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The Four Major Philosophies of Education

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Jessica Meitler

on 15 July 2015

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Transcript of The Four Major Philosophies of Education

Philosophies Comparison
The Four Major Philosophies of Education
What are they and how do they impact me?
Pragmatism
Pragmatists learn through their experiences. They must be able to work with a group of people to find solutions to problems as they occur. The focus is on improving society as a whole so that members become productive citizens. Learning takes place through group projects and problem solving as a holistic unit.
Realism
Realism is the counterpart to idealism, in that with realism items can exist outside the realm of human thought. Learning is done through sensory observation, experimentation and careful reflection of the findings. Implementing the scientific method and using careful, precise measures to thoroughly examine objects helps realists create absolute truths about the world around them.
Idealism
Idealists envision the world as it could be and continuously challenge the idea of reaching perfection. Reality happens through the mind and inspirations, which can also bring about enlightenment and knowledge. Religious groups often stem from an idealistic approach in that there is One Being that created our current reality simply through thought.
Existentialism
Existentialism has as its focus the development of the individual person. Discovering who you are and what you want to become are more important than fitting into society's view of what you should be. Learning is accomplished through challenging others' opinions and engaging in higher level thinking. By constantly asking "why" and not being complacent with the answers that you find, you will become a life-long learner.
Impact
Existentialism was my highest scoring category, by one point. Upon initial reading, I thought this was the hardest philosophy to apply to modern education and my own personal teaching style. However, after researching and some reflection, I now understand why this philosophy stands out in my Barger Inventory. I truly believe that every child learns differently and that the best way to learn is through hard work and personal perseverance. Students internalize lessons more when they are the ones who come up with their own questions and then investigate to find their answers. This philosophy holds true to this day, as we implement the Common Core Standards and old curriculum is pushed aside to make way for multiple representations being used in classrooms to engage and stimulate the learning of each individual student.
Examples:
Facing the facts
Being practical
The scientific method
Deductive logic
Common sense
Doing things systematically
Hands on problem solving
Examples:
Mind over matter
"Imagine all the people, living life in peace" - John Lennon
"I think, therefore I am" - Descartes
Striving for perfection
Search for Truth
"Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His love endures forever" - Psalm 136
"Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect" - Matthew 5:48
by Jessica Meitler
Theories and Philosophies of Leadership
Summer 2015

Examples:
Each person is responsible for himself
Freedom to be your own person
You are the choices you make
Life is short, make the most of it
Be the change you want to see in the world
Discovering the meaning of life
Examples:
Teamwork makes it happen
Preparing you for life
Cooperative groups
Learning from past mistakes
Making the world a better place for everyone
Impact
Pragmatism and Idealism tied for second place on my Barger Inventory. If anything, I would have thought I was more of a pragmatist than an existentialist when it comes to my classroom. I believe in students working in cooperative groups and have set up my classroom in Kagan groupings for years. I repeatedly use the phrase, "ask three before me" when working with students as I feel they can get better understandings from their peers. Lastly, I truly hope that the skills my students gain will help them to become productive members of society - whether it be job related skills or just social skills. Either way, success as a whole would be to see them positively contributing to the world around them.
Impact
My idealistic score tied for second on my Ross Barger inventory (with pragmatism) and I believe it has to do more with my personal life than professional. I grew up in a very small, very Catholic, town/community outside of Wichita. The values and religious practices that I carry with me today have their roots in idealism; that there is something beyond this life as I know it. Knowing that this world is only temporary, and that I am destined for better things affects my relationships with those that I interact with both personally and professionally.
Impact
Of all four philosophies, realism was my lowest scoring area by half. I always thought of myself as more of a realist when it came to school issues. I was surprised to see that it was my least highest score. Although I teach math, which is often very linear and logical, I prefer to encourage my students to discover new ways to come up with a solution. Perhaps I'm less of a realist because I continue to have hopes and dreams about my students, my school, and my life that common sense tells me are extremely unlikely. I guess I'm not as firmly planted in reality as I had once believed.
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