Educational Philosophy

A philosophy of education – teaching

What is a philosophy or ethos of education, and why bother?

You will have a set of values that inform the decisions and actions that you take in your personal and professional lives.  At its core the profession of medicine is the application of scientific information 

to individuals and populations.  The application of a doctor’s knowledge is governed by a set of ethical principles which translate themselves into values.  The Hippocratic Oath is the most well known of several codes of behaviour or ethical frameworks that is universally accepted by doctors.  It is because we practice with and on fellow humans that we require such frameworks.  It is because we live and work in political systems that we need a framework to know how we should practice within social and legal boundaries or indeed if we as doctors should challenge them.  For instance not being involved in torture or forced imprisonment under the guise of mental illness.  

Teaching involves us as teachers in applying knowledge about learning to learners, in our situation to advanced learners who are advancing their professionals careers.  We must, therefore, have a set of values and a framework within which we relate to and work with our learners.  We teach from the body of knowledge we have accumulated.  That knowledge has been derived from information

 we have received and memorised.  It has been processed through our own values systems and previously held beliefs and synthesised to fit with current experience.  It might even have matured enough to be considered part of our wisdom.  In short it is integrated with our personality, we teach of and from ourselves.

We are not just a repository of medical facts, we live day to day personal lives, we behave according to cultural and or religious beliefs, we acquire status as doctors and even more so as teachers.  We are in positions of power that control others lives clinically and educationally.  We are ourselves required to work within regulatory frameworks in education.

So what is your philosophy of education? The following prompts should help, add to them.  At the end of the exercise you should be able to articulate your ethos to a learner or a fellow teacher.

Arthur Hibble 30/10/2010

Some Prompts, to get you going.

(don’t forget to write them down, even if you derive them in a discussion)

What are your values?

What part do (should) your religious beliefs and traditions play in your teaching practice?

What are the values of the service organisation where you work and for whom you teach?

What does educational leadership mean?

What are the aims of the written curriculum, are values mentioned?

What are your assumptions about learning and teaching? 

How do you manage the power / control balance in the relationship?

What are the ethical elements of your teaching, methods, evidence, good practice?

What are your beliefs about the place of standards, levels of performance and assessments?

What does learner centeredness mean to you and how autonomous can a learner be?

What are your beliefs about payment for education, and the responsibility of the educational community to funding and sponsorship issues?