauty, the aesthetics and traditions.
In my view, a philosophy that is known or unknown to the to the teacher influences teaching styles and method. I have never really given serious thought about philosophy at education during my career until this moment. In retrospect, I would have taught my students to be disciplined in all aspects of life. I have used as a theme, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ because I believe in fairness and justice. My students have also learned too to discover, to experiment to be a team player and to realise they can think for themselves and make informed choices.
As a guidance officer, I have helped students to understand that life is beautiful, but there are also so many challenges to which they have the inner resources to handle. I constantly explain to my students that their life must be balanced – it should include a little of everything.
My philosophy assessment results in some ways reflect my beliefs about education. I had very close scores in three of the educational philosophies (Perennialism - 17; Progressivism – 17; Reconstructionism – 18). This is rather interesting because I like the traditional way of doing some things, for example, telling stories to children. Added to this, some things like good manners never change and yet I welcome the modern constructivist way of teaching and learning.
Students should be exposed to diversity and reconstruct what ideas they would have had on certain issues. A very simplified example is that all over the world, rice is consumed; it would be preposterous to think that the only way to eat rice is with a fork or spoon. The students that interact with others and experience other cultures would have a balanced life.
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In my guidance sessions, I encourage students to talk about topical issues and to decide on a point of view and substantiate their claim. It is based on their reasoning and perception, understanding and ability to analyze that they would be able to effect social change as they live out their lives in society.
My assessment also shows an interesting combination of the social, the ancient and students as being responsible for their learning. The curriculum reflects some or most of the Perennialism educational philosophy with gradual change towards the Reconstructionism ideology, however this change is slow since curriculum change and implementation is one of the most difficult change to be wrought.
This exercise has given me the opportunity to think about education, how it is delivered and the purpose for which it is meant. These factors have led me to think about and develop philosophy skills, which are still under construction.