Why We, As Teachers, Are Here
When considering the values that a teacher brings into the classroom they will align their philosophies with the progressive ideals voiced by John Dewey or the necessity of a set core of knowledge to compose a cultural literacy necessary to be a functional member of society as proposed by E.D. Hirsh in Cultural Literacy and the Schools. I personally align myself with the ideals and values expressed by Dewey in his essay My Pedagogic Creed. Through the essay Dewey constructs a picture of education and schooling as an extension of students development, not preparing pupils for a test on a set of standards but rather a building of knowledge that would ideally foster student’s growth as a person. In turn the child would undoubtedly be nurtured into a social being that is fully capable of grasping and mastering the world around them. Specifically the values that claim; “all education proceeds by the participation of the individual in the social consciousness of the race” and “education is a process of living and not a preparation for future living”. These statements allow for an understanding of education to be a process in which the pupil is the catalyst for the majority of their learning and one that involves a community which recognizes its children to be active participants in an educational process that can not end in the classroom.
When one takes into account that progressive philosophy not only proposes an education that fully allows students to grasp the knowledge of the world around them but also intensely focuses on learning taking place within the entire community, it becomes clear the progressive philosophy best serves the students and the surrounding community therefore truly represents what public education should strive to attain. A progressive form of education produces a clear theory for the purpose of education. Dewey proposes education as a means for complete social growth, not solely the advancement of the individual. In students serving as the catalyst for their education, while it remains rooted in social experience and knowledge based on their interest, public education becomes the most vital public service one receives in their life.
Within the community teachers have the most experience with children, making their role critical in the development of each pupil. Through the teacher recognizing and adapting to the needs and interest of all students while providing them all with access to the same core knowledge and assimilating lessons to their interest, the student recognizes themselves as an important individual who independently is capable of achieving in subject areas relevant to their growth as a member of the community. Teachers within the classroom serve as a guide for students fostering and encouraging growth in their knowledge and as members of the community. Through creating a strong community environment within the classroom the teacher can then expose children to the possibilities of learning outside of the classroom.
A vital portion of an education that views students as the catalyst for the learning is the surrounding community. An education that revolves around the interest and completely engages a student ensures that the education can not be confined to the classroom and back-to-basics curriculum. Hence the surrounding community, beginning with the school and filtering out into society, also becomes the source for their education. An educational process that encourages students to experience their learning outside of the classroom provides the community with enormous opportunity to influence and direct the minds that will soon become a part of their society. Essentially public schooling serves as a root for strong community building through involving the entire community in the process through whatever means they can help students comprehend subjects and topics that interest them. As the community serves as a critical portion of the educational process, a focus on relationships throughout the school and involving everyone in the surrounding district is critical in providing an education that appropriately allows for the educational process to develop pupils into complete persons through life experience.
As community involvement is crucial to a proper progressive education, teachers and educators have tremendous responsibilities to the public. Despite the obvious responsibilities that come with being an adult trusted with the care and education of children, teachers are faced with a tremendous duty of ensuring that the a variety of faculty within the school and members within the community become involved with the learning of students. Personnel within schools are all responsible for the safety, education, and, most importantly, community building that occurs within a school and the surrounding district. Teachers carry the burden of understanding the role that each member of a society can play in the learning of their pupils, encouraging appropriate interest to be investigated outside of the classroom by pupils with the members of the community that share the same values and desire for students to learn and grow into competent members of their society. Teachers have to recognize while most members of society would all work together toward the full education through life experience and interest of their students, the community of the school must be respected as the primary place for the beginning of learning which will undoubtedly flow into the community under the supervision of the entire staff of the school and with the support of all parents and the principal.
My Pedagogic Creed, John Dewy
My Pedagogic Creed, John Dewy