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Our educational philosophy underpins everything that we do as
instructors in the teaching-learning transaction. Our philosophy is based on our
assumptions about our definition of learning and our views on the nature of
mankind, the purpose of education, the nature of the curriculum, the role of the teacher
and the learner, and the nature of the instructional process.
There is no right or wrong philosophy. Each philosophy simply represents
a different belief system about the nature of the learning process. In Western thought,
there are five major philosophies that have endured over time. They are Idealism, Realism,
Pragmatism, Existentialism or Humanism, and Reconstructionism.
The starting point for being a professional in education is to
understand why you think and act the way you do in the classroom. While a philosophy
indicates what you believe about the teaching-learning transaction, not all of the tenants
of each philosophy are congruent with adult learning principles. Therefore, your task as a
professional is to identify your philosophy and then critically reflect on how to make
your classroom actions consistent with established principles related to adult learning.
The following instrument can help you identify your overall educational philosophy in less
than two minutes.