Personal Philosophy of Education INSTRUCTIONS This paper is to be 5 pages long from the introductory paragraph to the conclusion, which does not count the title page, abstract, or reference pages. This paper is a statement of your personal philosophy of education, which must focus on the purpose of education, which is why education is carried out and not so much how it is carried out. Your purpose of education is to emphasize the long-range impact you believe education should have on individuals and on society—the outcome of education. As you convey your philosophy, you are to focus on its outcome rather than on the methods, practices, instruction, or classroom activities. Those are tools of carrying out your philosophy; therefore, a simple discussion of teaching strategies does not make up your philosophy of education. As an academic paper, it is to be supported by the body of knowledge in the field, which is to include references to the literature from educational philosophy, psychology, curriculum, and learning theory. Treat this as a position statement, a persuasive paper. Make declarative statements of “ought” and “should.” Follow the length requirement outlined in the syllabus, use current APA format, and include a minimum of 4 references. HEADINGS: See the rubric at the bottom of this document; it will be used for assessing the paper. To ensure the paper meets the requirements of the rubric, you are to include the elements listed below. Note the required headings that are to be placed in the same order in your paper as they appear in the outline below. 1. Title Page a. Title: Consider the title of your paper to be your motto, slogan, or bumper-sticker version of your philosophy. It must be clear enough to give the reader some idea of what you believe about the purpose of education. Avoid statements that sound vague or flippant or that focus on the process of education. Consider adding a subtitle. Subtitles can bring clarity to the main title. b. Other Information on Title Page • Student Name • Student ID# • Course# and Section • Professor’s Name 2. Abstract • Place the abstract after the title page and before the introduction to the paper. • The abstract must be what you would write on an employment application or what you would say verbally in an interview if asked directly about your philosophy of education. • Abstract’s First Sentence: Write your thesis statement first. It must state what you believe is the long-range impact education should have on students and society. • Abstract Paragraph: Subsequent sentences must practically explain what you will do in your instructional practice to carry out the philosophy you stated in the first sentence. 3. Introduction (Do not use a heading for this section.) • The purpose of the introductory paragraph is different from the abstract. Do not simply copy the abstract. • In this section, introduce your thesis statement that will be developed throughout the paper. • It is best to place the thesis statement at the end of the introduction. This serves as a transition into the rest of the paper. o Thesis Statement: The thesis statement and introduction to it must focus on the purpose, outcomes, goals, and impact of education. It must not address how important it is to have a philosophy of education and must not focus on the process of instruction. Focus on the “why” instead of the “how.” 4. Philosophy of Schools & Learning (first heading) • This section must focus on the “why” of education—the long-range impact you believe schools and learning should have on individuals and on society. Save the “how” of education for the next section. • This is the core part of the paper where you expound more specifically on your thesis statement. • State what you believe. Do not feel obligated to embrace a particularly established philosophy. However, you are to situate your beliefs among others by citing ideas that illustrate yours or are in opposition to yours. • Refer to the knowledge base in teacher education that includes educational psychology, philosophy, and learning theory. Do not try to cover everything; just identify one or two key theories that might illustrate your own beliefs about the purpose of schools and learning. • Be cautious about assigning to yourself a label that you do not fully understand. If you do not understand all that the label entails, you could unknowingly convey inconsistent ideas throughout your paper. 5. Instructional Practice (second heading) • This section must flow smoothly from the previous one. • Discuss how learners come to know truth. What causes learning to occur? (Epistemology) • Address what you will implement in the classroom, which is the “how” part of education. • What pedagogical practices, instructional strategies, or methods will you tend to use most frequently? Why? • What do you hope to accomplish by using these strategies? • Now would be a good time to go back to the introduction and ask yourself, “Did I address instructional practice in the introduction instead of the purpose/impact of education?” If you did, revise the introduction so that it addresses the purpose of education. Come back to this section to focus on the process of instruction. 6. Teacher-Learner Relationships (third heading) (Remember that the questions listed in this guide are only to stimulate thought. You are not required to answer them systematically. Doing so might make your paper too rigid.) • What is the role of the learner? • What is the role of the teacher? • How should they relate to each other and why? 7. Diversity (fourth heading) • What diversity factors need to be taken into account by the teacher? • How do factors of student diversity impact instruction? 8. Your Choice of Headings (optional) • You may insert optional headings here to address issues that are important to your philosophy of education. • Here are some ideas you might want to consider: o My calling o Classroom management philosophy o Content/subject-area philosophy o Assessment philosophy o Parent role and relationship with teacher o Current critical issues in education 9. Conclusion (final required heading) • Your conclusion must tie in with the introduction somehow so that your paper displays coherence. • If your introduction included a metaphor, quote, theme, etc., it would be appropriate to tie back into that. • Both the introduction and conclusion must focus on the thesis of the paper, which is to address the purpose/outcome/impact of education (not the process of instruction). FAQ Q: I would like to use a paper or parts of a paper I wrote for another class. Is this okay? A: Yes, as long as you do the following: • Get the permission of this course instructor. • Ensure that your paper meets the rubric for this course. • Cite yourself as current APA format requires. • Insert a statement in noticeable font on the title page such as this: “Portions of this paper were drawn from a previous work submitted in EDUC ****.” MISCELLANEOUS TIPS • State where you agree or disagree with some of the leading theories and theorists. • Because this paper is made up of your personal views, it will be graded on how well you followed the rubric, supported your ideas, and presented them in a clear, consistent manner. You may disagree with the instructor without any penalty. • Avoid dwelling too much on biographical or testimonial information. How you came to believe what you do is not as important as what you believe and your rationale for it. REFERENCES You must use your textbook in your reference list. Incorporate into the paper some key ideas from the textbook to support or illustrate your philosophy of education or to cite ideas that are in opposition to what you believe. You may use a variety of other sources, such as… • Your methods and psychology textbooks • The Bible (Current APA format permits you to cite the Bible in the body of the paper, but it is not to be listed on the reference page. So ensure that you have the correct number of sources listed on the reference page, which cannot include the Bible.) • Educational journals • Books you have read that have influenced your philosophy of education. • Do not use Wikipedia as a source in an academic paper. Because it is an open environment, the information is constantly being changed by registered users and is not always reliable. • Include at least 4 references (You may use the Bible in the body of your paper as long as you cite it according to current APA format, but it cannot be listed on the reference page.) • A variety of resources must be represented: books, journals, online, Christian, secular, etc. POINT OF VIEW Because this is a Personal Philosophy of Education paper, you may use first person pronouns such as “I” and “me,” but do not overuse them. For example, try not to overuse “I believe…” or “I think…” This is a position paper; therefore, it is assumed that the entire contents contain your beliefs and thoughts. Do not use “I feel…” PRONOUN USAGE Two problems students frequently have in their writing tend to be (1) pronoun-antecedent agreement and (2) the gender issue of “he or she.” Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement: Pronouns must agree in number with their antecedents. It is incorrect to write, “Each teacher [singular] should manage their [plural] own classroom.” Gender Issue: It is considered sexist if you repeatedly use singular antecedents and follow them up with masculine pronouns. For example, “Each teacher should manage his own classroom.” It is also problematic if you redundantly use “he or she” and “his or her.” (Please don’t use “he/she” or “his/her.”) Some writers solve this by stating to the reader that, for simplicity’s sake, the pronouns will be masculine or will rotate periodically between masculine and feminine. This can be awkward and cumbersome. But there is a better solution! To assist in avoiding both of these problems, it is recommended that you write in plurals as consistently as you can. For instance, use students, principals, teachers, parents, schools, etc., instead of their singular counterparts. Follow these antecedents up with “they” or “their.” This avoids the gender issue altogether. When you find that you must use a singular, you may periodically use “he or she” or simply restructure the sentence to avoid the “he or she” if possible. Rare use of it is fine.