“They don’t care how much we know, until they know how much we care. ” My educational philosophy starts and ends with that inspirational quote and the following characteristics that I feel are essential for teachers. Teachers must show respect, value individuality, understand students learning styles and barriers ,extend themselves to find ways to engage students in learning and go the extra mile to let students know they want to join with them as partners in their own education.
Effective teachers maintain and continually develop these personal characteristics in efforts to help their students connect with them, other students and whatever is being taught. In the following paper I will make references to such great educational theorists as John Dewey, Mortimer Adler and E. D. Hirsch. Although I feel that in some way all educators are influenced by these theorists, our philosophies and management styles should be our own.
Theodore Roosevelt once said “They don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. ” I believe in my heart when he made that comment he was talking about the relationships between teachers and students. Years from now when I am starting my own charter school that quote will be on the front of the building, on every wall in every classroom, on the top of every letterhead that we use for school, in the locker rooms, on the gym scoreboard…. everywhere. That is my educational philosophy.
It is building relationships with students that go way beyond math, science, English or whatever the subject is, it’s relationships that go deeper and way beyond the gym, the cafeteria, the principal’s office or the playground, it’s building a relationship with your students based on trust, it’s them trusting that you will do whatever is necessary for them to succeed and you trusting in their abilities. I’ll say it again “They don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. Just take a second right now before you move on and think about the relationships in your life that are based on trust and think about how solid those relationships are and what each person in that relationship is willing to do for each other. Now picture having that dynamic in the classroom…the possibilities are endless. “They don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. ” I believe that the “core knowledge” that E. D. Hirsch’s essentialism displays is extremely important. Coppola (2008) explains that a grade by grade core of common learning is necessary to ensure a sound and fair elementary education.
I agree with that statement. There are basics that every child growing up needs to know. Coppola (2008) also explains that a shared core curriculum will establish strong foundations of knowledge if started during early schooling. I also agree with that statement as well. To me what is most important is how you are delivering that “core knowledge” to your students. Are you taking the time to get to know your students on a personal level? What kind of atmosphere are you providing in your classroom? Are you showing interests in your student’s life so they know they are more than just student ID numbers and test scores?
These questions need to be answered as well. “They don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. ” Is it sinking in yet? Think about the relationship you have with your best friend or your significant other. Now think about when you first realized that that person actually cared about you. If we can show students that we care about them, think about their efforts in the classroom and how they would change. As we move on into Perennialism and Mortimer Adler we start to break away from “core knowledge” and move into more philosophy based thinking.
We start to think about principles of living, and going over the classics like Plato, Socrates and Aristotle. Farrand (200) talks about how organized knowledge, intellectual skills and understanding of ideas and values become more prominent. I think as educators we need to acknowledge some of these great “thinker” and some of the philosophies that they had. I also feel that as time moves on those ideas become more and more dated. Farrand (2000) says that factual knowledge is to be delivered by lectures and ideas and values are to be delivered through the Socratic Method discussion only is a bit extreme to me.
In the age of convergence that we are in right now lectures are becoming more technology driven. It is our job as educators to change with the times and I feel like this philosophy does not allow for that. There is more to this world then Western philosophy, politics and religion. “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. ” There is no better feeling then walking down the hallway and having students run up to you and slap you five and ask you about your day and telling you how excited they are to be in your class because they know you are just as excited to be there.
Those are the relationships we need to have with our students. We need to break that wall down and make communication a two way street. It is not about us, it is about them. When reading about John Dewey and progressivism we start to move over to student centered philosophy. I believe that schools should be “child centered” (within reason) and I do agree with what Neil (2005) says with regards to curriculum and instruction needing to be tailored to facilitate the development of the individual (within reason). I think that there needs to be a balance of what Coppola (2008) says about basic “core knowledge” like E. D. Hirsch encourages with some individually tailored curriculum. What I really like about John Dewey’s pragmatic way of thinking is he is the first of the five philosophies to pay more attention to the student and their personal needs and wants.
Every student is different and what works for some does not work for all. That being said we still have a responsibility to educate students and give them a solid foundation of knowledge in all basic areas so that they can grow up and make their own decision about which direction they want to go. “They don’t care how much we know, until they know how much we care. My educational philosophy starts and ends with that inspirational quote and the following characteristics that I feel are essential for teachers. Teachers must show respect, value individuality, understand students learning styles and barriers ,extend themselves to find ways to engage students in learning and go the extra mile to let students know they want to join with them as partners in their own education. Effective teachers maintain and continually develop these personal characteristics in efforts to help their students connect with them, other students and whatever is being taught.
Coppola, J. (2008, January 4). The Educational Theory of E.D. Hirsch. Retrieved from http://www.newfoundations.com/GALLERY/Hirsch.html Farrand, M. (2000, July 7). Mortimer Adler. Retrieved from http://www2.selu.edu/Academics/Faculty/nadams/educ692/Adler.html Neil, J. (2005, January 26). John Dewey: Philosopher of Education. Retrieved from http://www.wilderdom.com/experiential/JohnDeweyPhilosophyEducation.html