The Significance of Educational Philosophy for Teachers

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 2280 |

Pages: 4|

12 min read

Published: Oct 2, 2018

Words: 2280|Pages: 4|12 min read

Published: Oct 2, 2018

Table of contents

  1. Perenneliasm
  2. Essensialiasm
  3. Progressivism
  4. Reconstructivism
  5. Existentialism

Teachers reflect on the year and often redesign and perfect their teaching strategies and plans. In essence, they get back to the basics of what they believe is the best way to inspire learning in their students. In other words, they revisit and refine their philosophy of education. A school district might ask a teacher or principal applying for a job about her or his philosophy of education.

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First is students’ need to learn. Students want and need to learn as much as they need food, clothing, and shelter. An educator's primary job is to fill that primal need for learning by creating engaging and relevant learning experiences every day. The greatest gift a teacher can give students is motivating them to experience repeated learning success.

Second is student need to be active participants in learning. Students learn best by doing, and active teaching encourages active learning.

Teachers should treat students as active participants in the learning process, providing them with skills, such as:

- How to study

- How to take notes How to memorize

- How to express themselves effectively These skills will help them be part of a high-performance learning team.

Also, students need to be encouraged to explore and research information beyond the confines of the classroom and textbook.

Third is learning is a physiological activity involving the whole body. The best way to engage a student is to have a solid classroom management plan and a well-planned lesson that is grounded in relevant, purposeful activities designed to enhance that student's knowledge and skills and leave her or him wanting to learn more. Teachers should be strongly aligned with student-centred and student-directed learning that embraces exploration, discovery, experiential learning, and the production of academically rigorous products.

Fourth is students need timely feedback to improve. Teachers gather data on student performance to adjust the learning environment and instruction so that they can target students' learning needs. Teachers administer pre-tests to find a starting point for learning and post-tests to determine the students' increase in performance level as well as the teachers' effectiveness.

Fifth is student needs structure and repetition to learn. A teacher should be able to organize a standards-based lesson sequence, successfully implement the plan, and then evaluate student learning. A teacher should be able to create an exciting learning environment that makes it difficult for students to not learn. A teacher should know how to include all students in learning at their own level, and a teacher should be able to inspire the students to push themselves to the next level.

Sixth is student needs information, knowledge, and skills. Having access to knowledge resources is as important to a child's education as the actual curriculum content. Relevant and current information must be at the teachers' and students' fingertips to provide answers when the questions are still fresh. Information "on demand" is more valuable than information "just in case."

Seventh is students needs tools and resources to learn. Students should know how their taxon and locale memory systems work. Students should have skills and strategies to be able to work effectively in the different levels of the cognitive domain as defined by Benjamin Bloom. Students should be aware of their own learning preferences, and teachers should assist with creating a plan to develop other learning skills. Educational tools are a means to an end. For example, technology used appropriately can greatly magnify the students' capacity to learn and the teachers' capacity to teach, inspire, and motivate.


Perennialism is the educational philosophy that the importance of certain works transcends time. Perennial works are those considered as important and applicable today as they were when they were written, and are often referred to as great books. Perennialism philosophy of education is a very conservative and inflexible philosophy of education. Students are taught to reason through structured lessons and drills. Even the national standards that are coming into place emphasize the ideas of Perennialism. As now days we are stressing reading, writing and arithmetic in education but the decline of the music and art. Teaching the students for job and the knowledge is what we need today so Perennialism philosophy of education is what helps in educators is to equip them with “universal knowledge.

The goal of a perennialist education is to teach students to think rationally and develop minds that can think critically. A perennialist classroom aims to be a closely organized and well-disciplined environment, which develops in students a lifelong quest for the truth. Perennialists believe that education should epitomize a prepared effort to make these ideas available to students and to guide their thought processes toward the understanding and appreciation of the great works, works of literature written by history’s finest thinkers that transcend time and never become outdated. Perennialists are primarily concerned with the importance of mastery of the content and development of reasoning skills.

The old adage “the more things change, the more they stay the same” summarizes the perennialists’ perspective on education. Skills are still developed in a sequential manner. For example, reading, writing, speaking, and listening are emphasized in the early grades to prepare students in later grades to study literature, history, and philosophy.


Essentialists believe that there is a common core of knowledge that needs to be transmitted to students in a systematic, disciplined way.

First is core of the curriculum. It is essential knowledge and skills and academic rigor. In an essentialist classroom, the teacher must be highly knowledgeable in the academic content. In the elementary grades, the content areas are primarily math, writing and reading. In secondary education, literature, natural science, math, language and history make up the core curriculum. The arts and social sciences or "soft sciences" are not considered important in an essentialist education, except as a means for transmitting American cultural values. Student interests are not considered in an essentialist classroom. Bagley believed that young people often develop interests in subjects they did not like at first. He felt it was the duty of teachers to expose students to important subjects, and students’ interests would eventually follow.

Second is morality in the classroom. Teachers in an essentialist classroom must be role models for moral behaviour. The goal of essentialism is to produce academically educated students who are well-versed in American culture and morality. This includes such traditional values as perseverance, respect for authority, pragmatism and consideration for others. Teachers are expected to embody these traditional virtues outside the classroom, as well as inside.

Third is Essentialist Discipline. Adults are also responsible for imposing discipline in an essentialist classroom. Teachers must guide students by using strict, external discipline with fair and consistent consequences. Self-discipline, according to essentialist philosophy, will eventually develop from this outwardly imposed discipline. It is the obligation of teachers and school administrators to promote student self-discipline through daily guidance.

Fourth is student’s outcome. Essentialism is based firmly on a pass or fail system of education. Students must master grade or course content before being promoted to the next level. Essentialist educators place emphasis on standardized test scores as a means of determining mastery. Bagley himself was a proponent of failing students when they could not meet the accepted grade or test score standards. He felt that democracy required all students to meet the same level of achievement. In an essentialist classroom, students of various ages and abilities would be taught the same curriculum. Students who have disabilities or limited English proficiency are taught with the same techniques and materials. Essentialists believe it is unfair to give students a different or less rigorous education based on their special circumstances.


Progressivism is a student centered philosophy that believes that ideas should be tested by experimentation, and learning comes from finding answers from questions. This philosophy values the scientific method of teaching, allows individuals to have their own beliefs, and promotes the interaction of students as valuable to the learning process. Progressivists believe that education should focus on the whole child, rather than on the content or the teacher. This educational philosophy stresses that students should test ideas by active experimentation. Learning is rooted in the questions of learners that arise through experiencing the world. It is active, not passive. The learner is a problem solver and thinker who make meaning through his or her individual experience in the physical and cultural context. Effective teachers provide experiences so that students can learn by doing.

Curriculum content is derived from student interests and questions. The scientific method is used by progressivist educators so that students can study matter and events systematically and first hand. The emphasis is on process-how one comes to know. Progressivism is based on the positive changes and problem-solving approach that individuals with various educational credentials can provide their students. Progressivist educators are outcome focused and don’t simply impart learned facts. Teachers are less concerned with passing on the existing culture and strive to allow students to develop an individual approach to tasks provided to them. The progressivist classroom is about exploration and experience. Teachers act as facilitators in a classroom where students explore physical, mental, moral, and social growth. Common sights in a progressivist classroom might include: small groups debating, custom-made activities, and learning stations. Teachers typically walk freely among the groups, guiding them using suggestions and thought-provoking questions.


Reconstructionism is another student centered philosophy that promotes world social progress, focuses on world events, controversial issues, and developing a vision for a new better world. This philosophy is associated with pragmatism and essentialism. Reconstructionism is an educational philosophy that views schools as tools to solve social problems. Reconstructionists reason that, because all leaders are the product of schools, schools should provide a curriculum that fosters their development. Reconstructionists not only aim to educate a generation of problem solvers, but also try to identify and correct many noteworthy social problems that face our nation, with diverse targets including racism, pollution, homelessness, poverty, and violence. Rather than a philosophy of education, reconstructionism may be referred to as more of a remedy for society that seeks to build a more objective social order.

The reconstructionist classroom contains a teacher who involves the students in discussions of moral dilemmas to understand the implications of one’s actions. Students individually select their objectives and social priorities and then, with guidance from the teacher, create a plan of action to make the change happen. For example, a class may read an article on texting while driving and watch a documentary on the need for awareness in school systems. In addition, a police officer or a loved one of someone who has been affected by texting while driving may speak to the class and describe dangerous and/or fatal events that have resulted from choosing to text while driving. If the article, the movie, and the speaker inspire them, the students may take on a long-term awareness project. One group may choose to analyze the regional news coverage on texting while driving, while another may choose to conduct a survey, analyzing student viewpoints on the subject. Either or both groups may schedule meetings with political leaders and create programs or legislation. Alternatively, they might create a web page and present it to the media. All the while, the teacher advises on research techniques, writing skills, and public communication methods, building core skills that will be applicable across a broad range of topics.


This philosophy states that teachers are there to teach but students must be willing to learn before teacher can teach them. It is each individual’s responsibility to study and learn. Ethical values are not only important in life, but in education. Students should take responsibility for their education. A teacher should learn what each child’s needs are and where the child is academically. The teacher does have a set curriculum to teach each year but that should be modelled to fit each individual students needs or at least come close. It is extremely important that schools get back to the three R’s of education. Children need to be taught how to succeed in life no matter what career they choose and schools need to prepare them for that life. Existentialism promotes attentive personal consideration about personal character, beliefs, and choices. The primary question existentialists ask is whether they want to define who they are themselves, or whether they want society to define them.

Although freedom and individuality are highly valued American principles, existentialists argue that there is an underlying message of conformity. Rather than the belief that the mind needs to understand the universe, existentialists assume that the mind creates its universe. Their beliefs incorporate the inevitability of death, as the afterlife cannot be experienced personally with the current senses, focusing on the fact that the experience we have of the world is temporary and should be appreciated as such.

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Education from an existentialist perspective places the primary emphasis on students’ directing their own learning. Students search for their own meaning and direction in life as well as define what is true and what is false, what is pleasant and satisfying, what is unpleasant and dissatisfying, and what is right or wrong. The goal of an existentialist education is to train students to develop their own unique understanding of life. An existentialist classroom typically involves the teachers and school laying out what they feel is important and allowing the students to choose what they study. All students work on different, self-selected assignments at their own pace. Teachers act as facilitators, directing students in finding the most appropriate methods of study or materials, and are often seen as an additional resource, alongside books, computers, television, newspapers, and other materials that are readily available to students.

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The Significance of Educational Philosophy for Teachers. (2018, September 27). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 20, 2024, from
“The Significance of Educational Philosophy for Teachers.” GradesFixer, 27 Sept. 2018,
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