The philosophy of education is a field that has seen disputes since the mid-twentieth century stemming from a wide range of theoretical works developed by different scholars and philosophers. This kind of perennial dispute concerns the issues of what the purpose of the discipline should actually be as well as its dimensions. The philosophy of education in relation to academic field may involve the study of education with regard to the problems associated with this study. Such study further may be divided to include the discipline of education and the education process in relation to philosophical analyses. The philosophy of education has brought forth many perspectives such as idealism, analytical, realism, pragmatism and scholasticism among many others. Historically, the dominant perspectives have continued to define what the philosophy of education is but changes have been inevitable as evidently depicted by the current philosophy of education. Great philosophers as Plato and Jean-Jacques did define philosophy of education around canonical works apparent on education. At other times the study was dominated by educational progressivism and the works from U.S scholars such as John Dewey. There was also a time when all the philosophy was rejected as being improper through the analytical approach that characterized the field at that time.
However during the range of period where dominance was experienced with regard to the field, clear cut internal disputes could be noticed. The field is characterized by many problems and concerns to an extent that at times practitioners may be negatively preoccupied by them. The issues of which methods are paramount in this field, the boundaries to which the discipline should cover and unique definitions may distract practitioners from ideally thinking of the educational problems present in the field. It is very easy for the attention of the involved parties being diverted into dwelling more on these questions with regard to the substance of the discipline. Plato did come up with philosophies of education that can be considered democratic in his idealistic approach to this field in that elementary education should be for both girls and boys. Further, in democratic education, some students will be educated to the highest level while others may willingly drop out of school by the wayside. Philosopher John Locke did express this field on a realistic perspective in that education fundamentally makes the man to whom he is whether good or evil (Spring, 2009).
In analyzing my current philosophy of education, numerous perspectives, principles and practices are discussed in relation to beliefs on teaching methods, teaching practices, teaching manner amongst others. Although the dominant perspectives in this field of study did face stern disputes from time to time, current analyses of philosophy of education is to a certain extent dependent on such earlier perspectives. It is evident that the main purpose of education should be to make students through learning to acquire content knowledge. Through this, such students will utilize the acquired knowledge in making crucial judgments in their day to day lives. Through education students will recognize how such knowledge is valuable to their lives and consequently the understanding on its application.
An effective educational system will develop learners that are responsible citizens in the future and cautious of the individual choices they make as well as being aware of the likely consequences. To develop such an effective education system much emphasis should be especially leveled on teaching practices, methods and manner. The students can always get inspiration with regard to their capabilities and potentials from a teaching process that acts as a role model. Best teaching methods can really bring a huge impact on students who can grasp analytical and mathematical skills earlier thought to be hard and challenging to them. Indeed, teaching methods that appreciate all students individually as possessing equal potentials proves to be decisive and not discriminative. Such methods when taught appropriately will enable students to improve their learning styles and most critical improve the performance (Johnson & Reed, 2008).
There are cases where individual students require unique learning strategies so as to be able to understand the context knowledge. In such cases, varying methods and strategies should be discovered to fit each of the students’ individual strategy of processing information. The students further will be able to achieve the intended outcomes relative to the content knowledge delivered by the educators when such individual considerations are actually met. Another aspect of teaching practices in the current philosophy of education involves developing self-confidence through positive self-esteem. The teaching practices and methods should develop appropriate models that do correct students’ failures and mistakes. Such models should not be discouraging to students an aspect that can greatly affect the self-esteem of students and performance.
Indeed, corrective measures should present opportunities for additional learning for the student but depict from presenting the notion of failure to the victim. Through this, knowledge and maturity will be acquired by students without necessarily learning from done mistakes and failures. The educators will develop competent and confident students in the community who can make many choices of their own individually. The role played by teachers is very important in relation to learning and teaching processes. Further, the teacher possesses pedagogical content knowledge and beliefs that when practiced through the delivery of lessons in a classroom effectiveness will be achieved. The teacher is core in delivering the content knowledge to the student through the learning and teaching strategies. The teaching beliefs are manifested in the mastery content of knowledge that should the teacher be in possession of. Through this, the teacher is able to show knowledge about the student learning styles and the pedagogical practices required in the classroom (Johnson, Reed, 2008).
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As it pertains to teaching beliefs, one discipline in the philosophy of education where beliefs have been developed is mathematics. The beliefs relate to mathematics as a discipline and how mathematics is taught and studied. Such beliefs can be formed early in the form of the experience the teacher received when he/she was a student and the resultant teachers’ influence when undergoing schooling. There are three categories of philosophies in relation to views leveled on mathematics. First is the instrumentalist view that analyses mathematics as a collection of skills, facts and rules. Second involves the work of great philosopher Plato in that the discipline is not created but rather discovered. In this Platonist view, mathematics is static and a presentation of other forms of knowledge in a unified manner.
Thirdly, mathematics as a discipline is viewed as dynamic in that the process of development which is continuous is hugely dependent on human creation. Through this view, because mathematics is a continuous process of exploration, the discipline will not come to an end at any one point in time. Teaching beliefs about mathematics are amongst teacher trainees are often as a result of many factors such as educational background, biological factors and altitude. Such beliefs by teacher trainees on mathematics will affect the learning and teaching in schools. In schools, teachers bring about different experiences dependent on their beliefs that can hugely result to different learning styles, strategies and patterns. This further is compounded by the fact that such teachers will interpret their experiences individually and brings to numerous prejudices and mathematical assumptions into classrooms. The study on beliefs in educational research is very important although one is unable to measure or observe beliefs directly (Wastras, 2010).
The current philosophy of education involves assuring students of an education system that offers content knowledge. Therefore, the role of the teacher is vey crucial in delivering the mastery of this content knowledge to students in the classrooms. This incorporates teaching practices, strategies, manners and beliefs that are geared towards the achievement of content knowledge that is indeed beneficial to the students. For example, for students to be able to function as competent matures and make informed choices, they must initially be able to solve basic mathematics. The basic analytical and mathematical skills will enable students understand the consequences and benefits that may follow their choices. Further, such skills will help students when making decisions about savings and budgeting.