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Have you ever sat down and thought about who your favorite teacher was during your primary and secondary school years? Did you enjoy their class because it was exciting, educational, and unique? When I decided to become a teacher I sat down and asked myself these very questions. After graduation it was very difficult for me to decide on how to further my life, college or entering the work force. After looking back on my life and trying to decide what has made the biggest influence on it, teaching has given me the greatest joy and pride. This is why I have decided to become an elementary teacher. Teachers are very special people placed on earth to aid in the education process of children. Teachers in today’s school system have their own style of teaching which can range from the basics of essentialism to the laid back approach of progressivism. I personally am not going to limit myself to one style of teaching. When I become a teacher I will have an eclectic view of different philosophies and teaching styles for my classroom.
Educator William Bagley coined the philosophical word essentialism in the 1930’s. This term is the traditional, or back-to-basics, approach to education. This particular style of teaching is based on lecture, discussion and recitation of reading, writing, history, social studies, foreign languages and science. This method of teaching has been the dominant since early history and is the most recognized in classrooms today. I personally know that essentialism was the philosophy used by most of my high school teachers and college professors. In my classroom I would use certain aspects of the essentialism philosophy. With the aid of the essentialism philosophy I would instill consideration of others, respect for authority and practicality for life situations.
On the flip side of the essentialism coin is behaviorism. B.F. Skinner popularized behaviorism in the United States. This method of teaching uses classical conditioning from the root work of Ivan Pavlov, critical thinking skills and programmed instruction. Most teachers in today’s society use the behaviorism philosophy because they believe that the material is taught more effectively when it is broken down into smaller sections in each class.
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