Educators have one of the most important jobs in the world; they shape the minds of the future. They are responsible for making sure students are developing into well-rounded individuals, providing them with the tools to succeed. Everyone has different reasons for choosing a career in education, but once the decision is made, each person develops ideas and beliefs to guide them along through the years. Individuals are able to create their own teaching philosophy, ideologies, and theories based on their educational views and experiences. G. L Gutek (2009) defines philosophy as “the most general way of reflecting on the meaning of our lives in the world and reflecting deeply on what is true or false, good or evil, right or wrong, and beautiful or ugly” (p. 1). An educator’s philosophy is formed through their personal beliefs about teaching. Throughout their experiences teachers have learned different theories and experienced different situations, all which helped them come to the conclusion of how they will operate their classroom. These factors are influenced by the categories of philosophy: metaphysics, epistemology, axiology, and logic.
These subdivisions help educators create the blueprint for the way their classroom is organized, and what strategies they use to present information to students. Metaphysics is defined as “the study of the nature of ultimate reality, involves speculation about the nature of existence” ( Gutek, G. L. , 2009, p. 3). The best way to understand metaphysics is to ask two questions. What is there? What is it like? Metaphysics can help mold a philosophy. For example, the type of curriculum that is used can majorly influence the metaphysics in a classroom.
Another category of philosophy is epistemology. Epistemology is “the theory of knowing and knowledge” (Gutek, G. L. , 2009, p. 4). It also asks two questions. How is knowledge acquired? How do we know what we know? Epistemology mostly has to do with what a person believes and why they believe it. Once these questions are answered, a teacher can determine their point of views and theories about the various teaching and learning methods. Axiology is a category of philosophy that does not incorporate questions in the definition.
It is broken up into two subdivisions, ethics and aesthetics. Ethics deal with moral values and conduct, while aesthetics has to do with values in the areas of beauty and art. As an educator it is important to instill morals and values in our students. These qualities help a student become a functional part of society. “Logic is the subdivision of philosophy that deals with correct thinking (Gutek, G. L. , 2009, p. 5). Logic is involved in our daily decision making. Without logic, it would be impossible to organize curriculum, prepare lessons, and help students with day-to-day issues.
By utilizing the four categories of philosophy, an educator can make their learning environment a very positive place for children. In order to develop their philosophy, a teacher must be influenced by various ideologies. Gutek (2009) states that ideologies are “potent forces for shaping and expressing social, political, economic, and educational ideas” (p. 161). A teacher’s ideology can shape their educational philosophy. Ideology is sometimes linked to the terms Conservatism or Liberalism. Both ideologies are an example of a belief system, mostly by a group of people, which helps them identify themselves.
Personal beliefs influence the choices that an educator makes in their classroom. According to Gutek (2009), ideology directly impacts education in the following ways: 1. It works to shape educational policies, expectations, outcomes, and goals. 2. Through the school milieu or environment, it conveys and reinforces attitudes and values. 3. It emphasizes selected and approved skills and knowledge through the curriculum, which is the formal and explicit program of the school (p. 184). Essentially, ideologies serve as the system of beliefs that guide teachers in their educational journey.
They are often influenced by events that have happened in the past either personally, or historically. In order for a teacher to stay true their ideologies, they must implement them in their classroom, in which their education theories will be either proved right or wrong. “A theory represents a cluster of ideas that we can generalize about and apply to other situations” (Gutek, G. L. , 2009, p. 296). In order to determine teaching philosophies and ideologies an educator must theorize, or form generalizations about various situations.
Theories can make or break an educator’s belief in their teaching philosophy. Once an observation is made, it is up to the teacher to decide if that situation or action influenced their beliefs enough to change their point of view. If changes in beliefs are made, an educator must re-evaluate their whole teaching philosophy. This process could take place numerous times throughout an educator’s career. Although the constant re-examination of teaching philosophies may seem to be a tedious procedure, it will only help an educator become the best teacher that they can be.
Philosophy, ideology, and theory may have different definitions, but they all play key roles in determining the way an educator thinks and feels. A teacher can utilize their ideologies and theories to create their own teaching philosophy. It is important to realize that philosophies can be influenced by various situations and changing of personal beliefs. Being open to making changes to philosophies can make a huge difference in the way an educator operates their classroom.
Once a philosophy is implemented, it will serve as an excellent guide to making a child’s educational experience a positive one. Teacher’s Code of Ethics “Ethics codes are designed to protect the public by prescribing behaviors professionals are expected to exhibit” (Leach, M. M. & Oakland, T. , 2007, p. 71). It is important that teachers have a code of ethics to help guide them in their educating of children. Ethic codes normally follow two patterns: they either tell a professional what is expected of them, or they provide a specific list of negative behaviors in which serve as a “do not” list.
Essentially, ethic codes give teacher’s an outline for accountability and responsibility needed to establish positive relationships with students, parents, colleagues, and the community. I believe that ethic codes can benefit an educator by presenting a guideline of responsibilities and behaviors that can shape their teaching philosophy. Some important items that should be in an educational code of ethics are: • The educator’s most important daily task is the well-being of a student. They must protect the student from harmful situations that may impact their ealth and safety. • The educator will treat each child as an individual. They must realize that all students come from various backgrounds, economic statuses, and due to these factors, each child deserves a personalized education. • The educator will work closely with parents and guardians to promote the welfare of a student. It is important that parents/guardians are involved in as many aspects of their child’s education as possible. • The educator will develop a positive relationship with their students in order to gain their trust and respect.
They should make every effort to promote positive interactions, which can help guide them in their educational journey. • The educator will gain respect from their supervisors and colleagues. By doing so, it creates a more positive environment for their students. • The educator will be responsible for their own professional growth. It is important to gain new strategies is presenting materials to their students. • An educator will not expose their students to harassment or embarrassment. An educator will make every attempt possible to present a lesson in a way that will consider a student’s method of learning. • An educator will not discriminate against a student due to sex, race, or religious beliefs. • An educator will not disclose any personal information about their students and student’s parents. This includes health issues, disabilities, and family situations. Although there is no straight forward plan for teacher, it should be virtually impossible for a student to not succeed in an educational setting if these codes are taken into consideration. Teachers need to establish and enforce acceptable ethical standards in order to be self-regulating and accountable as professionals. Teachers also need ethical standards that can act as a guide and resource to help them cope with the ethical complexities and dilemmas inherent in the practice of teaching” (Cambell, E. , 2000, p. 218). The items that I have presented can assist an educator with the creation of their teaching philosophy. Although they seem like simple tasks, they are the most important components for the success of an educator.