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My teaching dream

The Isms of education


Idealism

Plato was the philosopher who brought about this philosophy. People who are idealists
believe that you know are born with everything you will ever know. As you learn you bring
that knowledge you didn’t think you had before to your consciousness. They believe that
person’s soul is the element of us that allows humans to think and feel. A teacher who uses
this iSM in his or her curriculum teaches though modeling and makes his or her students
think outside of the box. "Thinking outside the box" is taught by using the Socratic method by
asking leading questions to make the children go more in depth in thinking. Idealists use
macrocosm, which refers to the mind, the rst cause, creator, or God; and microcosm, which
is the personal mind or spirit. This mindset is always thinking and valuing. Some subjects that
are deemed important in this philosophy are history and literature because they teach culture
and morals, and math because it promotes abstract thinking (Ornstein, 2011) (notes from
class). My reading and literature teachers I think used the "thinking outside the box" method
of this philosophy the most to get us thinking about what we read and what hidden meanings
there could be in the story.

Realism

This next philosophy was developed by Plato's student, Aristotle and said that "reality is
outside of our minds and not latent or internal to our minds as Plato claimed" (Ornstein,
2011). There are scienti c realists who believe that the scienti c method is how one can
obtain an accurate description of the world and how it operates. They are concerned with
things that can be proven and how things work instead of "why" they work. Due to this belief,
they rely on facts instead of opinion. Some subjects they accepts as appropriate are math and
science and not the arts because the arts are all about self expression. A teacher that follows
this philosophy teaches through lectures and makes sure that their students know the facts
and has them memorized (Ornstein, 2011) (notes from class). Science and math teachers are
the obvious ones to stick to this philosophy, challenging the students to gure out how or why
a reaction occurred or why they got the answer they did.

Pragmatism
The main founder of this philosophy is John Dewey. Dewey implemented Darwin's theory of
evolution of organism and environment. Dewey rejected the ideas of idealism and realism
and created this iSM. He said that because humans are social beings we use our "life
sustaining impulses to promote growth and development... by interacting with their
environment they have experiences" (Ornstein, 2011). Pragmatists rely on the scienti c
method to solve issues to form an experimental process and from these experiences they
"construct a network of usable network of experimental episodes" to learn from (Ornstein,
2011). Pragmatists suggest that when you are facing a problem, you gain knowledge on how
to overcome the problem from a variety of subjects (Ornstein, 2011) (notes from class). My
freshman year of high school I had a biology teacher that would take us outside to look at,
rst hand, moss, owers, algae, and other species of plants and fungi. I thought this was very
bene cial because pictures in a book are not the same as seeing it rst hand, up close.

Existentialism

This movement arouse in the 19th century in Europe and was developed
by Kierkegaard, Dostoyevsky, and Nietzsche, but did not really become prominent until the
mid 20th century. The main points in this philosophy are that we have free will, responsibility,
and the ability to make choices. Using these points, one nds his or her self and the meaning
of life. It is tough to de ne this iSM because all existentialists have di erent views on the
matter. A teacher that is an existentialist encourages his or her students to be involved in
group discussions and share about choices they have made and how hey have possibly
impacted their lives. In this way of teaching the students gain another point of view from their
peers. These teachers believe that standardized instruction diminishes the creative
uniqueness, so instead they have open learning environments (Ornstein, 2011) (notes from
class). My senior year I was in a peer leadership program called ALPHA and we shared a lot
about ourselves in group discussions and how it has made us the people we are today. If you
are in a class like this it opens your eyes to see that you are not the only person going through
a speci c problem and not the only one who does not have a "perfect life".

Postmodernism

Nietzsche, who also helped develop existentialism, and Heidegger created the most modern
philosophy of learning we have today. This iSm takes ideas from the past and "remodels"
them in a way. These people believe that  we learn from others' experiences and through
collaborative learning (Ornstein, 2011). This ism; however, marginalizes people, which means
they undermine or completely ignore women and minorities when teaching a subject such as
history. Postmodernist always ask questions and question why something is true, especially if
the topic is about something far back in history where no one is still around today to verify it.
Postmodernists are like existentialists in the way that "they raise their students
consciousness" (Ornstein, 2011). "Postmodernist argue that teachers need to rst
empower themselves as professional educators" (Ornstein, 2011) (notes from class). I have
never had a teacher or heard of a teacher that would marginalize people in anyway just to
make their own culture look good.

Bruner

Bruner started the cognitive movement in the United States along with being the creator of
Constructivism. Therefore, he would not agree with realists who rely on memorization skills to
get information across to students. He believe that we as humans are self-undertstanding
and re ect on their experiences to solve their problems. 
"Bruner wanted to create an educational environment that would focus on (1) what was
uniquely human about human beings, (2) how humans got that way and (3) how humans
could become more so" (Wikipedia, 2014). He visited schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy and was
impressed and established a relationship with the Reggio Emilia to improve the quality of
education internationally (Wikipedia, 2014). 

Froebel

Froebel is known as the "Father of Kindergarten".  He believed that children are the building
blocks of our world because they learn so much starting from an early age (3-5). He was a
strong believer in play and how it has the ability to stimulate the mind to grow. His philosophy
of education has four major points: "free self expression, creativity, social participation and
motor expression" (baliadvertiser). He utilized these points by having the children interact
with games, songs, stories, and arts and crafts to stimulate their minds ("Friedrich Froebel",
2007) (notes from class). 
Montessori 

Maria Montessori was greatly in uenced by Frobel’s idea of how play stimulates the mind
(baliadvertiser). She originally wanted to become a doctor and was one of the rst female
physicians in Italy (Maria Montessori, 2015). She began working at the Orthphrenic School for
developmentally disabled children and began researching childhood development. She
opened her own school “the Children’s Hose” where she let the children’s natural interests
take dictate what they involved themselves in. There are over 1,000 Montessori school in
America alone that “follow the child” (Maria Montessori, 2015).

My Personal Philosophy

When learning and going over these philosophies and was posed with the question of what I
think my personal teaching philosophy will be in the future, I think I knew right away that I
was not going to teach directly to one philosophy. I think that all of the iSMs we have learned
about have important characteristics to be able to develop a classroom that will bene t
children. I, however, do not believe that we are born with everything we will ever know as
Idealists do. I agree with the Existentialist and Pragmatists that believe we learn and bene t
from experiences. I also agree with the Pragmatist view that if you are faced with a problem,
you will overcome it best by using a variety of subjects and backgrounds, not just one.
Postmodernist always questioning why something is the way it is I think would be bene cial at
times in certain subjects, but not at every fact given to them. 
 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerome_Bruner
http://www.baliadvertiser.biz/articles/teach_children/2007/friedrich.html
http://www.biography.com/people/maria-montessori-9412528#educational-legacy

Notes from class discussion 


Ornstein textbook

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