Writing your personal educational philosophy statement is a part of every job application you complete when you begin applying for teaching positions. It will be scrutinized carefully by the search committee before you’re even considered for a personal interview.  It should be no longer than one page in length (or no one on the search committee will bother to read it).  

Understanding your own philosophy of education will help you focus on why you make the decisions which you make in everything you do from arranging your classroom to planning and implementing lessons, and assessing your students’ progress.

Now that you have been studying the foundations of education and have real world practicum experience behind you, your assignment is to write your own personal philosophy of education.

Note: This is something you will revise over the years. With further education and experience your philosophy will evolve.  Keep this.  After you’ve been teaching a while, it’s fun to look back and see you you’ve changed.

Your philosophy is not a research paper or a theoretical essay on education, but rather a statement of personal beliefs which should show an influence of college work and readings. Consequently, name specific educational philosophies you agree or disagree with and explain the extent to which you agree or disagree and when appropriate, “drop names” in your philosophy. For example, “As Erikson, I believe that children go through a series of mini-crisis as they mature and it will be part of my task is to assist young people in making these transitions.” Or, “As a social reconstructionist, it will be my task to teach students to be proactive in their community and provide avenues through which they can influence change.”  Your paper should be seasoned with sprinkling of professional educational jargon.

Your philosophy (or statement of personal beliefs) is an action plan for you and how your classroom will operate.  It will be used by administrators and search committees to judge whether the applicant is the “kind of person that I would want in my school or teaching our children.”   

The following are some of the things that you should address in your philosophy:

Why do you want to teach?

  • What is the purpose of education?
  • What is your role as an educator?
  • What will be your relationship with the community, parents, teaching colleagues, administration?

Whom are you going to teach?

  • How will you reach the wide diversity of children that you will have in your classroom: cultural, religious, etc. and special education.
  • How will you bring global awareness into your classroom?

How are you going to teach?

  • Consider the learning environment and classroom management.
  • Consider assessment.
  • What instructional strategies will you employ? (Think Marzano!) Will you and how will you use technology?

Hints for a Good Philosophy Paper:

  • Your philosophy should be POSITIVE – I know there are problems in education, I do not want to read about those in your own philosophy – rather I want to read how you will make a difference!
  • Avoid using the same phrase over and over in your philosophy. For example, avoid using the word “teacher” several times in the same paragraph or near each other – use a thesaurus.
  • When you use “educational jargon”, explain how you are going to impact the student. For example:
    • Rhetorical: “I strongly believe in inclusion.”  This sentence is useless.  It only shows you know the jargon – inclusion – it doesn’t show you understand what that means.
    • Better: “I believe that inclusion is a key ingredient in the makeup of the classroom and I will support inclusion through practices such as using alternative assessments and preparing lessons which appeal to children of multiple intelligences.”
  • You want to keep this to one page. Space is limited so you must avoid useless rhetorical speech.  It is meaningless without examples of how you will put that into action.

Rhetorical:  I feel all children should be given opportunities to succeed regardless of their ability level or possible learning disabilities.

Better:  I will create opportunities for all children to succeed by differentiating my instruction to meet the individual needs of each student.

Rhetorical:  I believe global awareness and appreciating other cultures is important so I will incorporate that into my class.

Better:  I believe global awareness and understanding other cultures is important so as much as possible and in keeping with the standards of learning I will incorporate the celebration of cultural holidays and events, the study of current events and virtual field trips as components within my lessons.

Rhetorical:  The use of technology is important since technology is so much a part of our society.

Better:  Technology is an effective tool that I will incorporate to simply my life as a teacher in such mundane tasks as lunch counts, attendance, and record keeping.  For students, simple computer games can be helpful in learning basic math facts, but learning to use technology to access scholarly resources is even better to research topics within the standards.

  • Appropriate grammar is mandatory; among other things, be careful with the following:
  • Watch agreement – for example, “The student should do all of their work.”  (Student is singular.  There is plural.)
  • Be sure to write using COMPLETE sentences.
  • Use only one idea for each paragraph and be sure to provide a transition between paragraphs.
  • Use topic sentences.
  • Alternate the use of “she” and “he” to avoid the clumsy phrasing or “she or he” or “he/she”.

Some suggestions on word usage:

  • “I believe…” is more forceful than, “My belief is …”
  • Instead of “Education should …” or “I will try …” be more positive and use “I believe that …” or “I will …”
  • Avoid the use of “I hope…” or “Hopefully …” for something more positive, such as “I will …”
  • Rather than writing “In school students should experience ….” use “In my classroom, students will experience …”
  • Instead of writing “Teachers will … ” use “I will …”
  • Your educational philosophy should have an introduction and a conclusion. Some students find a powerful quote related to education and use that in their introduction and as a springboard in to the rest of your paper.
  • Your conclusion should provide a logical ending to your philosophy.

Basics:

  • It should go without saying but college level writing is expected. However, unlike most college papers, your philosophy paper does NOT need to be APA formatted.  It should:
    • Be single spaced with a space between paragraphs (indent paragraphs)
    • Fit on one page with standard sized font and margins – there is no room for fluff!
    • have a simple title (ie: My Philosophy of Education) and your name and date at the top.
    • Reference page is not necessary, this is your personal statement, not a research paper.
  • Your written philosophy of education will be a part of the job application when you are applying for teaching positions. Before they ever interview you, the search committee will read it to try to determine if you ‘are a good fit’ for the school.  If it’s too long-winded no one will read it all the way through.  If it’s full of grammatical errors and poor sentence structure, it reflects on your skill level.  I know, because I’ve been on those search committees.
  • Papers must be turned in through Canvas so they can go through Turnitin plagiarism check. Do not email your paper to me or give me a hardcopy.

Use the Rubric!

Check your paper with the grading rubric. Did you cover all that is expected? Did you cover it well? Does it reflect the reading and studying we have done in this class? If someone who is not even enrolled in this class could have written your paper then it does NOT reflect any influence of the college work, the readings you have done or the practicum experience you have!

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